Life With Lusso

Ferrari’s V12-powered GT boasts 690 horsepower and a 208-mph top speed, along with four seats and a generous trunk. Does the GTC4Lusso deliver on its compelling, dual-purpose description?

October 19, 2017
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It’s rare for exotic cars to be driven daily, and there are many reasons for owners not to do so: comfort, space, fear of damage, fear of depreciation due to mileage. That said, modern-day exotics are capable of handling the daily grind, and a few are essentially designed for it. The Ferrari GTC4Lusso (just Lusso hereafter) is one of these machines; it’s practically an every-day dream car.

So that’s exactly how I treated this Lusso during the week Ferrari of North America left it with me. (Not that there was any way I was going to let the thing sit motionless a second more than required, of course.) And what do I usually do in my car? The usual: commuting to work, taking my son to school, getting groceries, and, when the chance arises, having fun. On the first night, brand-new Ferrari in hand, fun means driving into nearby San Francisco to show it off.

The first thing most people notice about the Lusso is its size. At just over 16 feet in length, the second-longest Ferrari ever built—the late ’60s/early ’70s 365 GT 2+2 “Queen Mother” still holds the title—is a couple of inches shorter than a Maserati Ghibli, but it boasts far more sleekly refined presence. While enthusiasts are split about the car’s looks (one Porsche driver asks if I’ve forgotten the dog to go with the station wagon, and no one likes the front fender “gills”), the public at large loves it.

From behind the wheel, the Lusso’s dimensions are most noticeable around town, whether I’m threading my way through traffic or, worse, trying to park without either curbing the wheels—up front, the spokes protrude beyond the tires—or knocking off the front splitter. I almost did the latter about 10 minutes after I picked up the car; after that, I relied on the front-mounted camera to properly place the nose in tight situations. The rearview camera makes backing up easy.

Although optional, the Lusso’s suspension lift system will appeal to most owners who care about scraping the underside of their car. Ground clearance is excellent in most situations, but the Ferrari’s nose can easily touch down on steep driveways. Activating the system raises both the front and rear ends by about two inches. The process takes a few seconds, which can be awkward if there’s a line of traffic behind you, but it can be triggered while moving at low speed, so with a little forethought I’m usually able to just drive straight in and/or over.

Even if I misjudge the timing, the Lusso’s cockpit is the perfect place to wait. It both looks and smells first-class (every passenger commented on the rich scent of the car’s leather), and where the FF’s cabin was nice, the Lusso’s is truly special. The steering wheel and aluminum shift paddles feel wonderful in my hands; the extra-large central screen is sharp and nicely integrated; the dashboard is sleek and sculpted. The ergonomics, once I decipher the controls, are superb. It’s the best-looking, most luxurious Ferrari interior I can remember sitting in, which makes the car’s occasionally edgy ride quality a little surprising.

The issue isn’t that the car rides harshly—it’s usually a stretch to call it firm—it’s that Ferrari has spoiled us with the astonishingly serene ride quality of cars like the 458 Italia and, most of all, the California T. Given the Lusso’s dimensions and mission, I (and most other drivers) expect it to feel like a luxury sedan. It doesn’t, but given the car’s performance once the roads open up, it’s a very, very small compromise I’m happy to accept.

Also from Issue 162

  • Portofino preview
  • One-of-a-kind 375 MM
  • Ferrari's 70th Anniversary celebration
  • Visiting Ferrari's 70th Anniversary
  • Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
  • Driven by Emotion at Pebble Beach
  • F1: Seventh-inning slump
  • FORZA Tifosi Challenge: 360 title chase
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