One Week With: 2018 Ferrari GTC4Lusso T
Down four on cylinders. Still four on ecstatic occupants.
A "budget" Ferrari? Uh, not really. But if you opt for Ferrari's new four-passenger GTC4Lusso T over its more potent sibling, the GTC4Lusso sans "T," you'll save about $45,000. Thus, to buy a Lusso T like the one I drove for a week, you'll pay a mere $337,830. Who's in?
Mind you, pinching pennies in the Ferrari store does cost you in other ways. The Lusso T trades the GTC4Lusso's 680-horsepower V-12 for a 602-hp turbocharged V-8. And the Lusso T drops the Lusso's sophisticated all-wheel-drive system in favor of a simpler rear-drive setup. In the process, the T shaves about 120 pounds compared with its V-12 sibling.
So after a week behind the wheel of a Lusso T, the question is: What do you "lose" going T?
The short answer: hardly anything. Naturally, the lack of all-wheel drive means the Lusso T isn't the all-weather sportsmobile that its sibling is. If you plan to use your Lusso as a four-passenger transport for ski getaways (as many well-heeled Europeans do), the T isn't for you. Also, there's no denying the gloriousness of a naturally aspirated V-12—the smoothness, the musical whine as it revs, the sheer joy that comes from lifting the hood and just looking at that magnificent piece of mechanical artistry.
That said, the Lusso T is an utterly delicious machine in its own right. Just soaking up the blissful aroma of its leather-lined cockpit is enough to set your head reeling. The optional all-glass panoramic roof (a heady $20,249 extra) is brilliant, elegantly integrated into the bodywork and adding a welcome airiness to the rear seats (which can actually accommodate two full-size adults). And the cabin is simply sublime: rich, beautifully stitched hides everywhere, aluminum accents, stylish details (check out the four articulating air vents in the dash).
I must say, though: If you want to fly this high, you're going to pay huge. Some of the options are so costly as to be obscene. For instance, you'll pay $979 just to have your tachometer in white. Want little prancing horsies stitched onto the headrests? That'll cost you $2,194. Ventilated electric front seats? That's $3,712. A separate vehicle-info display for your curious front-seat passenger? That'll be $5,906. And while a lot of automobiles these days come with Apple CarPlay built in, if you want it in your Lusso T you'll have to cough up a dizzying $4,219. Ouch! Then again, who wants to pay $260,750 for a base-sticker Lusso T stripper?
What you do get for more than $300 large is an absolutely transcendent drive. With its turbo V-8, the Lusso T feels and sounds different from its V-12 sibling—but it's still awesome. The engine is bourbon-smooth at idle and makes a fantastic wail as it nears its redline, the twin turbos muting the exhaust note almost not at all. What's more, Ferrari claims, the T is just one tenth slower to 60 mph than the V-12 edition—you get there in just 3.5 blistering seconds. And at 561 pound-feet, the turbo V-8 kills the V-12's 514 pound-feet of torque. There's zero lag when you plant your right foot.
The transmission is the same lightning-quick 7-speed dual-clutch unit in the V-12 car. While it can change gears fully automatically, I drove around Los Angeles exclusively in manual mode. Paddle-shift gear changes—up and down—are just that pleasing. And even when when you're doing the shifting yourself, the Lusso T comes across as an effortless, easy-going road car you could easily use every day. Three times I made the trek from West Los Angeles to downtown and back—a mere 14 miles each way, but in "L.A. time" a grueling hour and a half per direction. Yet the Lusso T was a completely happy driving partner, idling in traffic without complaint, shifting smoothly despite the constant stop-start-stop routine, even riding agreeably over some of the City of Angels' devilishly broken tarmac. Not even the grind of Los Angeles gridlock could make the Lusso T anything less than utterly charming.
And when you want to rock, well, the Lusso T shines there, too. I took the car out for some exercise in the twisties of Malibu and came away feeling like I deserved astronaut status—such were the g forces and pace I attained. I kept the steering-wheel-mounted, driver-adjustable manettino switch in Sport mode almost exclusively, which adds firmness and response to the chassis while also loosening the reins of the traction and stability systems. This big, comfy coupe may weigh more than two tons, but let me tell you: it's a scream to push hard.
The power is sizzling, the grip simply tremendous (my tester was shod with beefy Michelin Pilot Sport S tires on gorgeous 20-inch forged painted rims—that'll be an extra $6,243, please). If I'd had rear-seat passengers riding along for my blast, they'd have been churned into butter. Bottom line: The Lusso T gives up nothing to the V-12 version in driving exhilaration.
While not quite the "go-anywhere" car that the all-wheel-drive Lusso is, the rear-drive Lusso T is still very much a "go-anytime" drive. If you had the means to buy one, it would make a boffo daily driver—hushed and relaxed on the highway, indifferent to traffic, delighted to kick-start your adrenalin after a long day at the office. It even betters the V-12 version's range by about 30 percent. And with room for four (and some pretty decent cargo space under the rear hatch), you can even divert to pick up Scooter and a couple of his fellow percussion pals from band practice.
Just imagine the conversation when one of them tells his parents, "Scooter's dad drove us home in his Ferrari!"
Stunned mom: "Drove who home in his Ferrari?"
Still-breathless kid: "All three of us!"
2018 Ferrari GTC4Lusso T Specifications
|PRICE||$260,750/$337,830 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||3.9L DOHC 32-valve twin-turbo V-8/602 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 561 lb-ft @ 3,000|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD hatchback|
|EPA MILEAGE||15/21 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||193.8 x 78.0 x 54.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.5 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||199 mph(est)|