SINGAPORE (Jan 22): When you think of a Ferrari, I can bet a shiny, red, fast-looking sports car comes to mind. It is the same for me. But the Prancing Horse brand is also well known for its four-seater grand tourers (GTs) as well. They may not turn heads like an Enzo or a 458 Italia, but they are meant for comfort rather than speed. That is not to say the new Ferrari GTC4Lusso is slow, however. It’s just that it does not look like your typical Ferrari.

This new model is not a break in tradition for Ferrari, as it has been making GTs for quite some time. Models such as the FF, 612 Scaglietti and 456 GT pay homage to drivers who want to cruise across the country in style, speed and comfort.

They are designed with four seats, plenty of luggage space and no compromise on performance. In a way, they are a tougher challenge than a sports car to design. And I am sure a lot of thought and effort went into the GTC4Lusso, even if it does resemble the FF a lot. The basic shape looks the same, but there are some subtle changes that distinguish it from its predecessor. These include a larger front grille, chunkier-looking rear bumpers and a generally more aggressive feel. When you park the two cars side by side, these subtle tweaks add up to a big difference. The GTC4Lusso looks so much better.

It is actually inside the GTC4Lusso that you will spot most of the updates. The dashboard has been completely redesigned and now features a massive infotainment system. Another smart addition is a digital display that prominently shows your driving data. There is also good news for the rear passengers, who get more legroom in a plush and luxurious backseat. But let’s face facts: Everyone wants to be in the driving seat. That is because this is a Ferrari, and expectations are always high that the ride will be an invigorating experience, even in a GT.

The car’s specs alone will get your heart racing — a whopping 6.3l V12 engine and 681 brake horsepower. While these stats are very impressive, along with a 3.4-second 0-to-100kph, there are some more hidden tweaks in the GTC4Lusso.

Upgrades have been made to the gearbox and traction control system. It may not have been the intention, but the vehicle now weighs 100kg less than the FF. Another change you should notice once you start driving is this new model not only has four-wheel drive, but also a new four-wheel steering system.

So, what does that actually mean? With four-wheel steering, the wheels can do two things. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn slightly in the opposite direction from the front wheels. This tightens the turning radius and makes parking easier. At high speeds, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front, thereby improving stability. Cornering is where you will notice it most.

Before I began the test drive, I did a little reading up on the reception the car has got so far. Many have mentioned the disappearance of the sports exhaust sound. So, I was a bit worried the GTC4Lusso would be uncharacteristically quiet. The word on the street is that customers asked Ferrari to tone down the exhaust so that it was not so loud. Maybe drivers want to be more understated and not show off. Or perhaps Ferrari drivers are getting older and it hurts their ears. Whatever the reasons, it still sounds like a Ferrari to me, with a confident growl and a few crackles and bangs when you speed up. I admit it is no longer ear-splitting, but there is no mistaking this Italian racing legend.


The dashboard has been completely redesigned and now features a massive infotainment system

During my test drive, I got to see in practice how the GTC4Lusso can be two cars in one: a luxurious and comfortable GT, and an exhilarating sports car. That is a hard combination to achieve, and I do not think any other brand can do it as well as Ferrari.

Every corner and turn felt smooth and planted to the road, regardless of the speed I was going. And on the open road, I felt like Lewis Hamilton as I racked up the 100kph in the blink of an eye. Heads did actually turn as the test-drive model featured the distinctive yellow Ferrari shield, which always catches the eye of fellow drivers and pedestrians.

While sports cars look better and go faster, they struggle as practical, everyday vehicles, especially for those with young children. But the GTC4Lusso is what I would call a family Ferrari — with four seats, ample boot space and comfort all around. And when it is just you alone, it doubles as a pretty capable sports car too.

Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast

Ferrari GTC4Lusso    
$1,320,000 excluding COE
Engine: 6,262cc, V12
Power/torque: 680bhp/697Nm
Fuel consumption: 16.3l/100km
0 to100kph: 3.4 seconds
Top speed: 335kph