Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T 2018 UK review

The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T proves to be fast, comfortable and genuinely special on UK roads

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Ferrari’s four-seater sports car is fantastic to drive and incredibly fast, but it’s also comfortable, easy to use every day and, crucially, feels genuinely special. It would be easy to recommend if the even-more-special V12-engined GTC4 Lusso didn’t exist: that car is even more characterful, and most buyers who can afford this V8 turbo model will be able to stump up the extra cash for that car instead.

Last year saw the introduction of the new GTC4 Lusso model, a front-engined, four-seater successor to the previous FF, which was followed by this: the GTC4 Lusso T. We drove it last year on Italian roads in left-hand drive form, but we’re now testing it for the first time in the UK.

The GTC4 Lusso is aimed at buyers looking for a more versatile sports car, one that can carry three passengers and their luggage while also being usable day-to-day. This Lusso T version - the T indicating the turbocharged V8 engine - is positioned as a more affordable and economical entry-point to the range but this Ferrari and affordability is relative.

Best sports cars 2018

Once you get inside, the 7,500rpm redline is a hint at the motor under the huge bonnet, but it’s the result of hitting the starter button that really differentiates the GTC4 Lusso T. The 3.9-litre V8 is closely related to the engine used in the California T and 488 GTB, although here it produces 602bhp and 760Nm of torque.

So it’s hardly lacking performance - 0-62mph takes just 3.5 seconds and there’s a top speed of 199mph. The V8 is more economical than the V12 too, partly thanks to a 55kg weight saving, but potential owners are unlikely to be too worried about how much this £200,165 Ferrari costs to run - it’s more about going longer between refills by getting a few more miles from the huge 91-litre petrol tank.

The turbo V8 also happens to be one of the best engines of its type in any car. There’s lots of low-down torque, but the engine still responds best to being revved: maximum torque arrives at 3,000rpm and remains until 5,250rpm, while peak power comes in at 7,500rpm. The throttle is very responsive for a turbo motor, too, and Ferrari’s clever exhaust system means the V8 sounds ferocious at full throttle, but is still quiet at a cruise.

The fact remains, however, that the turbo V8 isn’t as exciting or characterful as many will expect of the Italian sports car maker. Especially when there’s a version of the same car with a very special V12 engine under the bonnet.

Ferrari’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is slick and satisfying to use, in part thanks to the large metal shifters behind the wheel. It’s smooth when driving normally, but changes are brutally fast and exciting when you’re on the throttle - it’s great fun.

That sense of excitement is more than matched by the rest of the driving experience. The steering is quick and precise, and weights up consistently as you load up the front wheels on the way into a corner - but it’s pleasantly light when you’re not pushing the car hard. The GTC4 Lusso T feels a lot more agile than it ought to given the 1,865kg kerbweight, in part thanks to rear-wheel steering that adds agility in a natural way, without making the car feel unstable as you dart into bends.

It’s also helped by a clever Slide Slip Control system and an electronic differential. You can choose between Ice, Wet, Comfort, Sport and ESC Off modes using the Manettino dial on the steering wheel, which alters the electronic systems depending on which is set. There’s also a set of adaptive dampers that can stiffen up slightly in Sport mode.

The clever stability system boosts traction as the T does without the V12 GTC4's four-wheel-drive system, but it allows a small amount of slip to give the driving experience an extra touch of excitement. It doesn’t cut in harshly, instead allowing the rear wheels to smoothly regain traction.

While the GTC4 Lusso T’s ride is on the hard side in sport mode on a harsh B-road, it doesn’t feel unsettled - and there’s always the option to switch the dampers to their softer setting, allowing a little extra compliance and comfort without compromising the sharp driving dynamics. In fact, the car is very comfortable considering its sports car handling, especially on the motorway.

It fulfils its brief almost perfectly, then: it’s comfortable enough to use every day, while still being hugely fun to drive. It’s practical too: there are four individual seats, with no compromise on comfort wherever you sit in the cabin, and 450 litres of luggage space. You’ll need to tell your passengers to pack squashy bags, though, as there’s a large step in the boot that makes loading hard suitcases tricky.

There’s loads of kit too, as you would expect at the price, including a large 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Our test car was fitted with plenty of pricey options, but one that stood out to us was the extortionate £2,400 for Apple CarPlay. For what amounts to a software upgrade, that can only be described as a waste of money.

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