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Powerful Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T is track-ready but easy to drive

Powerful Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T is track-ready but easy to drive
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (Ferrari)

Ferrari’s new GTC4 Lusso T is perhaps the most appealing street-legal track car on the planet.

It’s gorgeous and luxurious, carries two comfortably, has enough trunk space for an overnight bag and accelerates quickly enough to require a chiropractic visit.

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Unfortunately, fully kitted out, it costs more than $300,000 — above the median price for a house in the U.S.

The 2018 GTC4 Lusso T — the GTC is for “grand touring coupe,” the “4” for the number of passengers, the “lusso” for “luxury” and the “T” for “turbo” — is the V-8 version of Ferrari’s 12-cylinder GTC4, a three-door hatchback or shooting brake based on the company’s now retired Ferrari FF.

Long, sleek and powerful, it is driven by a 3.9-liter, twin-turbocharged engine that makes 601 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque — well above the 516 pound-feet cranked out by the naturally aspirated V-12 that powers the GTC4.

2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (Ferrari)

With a top speed of 199 mph, and a zero-to-60 mph rate of under 3.5 seconds, this mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive car is wicked fast and wicked fun to drive.

Unlike a lot of high-performance street cars that are also track-ready — see our recent reviews of the Ford GT and the Lamborghini Aventador S — it’s also easy to drive.

The T is propulsive out of the blocks, with neck-snapping acceleration slowed by no discernible turbo lag, and once under speed feels fluid, graceful and beautifully balanced.

Power and speed are made manageable by the T’s four-wheel steering, a suspension system with electronic settings and a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, with paddle shift manual mode, that wastes nothing of the car’s massive torque.

It also feels safe. The Brembo-powered brakes will bring the T from 60 mph to zero in about 100 feet. So this car goes fast fast but it stops going fast fast too.

2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (Ferrari)

During the week I drove the T, I found that high speeds and giant G-force were not required for driving pleasure. Through some arcing twists of Mulholland Drive and Angeles Crest Highway, and on the freeways in between, the car was pure pleasure to drive, carving the canyon roads and cruising the highway as if it were equally happy to do both — while keeping within the legal speed limit.

Around town, maneuvering was eased by the electronic suspension lifter — a $6,000 upgrade that kept the T’s chin from scraping on every Starbucks driveway.

It’s not hard to see how Ferrari justifies the staggering MSRP. Around the car and inside the driver and passenger cockpits is plenty of evidence of engineering at work.

Carbon fiber and brushed metal touches dot the glove-leather interior, which on the model I drove was clad in Bordeaux red accented by Nero black carpet. The sport seats, for both driver and front passenger, were form-fitting without being constricting.

2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (Ferrari)

As do a lot of premium modern sports cars, the T has all of its important functions embedded in the race-style steering wheel. There are no stalks for turn signals, which are instead manipulated by thumb buttons. Ditto the ignition, drive mode selector and even windshield wiper and audio choices. Your hands need never leave the wheel.

Unlike most modern vehicles, though, the T offers very few operator nannies. There’s no lane keeping function, no adaptive cruise control, no emergency-assist braking. The highly engaged driving is all on the driver’s shoulders.

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But that needn’t imply discomfort. Ferrari has given its Lusso T a pair of cup holders and two USB ports. The car is set up for Bluetooth connectivity, which seemed to boot up seamlessly, and for an additional $4,200 can be fitted with Apple CarPlay.

A musically inclined driver could actually enjoy the tunes, as the T is (for a Ferrari) relatively quiet inside the cabin. Your neighbors will hear more of the signature Italian roar than you will when you fire up this car.

2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (Ferrari)

Generous use of glass — including a $20,000 optional roof on the model I drove — increases visibility nicely. A multiview camera — a $3,375 upgrade — assists in parking. And a $5,900 optional “passenger display” mimics the driver-side dashboard by providing the front passenger with speedometer and tachometer data.

Technically speaking, there is room in the back seats for two passengers, though at just under 6 feet tall, I would not want to be one of them. But the back seat area increases the touring aspects of the car and adds storage area to the up-front trunk.

Most Ferrari car buyers are probably not cost-conscious cross-shoppers. So it won’t matter much to them that the GTC4 Lusso T, with its smaller eight-cylinder engine, is priced at about $40,000 below the 12-cylinder Lusso, or is roughly comparable to an equivalently outfitted Aston Martin Vanquish, or costs about twice what you’d pay for a well-equipped Porsche Panamera Turbo.

They might not blanch at the $3,750 destination fee, or the $1,000 gas guzzler penalty.

If they’re thinking about value at all, they’ll be looking at the prices used Ferraris fetch on the open market, and the sky-high dollar figures the classic versions get at car auctions. Because a Ferrari isn’t a car. It’s an investment.

2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
2018 Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (Ferrari)

FERRARI GTC4 LUSSO T

Times' take: The ultimate touring Italian stallion

Highs: Highly responsive V-8 turbo engine

Lows: Massive MSRP rises fast with necessary options

Vehicle type: Two-door, four-passenger sports car

Base price: $260,750

Price as tested: $352,680

Powertrain: 3.9-liter, turbocharged V-8 gasoline engine

Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic

Horsepower: 601

Torque: 560 pound-feet

Estimated fuel economy rating: 15 mpg city / 21 highway / 17 combined

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