We recently had the unique opportunity for some wheel time in the 2018 Ferrari GTC4Lusso, the automaker’s replacement for the FF V12 grand tourer. While it’s not surprising that it remains the benchmark for long-distance, super-luxurious grand tourers, it’s also the Ferrari you can comfortably use every day as long as you have the funds to own one. The GTC4Lusso starts at an eye-watering $298,000 smackaroos.
Why is the Ferrari GTC4Lusso is so expensive? Besides being a V12 Ferrari, it’s a V12 Ferrari brimming with technology and, in a change of pace, all-wheel drive. But it’s not the sort of technology meant to compete with Tesla’s Autopilot — it’s aimed at creating unbridled performance and making the GTC4Lusso the ultimate daily driver. Here’s a breakdown of some of the coolest technological features that make the Ferrari GTC4Lusso an all-season performance beast that’s worth every penny.
Named for the automaker’s patented and bespoke all-wheel drive system, Ferrari’s 4RM EVO, is the company’s second mechanical all-wheel drive system since the 1987 408 RM, a car that never left the prototype phase.
Unlike a traditional all-wheel drive system with a center transfer case and differential, Ferrari’s latest system uses a completely separate gearbox mounted at the front of the massive V12. Dubbed the “PTU” or “Power Take-Off Unit,” it features two forward gears and a single reverse gear. It’s only active between the first through fourth main gears, transmitting up to 20 percent of the engine’s torque via Haldex-type clutches and no differential. And it’s only available when the car’s “manettino” setting is at certain positions.
The main benefit to this setup, according to Ferrari, is that it’s up to 50-percent lighter than conventional all-wheel drive systems. It also enables the GTC4Lusso to maintain a more rear-biased weight distribution for improved handling.
Located at the four-o-clock position on the three-spoke steering wheel is Ferrari’s signature “manettino” setting, which controls the GTC4Lusso’s onboard electronic driver and traction aids, while also adjusting the adaptive suspension, and the powertrain and drivetrain behavior. Options are Snow, Wet, Comfort, Sport, and ESC OFF, which the driver can choose based on driving conditions. Think of it as the “sport and comfort mode controller.” When in Snow, Wet, and Comfort modes, the GTC4Lusso makes the PTU from its 4RM EVO system available for extra traction. Otherwise, it’s completely off in Sport and ESC Off, when gears above fourth are in use, or when speeds exceed 120 mph.
It sounds really complicated, but it makes quite a lot of sense. The idea behind making the PTU unavailable in some conditions, like when you’re doing more than 120 mph, is that such speeds render the benefits of all-wheel drive useless. At that point, the system can no longer be of any help and just becomes dead weight and a parasite for power. And if you’re hitting such speeds, the implication is that the conditions are favorable to such speeds, meaning dry and clear, voiding the need for all-paw traction.
Another signature feature of the Ferrari GTC4Lusso is its epic 12-cylinder engine. It’s a descendant of the original V12 that debuted on the Enzo in 2002 and is essentially a Ferrari V8 with an additional four cylinders. Called the F140, it retains the title for the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in a road vehicle. It was also awarded several times in the International Engine of the Year competition. The F140 V12 is also found in cars like the Enzo, the 599 GTB Fioriano, the F12berlinetta, and even the LaFerrari, just to name a few.
In the GTC4Lusso, it displaces 6.3 liters and features the latest in internal combustion engine technologies, including an all-aluminum cylinder block and head, a dual-overhead-camshaft valvetrain, direct fuel-injection, and multi-spark ignition. The result is a whopping 681 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque of which 80 percent is available at just 1,750 rpm making for over 108 horsepower per liter. It ultimately enables the GTC4Lusso to hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.4 seconds, fly past 120 mph in 10.5 seconds, and reach a top speed of over 200 mph.
Motors adjust the angle of the rear wheels in tandem with the steering angle of the front set when the vehicle turns. This is done while utilizing “thrust vectoring control,” where the angle adjustment of the rear wheels actively transfers excess longitudinal force to increase downforce onto the tires, which basically enhances the grip of the rear tires by actively working with the front axle to optimize all-around handling and stability.
The GTC4Lusso’s main vehicle dynamics computer, SSC4 Side Slip Control, then monitors and electronically gathers all the data from the car’s various sensors to calculate the most optimal operations to ensure grip and handling. It controls everything from the traction and stability aids to the brake distribution, the function of the PTU and 4RM EVO all-wheel drive system, and the Magnaride SCM-E adaptive suspension.
This is the name of the GTC4Lusso’s adaptive suspension. Its dampers feature a special hydraulic fluid containing metal filings. Electrical signals are then pulsed through the dampers by computer control. This allows engineers to program the suspension to adjust its stiffness and rates on the fly. If this sounds familiar, it’s the same concept as the same system found on various General Motors luxury vehicles, which is called GM MagneRide. In fact, both GM’s and Ferrari’s magnetic ride control are both supplied by Delphi Automotive and share similar designs.
With the manettino setting in Comfort, it keeps the GTC4Lusso’s ride comfortable and supple for the long hauls and urban crawls, while also maintaining body control even when hustled. Twist the red knob to Sport, and the magnetic shocks get perceivably stiffer and harder, while the GTC4Lusso’s handling becomes intensely more exciting.
All these technological features of the GTC4Lusso may seem complicated and fancy. But the beauty of it all is that they seamlessly work behind the scenes so that the driver doesn’t have to worry about a single thing.