2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T First Review
As it turns out, taking my kids to school in a Ferrari wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped. I'd been driving the 2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T since the previous evening, enjoying its capabilities in the mountains and elsewhere. But the highlight to this four-seat coupe--for me, anyhow--was going to be dropping the kids off at school.
It literally rained on my parade as it turns out, and my teenage kids were of course terrified of standing out in any way in front of their peers. That meant I had to be as inconspicuous as possible in a Ferrari, up to and including a ban on revving the engine. That last part was a pity, because it sounds wonderful and everyone should get a chance to hear it.
This is all silly of course, but it's easy to succumb to silliness when driving exotic cars like the Ferrari GTC4Lusso T. I don't just mean cornering-sideways-past-the-envelope-at-eleven-tenths type of behavior, although that's also tempting under the right circumstances. But doing mundane things in a car so incredibly lofty is just an attempt to ground the idea of owning something like this in a real-world setting. Take the price, for example. This 2018 Ferrari GTC4Lusso T has an as-tested sticker of $337,830. That includes the $256,000 for the car itself, plus an option list that reads like a comedy routine. You can get the panoramic roof on this Ferrari or a new Honda Civic, both cost $20,000. Speaking of the Civic, it comes standard with Apple CarPlay; on the Lusso it's a $4,219 option. Even the little Italian flag applique on the trunk lid costs $1,181. The $506 cargo net seems like a bargain by comparison.
Because it’s a Ferrari
The Ferrari GTC4Lusso T justifies its price tag in part because it's a Ferrari, and part of the reason people buy Ferraris is because only a Ferrari is a Ferrari. It's called brand cachet, and it's why the valet parks the GTC4Lusso T in front.
Of course, that Ferrari badge brings a lot with it besides prestige, and it starts under the hood. When first introduced a few years ago as the Ferrari FF, there was only all-wheel drive and a V12 engine. That model evolved into the GTC4Lusso, and the Lusso T is a new rear-drive model powered by a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 with 602 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque. That's a lot of power for a smallish V8 engine, and it's enough to launch the Lusso T from a standstill to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds; stand on the gas long enough and it'll top out at just under 200 mph. The transmission is practically magic in its speed, with downshifts completed before my fingertips had even left the paddle. While it lacks the V12-powered Lusso's all-wheel drive, it retains the four-wheel steering for exquisite cornering and sharp (but too light) steering. The brakes feel powerful enough to flip the car onto its roof if you mash them too hard. To really explore the Lusso's limits would require a racetrack, but there's no question that it's a challenging and fun car worthy of the prancing horse on its nose.
The Lusso T sounds wonderful as well, starting with a bark from the exhaust and quickly settling into an idle that growls with potential. Drive sedately and that growl keeps to itself, but once you've past hospital-zone speeds, the Lusso T unleashes its inner demons.
Grand tourer in a luxury tradition
Yet this isn't your typical Ferrari sports car, it's a luxury grand tourer, and the lack of drama associated with driving it shouldn't have surprised me. "Lusso" is literally Italian for "luxury," so you're surrounded by soft leathers on virtually every surface, unless it's metallic trim, soft carpet, or the highest-quality plastics. There's not a cheap-feeling part in this car. Flick the drive mode switch on the steering wheel to Comfort and the suspension gets Cadillac-smooth. Even in Sport it was more than acceptable.
With the climate control set to cold, the audio system pumping out delicious music, and the driver's seat coddling you, this is the kind of car you could comfortably drive across the country. Plus, it's the family Ferrari, with a perfectly usable pair of rear seats and decent cargo space behind them for a few pieces of custom-fitted luggage. I'm 6'2", and even in the self-behind-self test, I had enough room in the rear seats for at least a short trip. Space management usually isn't an exotic car virtue, but this thing pretty much nails it.
Of course, there are quirks aplenty. There are no steering column stalks, so the turn signals, high beam switches, and windshield wiper functions are all on the steering wheel itself. There's no "Park" function for the transmission. Instead the car automatically locks the parking brake and puts itself in gear when its shut off. The transmission controls are three buttons on the center console, plus paddle shifters; R for Reverse, Auto toggles the automatic function, and PS is Launch Control. However, the infotainment system is as modern as anything you could hope for, with Apple CarPlay a welcome familiarity. Ferrari has helpfully added a suspension lift button for getting over steep driveways or speed bumps, but the GTC4Lusso T was fine without it.
Beyond the quirks are omissions, like the lack of blind spot detection. The passenger side window doesn't have auto-up. The luggage space is generous for a sports car, but the enormous transverse hump limits what you can put there, so maybe that fitted luggage is a good idea after all. The driving position is comfortable, and visibility is generally pretty good, but you sit waaaay behind the front of the car, and it takes a bit of getting used to.
But that's just nitpicking. The reality is that this is a pretty fabulous machine, and the people buying it aren't concerned with those things anyhow. They simply want a four-passenger Ferrari, so they go in and buy one. After spending a few days with it, we can't blame them one bit. We just hope their kids don't mind.