I confess: I had mixed feelings about saying goodbye to the 2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso.
I was sad, because I’d had such a good week driving it. But I was also happy, because I had gotten through the week without damaging it.
This top-of-the-line Italian sports touring car, an update of the previous Ferrari FF model, is a luscious-looking shooting brake coupe — or, in American automotive terms, a long-nosed, two-door, four-passenger fastback.
Powered by Ferrari’s legendary V-12 engine, which makes a staggering 680 horsepower and 514 pound-feet of torque, it hits a top speed of 208 mph and a zero-to-60 pace of under 3.4 seconds.
But unlike sports cars that are comparably fast and quick, the GTC4Lusso is, in fact, “lusso” — It hits those speeds in maximum luxury.
The “dual-cockpit” driver-and-passenger area creates a similar feel for both front-seat occupants, though the extra “passenger display” will cost an additional $5,906.
A good deal of engineering effort was expended on silencing the cabin; reducing engine, tire, and wind noise; and quieting the Lusso’s climate-control system. (I had found that system noisy and inadequate during a previous review drive of the 488 Spider.)
Those improvements made the “High Power HIFI System” option — which added $6,243 to the MSRP — much easier to appreciate.
A newly designed panoramic roof — a $20,249 upgrade from the base model — increases the climate-control upgrade. It features specially treated glass that repels outdoor summer heat and retains indoor cooling, doing the opposite in winter.
The interior redesign also includes a new, smaller steering wheel, which despite its size still contains all the important driver switches and buttons — windshield wipers, turn signals, and everything else. This leaves the driver entirely free to enjoy the driving.
And there’s a lot to enjoy. The GTC4Lusso uses Ferrari’s 4RM system, first introduced on the FF, which integrates traction controls, electronic differential, and stability controls — combined with an all-wheel steering system — to allow for more confident, comfortable aggressive driving.
Driving modes are comfort, sport, and wet, which could be translated as “manageable,” “barely manageable,” and “much more manageable.” There’s also a launch control, which for my purposes — driving on public streets — might as well have been labeled “Don’t.”
Even when pushed to handle tight turns at higher speeds, the GTC4 still feels like a touring coupe while acting like a track car.
Like all first-rate cars, it’s a little demoralizing to operate, because it could be driven so much faster and better by someone other than me.
But it’s also tremendous fun. On twisty back roads, climbing up curves, and then dropping back down through high-speed sweepers, the Ferrari began to shed some of its grand touring weight and size and act like a sharper, sleeker sports car.
Eager to move fast, and seemingly smoother and more capable at higher velocities, the car was an invitation to pick a faraway destination and drive all day. Despite the massive engine, the car was fairly quiet on the freeway, except when it was in Sport mode and the pedal was down. Otherwise, the V-12 purred like a big, confident cat.
Unlike a lot of performance cars, and true to its grand touring name plate, the GTC4 is comfortable and easy to drive around town.
The racing-style seats were snug but not confining. An automatic seat belt extender made it easier to reach the safety straps.
The model I borrowed was kitted out with an optional “suspension-lifter” system, a $6,749 upgrade, which eliminated my concerns about steep driveways and tall speed bumps.
Not included on the car are some luxury appointments that drivers may miss, like seat ventilation — though that is available as an option.
Some drivers will want more than one cup holder. Some may wish the thin, stylish sun visor blocked more than a narrow sliver of sunlight. Some may have trouble, as I did, getting their iPhones to boot up. I never succeeded, in fact. This would have been dismaying, had I been a buying customer.
As for fuel economy, it’s a little like the question about how much it costs to maintain a yacht: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
The GTC4Lusso gets a reported 13 miles per gallon combined. That’s why the price tag includes the $3,000 “gas-guzzler” tax.
At the end of my week with the GTC4Lusso, I was sorry to see the elegant exotic go. But I was returning it unharmed, happy to stop calculating how many years’ salary I’d have lost had I crashed it.
2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso
Quick take: Superior sports car loaded with luxury
Highs: Power, performance meet maximum comfort
Lows: Almost none. Why quibble?
Vehicle type: 2-door, 4-passenger coupe
Base price: $304,750
Price as tested: $383,972
Powertrain: 6.2-liter V-12 gasoline engine
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch automatic
Torque: 514 pound-feet
EPA fuel economy rating: 11 miles per gallon city / 17 highway