Cape Town – It’s not as if you haven’t seen the photos; we first featured the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso ahead of its world launch at the Geneva motor show in March.

But nothing prepares you for the sheer size of the car in real life – or for the sweeping lines of its profile, in particular the elegant curves of waist and roof-line; the kinked character line at the bottom of the doors is less successful.

Even the squared-off tailgate just adds to the drama in a way the sloping tail of a Panamera could never emulate – and opens onto that rarity among supercars – a genuinely usable 450 litre luggage compartment that expands to 800 litres if you fold the rear seats forward.

It would be like using a Hermes scarf to tie up a parcel, but you could actually go shopping in Ferrari’s new four-seater – except that you wouldn’t because, at very nearly five metres long (almost half of which is bonnet!) and two metres wide, this is a seriously big car.

You sit low in the GTC4 Lusso – the roof is less than 1.4 metres high – and parking it, especially in the confines of a crowded shopping mall carpark, must be the stuff of nightmares, although thanks to its advanced four-wheel steering it has a claimed turning circle of only 12 metres, better than many of the big SUVs that routinely infest such places.

But that’s not what it’s for.

The GTC4 Lusso is exactly what its name is meant to convey – a luxurious grand touring coupé (a real one, with only two doors) that has four seats, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering.

It’s for taking four people out into the country on a Sunday morning, for covering ridiculously long distances in insanely short times, for swooping through the mountain passes and narrow valleys where green doesn’t mean eco-friendly, it means ‘still growing’ and, when you get there, unpacking a picnic meal that does full justice to the beautiful setting and the car that brought you there.

Under the bonnet is an engine that could only have been designed and built by Italians – a true work of automotive art with no plastic covers over its red crackle-finished intake manifolds, drainpipe-sized throttle bodies, neatly finished intake plumbing and exquisite detail work, all of it on show for the cognoscenti.

Sheer presence

You’ve read the numbers: 12 cylinders, 6262 cc, 507 kW at 8000rpm and 697 Nm at 5750 with not a hair-dryer in sight, but they don’t do justice to the soundtrack of this true supercar engine, to the crackly overrun that overlays the deep bass growl of positive throttle, the rising wail of the intake roar as the revs rise.

We didn’t get to drive the only example of this R6.2 million executive jet at the South African launch, held this week in the brand-new Waterfront premises of Ferrari distributor Scuderia SA, so we can’t vouch for its 3.4-second 0-100km/h launch time, its top speed of 335km/h or the agility and road-holding promised by all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering.

But we can attest to the sheer presence of this aristocrat among cars, underlining its premier status among would-be rivals from Affalterbach and Zuffenhausen.

FACTS: Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

Engine:6.3-litre, 12-cylinder petrol
Gearbox:7-speed DCT automatic
Power:507kW @ 8000rpm
Torque:697Nm @ 5750rpm
0-100km/h (Claimed):3.4 seconds
Top speed (Claimed):335km/h
Price:R6 200 000
Warranty:3-year/unlimited distance
Maintenance plan:7-year/unlimited distance

IOL Motoring

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