Video Review: A Family-Friendly Ferrari, for the Family of Means

Ferrari GTC4Lusso
2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso
The GTC4Lusso provides the kind of performance most Ferraris lack — the ability to haul four passengers. Just don’t call it a station wagon. Photo by Martin Campbell.                                                  

Few of us have the disposable income that allows a choice between a useful crossover and a Ferrari.
 
But for the fortunate few, Ferrari, the automaker from Maranello, Italy, provides a family-friendly choice. The GTC4Lusso seats four fairly comfortably, though its high performance may scare the Pampers off the twins.
 
The vast majority of eyes attracted to the Lusso’s svelte silhouette see it as a station wagon. It’s not. It’s a “shooting brake.” What’s the difference? Station wagons have four doors; shooting brakes have two. That makes it less practical than a minivan, but hey, there’s a price to pay for high style.

 
Ah, a perfect segue to the price tag. With shipping and the mandatory $3,000 guzzler tax, the GTC4Lusso starts at about $306,000. With a $20,249 panoramic glass roof (worth it) and a $12,486 paint job (nice, but could be a pass), my tester came to $377,222. Ponder the cost and option list, then ask yourself: Do both kids have to go to Northwestern?

 
This is not the first shooting brake from Ferrari. The departing FF had a profile similar to the GTC4, but the new model is far more fetching. Both have all-wheel drive (a rear-drive version of the GTC4 with a turbocharged V8 is scheduled for 2018). Lusso’s all-wheel-drive system is unique in that the front wheels are connected to a two-speed transmission while the back gets a seven-speed. Once the rear unit slips into fifth gear, the front transmission disengages, turning this Ferrari into a rear-drive car.
 
The engine, which doubles as a piece of modern sculpture, is a 6.3-liter V12. Think about it:

The cylinder count is equal to three Honda CR-Vs. There are 680 horsepower and 514 pound-feet of torque to summon. Nearing the red line of 8,250 r.p.m.s, a wicked snarl barks from the four exhaust pipes. Drive modes cover everything from dropping off the babysitter to slicing up the autobahn. This can be a relaxing car to drive (as relaxed as one can be driving a $377,000 car). The adaptive suspension can be softened for commuting. In comfort mode, it’s, well, comfortable, though at a couple of inches longer than a Toyota Highlander, it is not petite.
 
 
This being a Ferrari, the V12 propels this 4,230-pound machine in the expected rapid fashion. Its 0-to-60 mile per hour time of 3.3 seconds is easy to replicate with launch control. Ferrari claims the top speed is 208 miles an hour. (I didn’t verify that, if you’re wondering.)
 
Carbon ceramic brakes will bring it to a rest in an amusement-park-ride manner. Those brakes are fade free, even after multiple panic stops. A warning, though: Demonstrating this with the clan onboard will lead to carsickness. Guaranteed.
 
Driving hard will surely return fuel economy lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s rating of 12 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on the highway on the required premium gas. I’ll be passing the hat to cover my expenses there.
 
GTC4Lusso’s controls are quite different from those of most other cars. The Formula One-style steering wheel houses the engine start button along with switches for the suspension, windshield wipers, drive modes and turn signals. There are no control stalks. Behind the D-shaped wheel are enormous shifter paddles. Owners will be happy to spend hours learning the Lusso’s operation in the luxurious space. The visual heft of drilled aluminum pedals, the silkiness of the air vents and seemingly 10 cows’ worth of perfect leather must be experienced firsthand.
 
The user interface, with its rich LCD display, is of solid design and layout. Want Apple CarPlay? It’s available — for an additional $4,219. If your driveway is steep, that money is better spent on the $6,749 lift kit that helps to keep chin scrapes at bay.
 
The long doors do not open especially wide, but access to the back is fine. There, the deep bucket seats hug like a mom on the first day of kindergarten. A center console, seat pockets and cup holders keep things tidy. Special Ferrari child seats can be ordered for the little ones. And, no, you can’t buy those for your Ford Country Squire wagon. A Ferrari V.I.N. number must be provided to purchase them.
 
Ferrari’s 488 GTB is limited to just two carry-on-size suitcases. With the rear seat usable, the GTC4Lusso holds a generous (for a Ferrari) four, 10 with the 40/20/40 split seat backs dropped. Rethinking the Subaru, are you?
 
I took this all-wheel-drive machine into the mountains during the Memorial Day weekend and had no problems on a short stretch of dirt road that delivered my wife and me to a newly discovered trailhead. The Ferrari was a fish out of water parked near the Outbacks and Jeeps. I wonder if there’s a factory kayak rack.
 
Take away the prancing horse badge (the side shields are $1,856, by the way) and the GTC4Lusso remains a sleek, desirable machine that pleases the eye. Those who believe Ferraris should look and be family unfriendly will sneer at the shooting brake silhouette. And that’s fine. Those people don’t need to buy one. Practical, fleet of foot and one of the rarest models the Maranello factory will produce, the GTC4Lusso isn’t for everyone. But it’s an exclusive Ferrari that’s very inclusive.

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