If there’s one invitation guaranteed to perk up your January, it’s got to look something like the following from Ferrari: Would you like to join us in the mountains of Northern Italy for a three-day, ice-cool adventure of exploring the Alps and testing out our latest grand tourer?
Erm, yes please. And so it was that we packed up our ski boots — and any remaining traces of the winter blues — before heading off to Courmayeur, a luxurious resort nestled at the base of Mont Blanc, where the new GTC4Lusso was waiting for us.
The trip was well-planned: a rip through the jagged-torn mountains of the Mont Blanc Valley on roads all specially-selected and tested by professional drivers — and all chosen to demonstrate the GTC4Lusso’s maximum performance.
Oh, and there was also to be a frosty whirl around a custom-built ice track, so we could see just how the Lusso handled in the most extreme of snowy conditions.
And if that doesn’t tell you how much fun we had, the short film we made above surely will.
It really is one hell of a car. And, if you don’t know much about the grand tourer already, the name Ferrari GTC4Lusso alone indicates something sporty yet sophisticated — ‘Lusso’ is Italian for luxury.
But, then again, would you expect anything less from the brand with the famous Prancing Horse emblem? They’ve brought us some of the most beautiful cars in the world, and arguably were the first to put the ‘super’ in ‘supercar’.
But back to Italy. After making ourselves at home in the luxurious Grand Hotel Mont Blanc Courmayer, we were given our introduction to the GTC4Lusso. Formerly the Ferrari FF, this new iteration houses the same front-mounted V12 engine, four seats and four-wheel drive — but with a host of new special additions.
Not only does the GTC4Lusso also boast four-wheel steering and a lower, wider appearance, but it also has a Ferrari first: the choice of two engines – a more powerful 6.3-litre V12, or a turbocharged 3.9-litre V8.
Fully-briefed, we headed to the ice track. The stunning views of the Alps should have been savoured, but we found ourselves slightly distracted by the custom-built track — cool in every sense of the word. Designed to be as tight, twisty and turny as possible, it gave us plenty of hair-raising moments as we put the GTC4Lusso’s patented 4RM-S system to the test.
And, thankfully, the system worked like a dream — stopping us from careening headlong into the track’s metre-high snow walls in our quarter-of-a-million sledge…
And so, after a hearty Italian lunch and a ride in the new Skyway Monte Bianco cable cars — which offered us the chance to finally appreciate the truly astounding views of Mont Blanc — we finally got the chance to hit the roads.
In our navy blue GTC4Lusso, the Alps were our oyster as we rolled off in a multi-million convoy.
Inside, we turned up the heat to add another level of comfort to incredibly-well put together interior. This quality of construction can particularly be seen in the passenger screen, which shows the car data and allows you to control the music, among other things.
As we drove through the small towns, children clad in ski gear and even adults stopped to applaud the cars. This is Italy, after all — and the national appreciation for the storied brand is evident for all to see. And, from behind the wheel, we were filled with a similar passion.
We turned off the main road and began the climb up Mont Blanc. Admittedly, we spent about an hour twisting and turning up and down the mountain, but the steering on the GTC4Lusso is like a London taxi, pivoting around a point to create an unbelievably small turning circle.
Every tunnel we plunged into was also welcome — with the throaty roar of the V12 threatening an avalanche when you open the taps…
The power delivery isn’t so much brutal as relentless – it seems you could just keep accelerating forever. Ferraris have always been serious, almost intimidating machines, but the GTC4Lusso seems considerably more manageable than its rowdy predecessors.
The latest grand tourer also contends with the snow, ice and wet roads admirably — so much so that it was easy to forget how challenging and perilous the driving conditions actually were. That is, until a truck wanted to squeeze by along the mountain pass.
So our verdict? It’s undoubtedly a masterpiece of engineering. Perhaps slightly more subtle when it comes to looks, it’s mechanically powerful and still encapsulates that passion Ferrari is all about; that other-worldly, hot-blooded Italian quality you can never quite put your finger on.
Want more Alpine adventures? Here’s what’s new in the Alps this season…