When we first clapped eyes on the Ferrari FF back in 2011, we knew we were witnessing one of those watershed moments. The first ever production four-wheel-drive, four-seater Ferrari was bold, brash and unapologetically unconventional. Its effortlessly seductive beauty and mighty 651bhp V12 punch swiftly silenced any dissenting voices, as even the most died-in-the-wall two-wheel drive traditionalists saw the light.
At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, we were expecting to present you with the second generation FF, taking over the baton from its ground-breaking predecessor. And we still are. Well, sort of. Introducing the 2016 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso.
“So it isn’t an FF!”, we hear you cry. On the contrary; besides the all-new moniker, there’s no denying that this new prancing horse has four-wheel drive, four-seater, shooting-break DNA pulsing through its veins.
To answer the burning question straight off, there is a fair rationale behind the otherwise baffling change of name. Though not a true four-seater, the 1964 Ferrari 330 GTC contributes both a large chunk of inspiration to the FF’s successor and the first three letters of its nameplate. Meanwhile, it’s another well-loved classic from yesteryear, the 1963 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso with its iconic long sloping tail, that provides the 2016 model with its luxury nametag. Though you may quite reasonably assume that the number 4 alludes to the new model’s four-wheel drive system, Ferrari insists that this figure in fact signifies the number of seats to be found aboard the GTC4 Lusso.
Historical references aside, the 2016 GTC4 is a Ferrari firmly anchored in the here and now. Retaining the FF’s thunderous 6.3 litre 12-cylinder engine, the new beast will still red-line at 208mph. However, it shaves 0.3secs off the FF’s 0-62mph sprint time, vanquishing that target in just 3.4secs. Torque is also given a welcome boost, with the new GTC4 mustering 514lb/ft at a marginally lower rev range than that of the FF’s 504lb/ft. What’s more, 80% of this is available at just 1,750 rpm, providing superb low-down responsiveness.
In terms of tech, the much-discussed Ferrari 4RM AWD system makes its return and is now fully equipped with rear-wheel steering for the first time. Dubbed, ‘4RM-S’, the latest evolution of Ferrari’s four-wheel drive technology incorporates an electronic differential and active damper control improving performance, handling and comfort on uneven surfaces.
In truth, the new GTC4 Lusso’s shiny new nameplate represents more of a departure from the outgoing FF than any of the cosmetic tweaks on show. A new front grille with integrated air intakes optimises engine cooling whilst air vents on the wing that recall those of the 330 GTC complement a roof-mounted rear spoiler and a new triple-fence diffuser. Ferrari sources claim that these aerodynamic alterations, though relatively limited in scope, substantially lower the GTC4’s overall drag coefficient compared to that of its precursor. The styling of that eye-catchingly curved fastback silhouette is as pretty as ever and in fact sits slightly lower than the FF’s tail. Its streamlined form tapers down into the boot section and is bookended by Ferrari’s signature twin rear lights.
If anything, the new GTC4 Lusso undergoes more sweeping changes on the inside where Ferrari debuts its brand new infotainment system, complete with a 10.25” HD touchscreen. The new steering wheel is more compact and intuitive than before, whilst wraparound seats deliver the levels of room and comfort that make the new GTC4 a true four-seater.
The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso is set for its world debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show next month, exactly five years after the FF changed the face of Ferrari forever. Only then will we glean more info on the all-important pricing details, expected to be somewhere in the region of the FF’s £226,000 list price.