It sounds like sacrilege: a four-wheel-drive Ferrari with snow tires, back seats, and—wait for it—a hatchback. What the hell is going on here? Was the storied Italian supercar manufacturer taken over by Subaru?
Nope, it's just the one-of-a-kind GTC4Lusso. Technically a "shooting brake"—essentially a two-door station wagon—this marvelous misfit is like nothing else on the road. And, after spending a snowy weekend in upstate New York with one, it could be our new favorite Ferrari. (We still love you, 488 Spider!)
In case you're thinking that the brand has lost its mind, it's important to note up front that the Lusso has one component that's very typical of Ferrari—a massive V12. This one is 6.3-liters, churns out 680 horsepower, and revs all the way up to 8,250 rpms... which is enough for a 3.4 second run from 0 to 60 and an utterly insane 208 mph top speed.
But that's not the only thing it has in common with other Prancing Horses.
The GTC4Lusso's (admittedly clunky) name is a tribute to both the 330 GTC and the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, two classic 'Raris that featured rear seats. Its direct predecessor is the revolutionary FF, also a four-wheel drive four seater. The few onlookers who recognized our vehicle as a Ferrari assumed that's what this one was, and we were all too happy to explain what makes our Lusso the next step in the evolution of this decidedly non-supercar configuration.
Ferrari says the Lusso is "designed for clients wanting to experience the pleasure of driving a Ferrari anywhere, anytime, be it on short spins or long journeys, snowy mountain roads or city streets, alone or in the company of three lucky passengers." In our all-too-short time with the car we managed to experience all these pleasures, and we can assure you it's almost impossible to find a situation the Lusso can't handle.
Even our gawky, 6-foot-1 inch pal John squeezed himself into the back seat with relative ease. While there isn't much legroom, the buckets are so deep it almost doesn't matter.
It did snow while we were in possession of the Lusso, and considering our totally spec'd-out model cost a cool $377,000, we were damn glad the car was equipped to handle it. This is the very first Ferrari to combine a four-wheel drive system with rear-wheel steering, and it made handling a breeze, even on icy mountain roads. (Whose idea was it to drive to the Catskills in winter anyway?)
The engine sounds are as glorious as you'd expect from a Ferrari V12; we pretty much drove with the radio off the entire ride. We did keep the shift-happy 7-speed transmission out of automatic for the most part, however, because it climbed just a bit too quickly to top gear. This is an engine you want to hear working, so use the paddles to keep it in 3rd or 4th gear at cruising speeds—your ears will thank you. (And if you're worried that rev-happy driving will make this gas-guzzler even worse on your wallet, this isn't the car for you.)
Unlike pretty much every Ferrari ever made, the driver is not the only important passenger in the Lusso. In fact, the company boasts that this vehicle was "designed to enhance the shared driving experience for both driver and passenger."
For example, not only can the person riding shotgun actually reach the 10.25" infotainment system (more track/driver focused Ferraris make this impossible), but they actually have a mini display of their own that lets your lucky friend or lover help out with navigation and the radio while monitoring performance. And, no, it's not always ideal for your wife to see how fast you're going.
Add a sweet panoramic roof and sinfully soft leather as far as the hand can touch, and the Lusso is truly a supercar that was designed with all four passengers—and their reasonable amount of luggage—in mind.
Wherever the road might take them.