Ferrari GTC4Lusso Research

The Car Connection Ferrari GTC4Lusso Overview

The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso is an evolution of the Ferrari FF, a three-door luxury hatchback with an unmatched pedigree.

It breaks new ground for the Prancing Horse; it's the first all-wheel drive vehicle from the world-renowned automaker.

MORE: Read our preview of the 2017 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso and Motor Authority's review of the Ferrari FF.

Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

After the 2011 introduction of the FF, Ferrari embarked on a full model-line revamp. The 458 was replaced by the 488 GTB with turbo power, and the California T gained turbocharged power as well.

The revamped FF, renamed the GTC4 Lusso, bowed in 2016. Under the hood is Ferrari’s familiar 6.3-liter V-12, paired with the same 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. In this latest application, the engine delivers 680 horsepower and 514 pound-feet of torque, up from 651 hp. The engine is said to be much more tractable, with Ferrari claiming as much as 80 percent of the torque is produced from as low as 1,750 rpm.

To aid the handling, there is the four-wheel-steering system. This made its debut in the F12 tdf and here it is teamed with the 4RM all-wheel-drive system. The system also integrates a brake-based differential, adjustable dampers and Ferrari’s Slip Side Control feature to optimize handling, especially in poor conditions such as on snow-covered roads.

A revamped dash with a 10.25-inch screen for the infotainment system was the most notable feature change for the Lusso, which carried over for the 2017 model year with no changes.

Ferrari FF history

The FF made its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, joining a full lineup that included the 458 Italia, 458 Spider, California, and F12 Berlinetta.

The styling was immediately deemed polarizing. Some called it beautiful, others found it too far from the Ferrari norm, and more still liked it despite its break with tradition.

In its first generation, the FF wasted little time with controversy. It bowed with a potent 651-horsepower, 6.3-liter V-12 engine, putting a top speed of 208 mph within reach; it enabled the FF to hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. The transmission was a 7-speed dual-clutch paddle-shift automatic, and power was sent to all four wheels.

Perhaps taking a cue from the body shape, the FF's four-wheel-drive system was itself a bit out of the ordinary. Instead of using a transfer case to route power to the front and rear, Ferrari hung a second transmission off the front of the engine to handle sending torque to the front axle. The system, called 4RM by Ferrari, uses a computer to decide when the front wheels get to join in and how much torque they get.

The front gearbox, which goes by the agricultural-sounding name of Power Takeoff Unit, employs just two gears plus reverse, enabling the full four-wheel-drive application of power in the main transmission's first through fourth gears through a system of constant-slip Haldex clutches—with no differential. A maximum of 20 percent of the engine's torque can be transmitted to the front wheels.

This unconventional layout allowed the Ferrari FF's four-wheel-drive system to tip the scales at about half the weight of a traditional solution, as well as maintain an excellent-for-dynamics 47/53-percent front/rear weight distribution.

Even with its out-there styling and nonconformist drive system, the FF still was a real Ferrari with everything that goes along with it: a handcrafted interior made of the finest materials, a sporting ride that's not too rough, and modern details everywhere. Like nearly all Ferraris to date, the FF used a magnetorheological suspension to allow for adjustment between responsive and coddling, depending on driver wishes and road conditions.

The FF was certainly one of Ferrari's most useful cars, with up to 28.2 cubic feet of cargo space thanks to its shooting brake layout, and four seats. Few would make the megabuck super sports car their daily driver, but it was nevertheless up to the job—that is, if the driver could tolerate the 11 mpg city, 17 highway, 13 combined EPA fuel-economy ratings. Features appealed to the family but horrified some purists: an available rear-seat entertainment system offered two screens for DVD-watching, and a 1,280-watt, 16-channel, Quantumlogic Surround Sound audio system pumped out sound, while Apple CarPlay offered an infotainment environment.

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