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The Ferrari GTC4Lusso Is a $350,000 Hot Hatchback

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2017

If you're like most car enthusiasts, you probably think the ultimate hot hatchback is the Ford Focus RS, with its 350 horsepower and sub-$40,000 price tag. Or maybe the Volkswagen Golf R, with a similar asking price and 292 horses. Or the new Honda Civic Type R, with 305 horsepower and a more reasonable starting MSRP of around $35,000.

Well, you're wrong: Ferrari makes the ultimate hot hatchback. It's called the GTC4Lusso, it has 680 hp, and it costs $350,000. And I recently borrowed one from Ferrari to find out what it's like.

Before I get into that, though, I just want to clarify something. Yes, it's true: Ferrari is now making a $350,000 hatchback with a 680-hp V12. There's a sentence I never thought I'd string together. It has all-wheel drive, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a 0-to-60 time of 3.4 seconds. It has a little screen on the dashboard so your passenger can see your current G forces. It sounds like a race car. It is amazing.

For those of you who don't know the GTC4Lusso, it's replacing the Ferrari FF in the brand's lineup this year. It's the latest in a long line of 4-seat, V12-powered Ferrari models, none of which have sold especially well, despite a lot of efforts from the brand. There was, for instance, the absolutely gorgeous 456, followed by the not-so-gorgeous-but-really-fun-to-drive 612 Scaglietti. When the FF came out, there was big controversy among Ferrari purists. An all-wheel-drive Ferrari? A hatchback Ferrari? For three hundred grand?

But that's exactly what the FF was, and it's exactly what you get with the GTC4Lusso, which is really just an evolution of the FF. The goal, apparently, was to make a Ferrari you could drive every day -- a car with a lot of luxury, and all the tech you'd get from a regular car, and four seats, and reasonable cargo space, that also offered Ferrari performance. When you put it that way, the $350,000 price tag starts to make sense. But does it actually succeed in accomplishing that mission?

On the daily-driver front, the GTC4Lusso is a wonderful car. Get in a Ferrari from just a decade ago, and you'll be baffled by how little technology is included. Not anymore. This thing had dual LCD screens on the gauge cluster, it had Apple CarPlay, it had a power lift gate, it had an "automatic" mode for the transmission and a "comfort" mode for the suspension. If you've spent much time in older Ferrari models, you'll be shocked to see how much the brand has caught up in just a few short years. It even has a decent amount of rear-seat room and trunk space, which are really important if you actually want to drive a Ferrari every day.

And yet it has some issues preventing it from being the perfect daily driver. To me, the biggest is size: I spent a lot of time driving the GTC4Lusso around crowded Center City Philadelphia, and I quickly discovered the Lusso is wide. Quite wide. So wide, in fact, that its 78-inch overall width makes it more than two inches wider than my Range Rover -- not good for daily-driver use if you spend a lot of time driving in a city. It also suffers from an immensely long hood, which makes it a bit difficult to judge where the front of the car is located. And then, of course, there's fuel economy: The EPA says the Lusso gets 11 miles per gallon in the city and 13 mpg in combined driving, which makes it possibly the least efficient potential daily driver you can buy today.

Then again, that gas mileage is forgivable when you consider the source: The aforementioned 680-hp V12, which delivers a glorious engine note and massively exciting acceleration that makes you forget all about the GTC4Lusso's girth. Truly, it is amazing to me that a car weighing just over 4,000 pounds can feel so spry and light on its feet. I don't think I've ever had so much fun zooming around in a car this size, this width and this weight, and it's all thanks to the excellent engine and lightning-quick transmission.

And this brings us back to a discussion of the GTC4Lusso's pricing. The thing starts at around $300,000, and the one I drove was something like $347,000 with options, which is an enormous amount of money for any automobile -- no matter how much it blends daily drivability with Ferrari performance. It's even more enormous when you consider there are 2012 FF models currently on the market for around $150,000, meaning they've lost $200,000 to depreciation in five years -- a fate that will likely also befall the GTC4Lusso. So is it worth it?

To a normal person with a normal job, it's hard to fathom spending that much money and losing that much money ... on a vehicle. To the kind of person who doesn't blink at the idea of losing a couple hundred grand here or a couple hundred grand there, this question is answered with a different question: Why would you ever want to drive anything else?

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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The Ferrari GTC4Lusso Is a $350,000 Hot Hatchback - Autotrader