T is for Torque

Swapping the horsepower-heavy V12 for a turbo V8 with a manic midrange creates a far sportier GTC4Lusso.

May 31, 2018
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A little eye rolling occurred around FORZA HQ when, in September 2016, Ferrari announced the GTC4Lusso T. At first glance, it appeared Maranello had simply created a decontented Lusso, with a turbocharged V8 in place of the original’s normally aspirated V12, no innovative 4RM all-wheel-drive system, and a significant drop in the base price. Yes, rear-wheel steering had been added and Ferrari promised sharper driving dynamics, but the company seemed just as keen to emphasize the car’s improved fuel economy and resulting claimed 30-percent longer range between fill ups.

This March, expectations firmly in check, I finally had a chance to drive the Lusso T. And you know what? It’s fantastically fun, miles ahead of the V12 version in terms of driving enjoyment. Given the choice, the T is unquestionably the one I’d buy.

But you know what? There’s nothing about the turbo V8 model that makes the normally aspirated Lusso redundant. Although very similar in most ways, on the road they can be two very different machines.

BESIDES THE ENGINE, rear steering, and missing front-drive setup, pretty much only the wheels, dashboard badge, and some computer reprogramming differentiate Lusso from Lusso T. Everything else, inside and outside, remains unchanged—and that’s fine by me.

Our test T’s light blue (Blu Mirabeau) paint nicely highlights the aluminum body’s curves and creases while still staying suitably understated. The optional chrome-edged front grille gently draws my eye, while the panoramic glass roof helps the Ferrari feel smaller on the outside and much more spacious inside. (I think the optional roof is an admittedly pricey no-brainer, although I’m apparently in the minority; a little informal polling suggests fewer than half of Lussos are ordered with it.) Overall, the Lusso looks low, wide, and long, and hunkers down sweetly on its stunning 20-inch forged wheels.

Open the long hood and you’ll find the T’s 3,855cc twin-turbo V8, which it shares with the Portofino. In Lusso guise, the engine makes 610 hp at 7,500 rpm (10 more than in the Portofino) and up to 560 lb-ft of torque from 3,000-5,250 rpm. “Up to” because, like all of Ferrari’s current turbocharged V8s, this one utilizes Variable Boost Management to limit boost pressure at low revs and in the lower gears, mimicking the power curve of a normally aspirated engine—albeit a much torquier one than its displacement would suggest. The additional 46 lb-ft of twist over the V12 allowed Ferrari to fit some taller gears for better economy.

The V8 sits about a foot behind the front axle line. Pushing the smaller, lighter engine so far back in the chassis and removing the 4RM hardware (a two-speed transmission bolted to the front of the V12) has reduced overall weight by around 120 pounds and shifted the car’s weight distribution rearward by 1 percent, to 46/54. These two changes would naturally make the T more eager to change direction than its big brother, and that’s before accounting for the effects of rear-wheel steering.

First used by Ferrari on the F12tdf, Passo Corto Virtuale (for Virtual Short Wheelbase, though it’s more often referred to as 4WS, for four-wheel steering) turns the rear wheels up to one degree opposite the fronts at low speed for increased agility, as if the wheelbase is shorter than it really is. At higher speeds, the rear wheels turn up to one degree in the same direction as the fronts for improved stability. The 4WS’s responses are integrated with the T’s electronic differential, SCM-E suspension, stability control, and Side Slip Control.

Also from Issue 167

  • 488 Pista first look
  • 488 Pista aerodynamics
  • Simeone Museum's Ferraris
  • Cavallino Classic
  • Michelotto takes Ferrari rallying
  • 288 GTO Evoluzione
  • F1: Crashes and mishaps galore
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