The V12 engine, in all of its unnecessarily complex glory, has always been gilded in mystique. But since rampant displacement downsizing has become the automotive trend du jour, the venerable V12 is threatened by extinction. Which takes us to Exhibit A: the turbo V8-powered Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T unveiled this week at the Paris Motor Show.

Because this V12-less spinoff raises red flags for hardcore Tifosi, three bigwigs from Maranello gave us their argument for why we shouldn't shed a tear for those four long, lost cylinders. (And yes, you can still get a big bad V12 in the GTC4 Lusso.)

So, here are five ways Ferrari says the V8-powered GTC4 Lusso T is better than a V12, from the (prancing) horse's mouth:

Ditching All-Wheel Drive Boosts Agility

The GTC4 Lusso T is more than just a V8 spinoff, claims Ferrari. In fact, Ferrari's head of marketing Enrico Galliera, had the bravura to say the V8 version "isn't a GTC4Lusso with a smaller engine," but rather that the turbo "... allows us to achieve different levels of performance."

That said, let's consider the argument. For starters, the smaller turbo V8 and the loss of all-wheel drive hardware helps the GTC4Lusso T shed about 176 pounds. Steering feel stands to improve as well, and if Ferrari's spider chart is to be believed so should "Steering Wheel Activity" (steering response based on driver inputs). Weight distribution in the T puts two-percent more bias to the rear (for a total of 46 front, 54 rear), which makes for livelier handling. Additionally, acceleration is surprisingly close to the V12-powered model: the sprint to 62 mph comes in at 3.5 seconds, only a tenth of a second behind the 12-cylinder.

Turbos Help The Power Delivery Game

There's more to power and torque figures than the peak numbers. In the case of the GTC4 Lusso T, turbochargers are used to boost low-end torque, enabling power delivery to be selectively modulated in different gears. That level of tenability can maximize the combination of performance and fuel economy. Case in point: 1st and 2nd gears are shorter in the GTC4 Lusso T, which makes the car accelerate faster and feel quicker around town. But when the dual-clutch gearbox is between third and seventh gears, the turbos are tuned to deliver more torque (to the tune of 560 lb-ft between 3,000 and 5,250 rpm), enabling taller gearing and better fuel economy. One ancillary point: nobody buys Ferraris for their MPG, but it doesn't hurt that the GTC4 Lusso T gets 30-percent better fuel economy than its V12-powered counterpart.

The Engine Sound Doesn't Suck

Let's just get this out of the way: there's nothing like the sound of a naturally aspirated V12. However, the GTC4 Lusso T goes above and beyond to make a turbo V8 sound sexy. The 3.9-liter V8 enjoys upgrades from its application in the California T, in the form of new pistons and connecting rods, twin-cooling oil jets, an optimized exhaust system with reduced pressure losses, and a new intercooler, helping elevate output to 601 horsepower. Engine sound is aided by its flat-crank configuration, equal-length exhaust headers, and a new H-shaped central section with a larger diameter silencer.

"Our aim is to have the performance of a turbo but the emotion of a naturally aspirated engine," Ferrari's Chief Technology Officer Michael Hugo Leiters told Autoblog. We can't wait to verify that firsthand.

The Insides Stay the Same

Though the GTC4 Lusso T's $260,000-price tag will undercut its V12-powered counterpart by some $40,000, the interior features identical finishings, from buttery soft leather to real aluminum trim. "We're not cutting anything in terms of luxury," says Galliera, reinforcing the notion that the GTC4 Lusso T's differentiators will be purely dynamic.

The GTC4Lusso T Makes More Sense For Dry Climates

Ferrari says that five years of data gleaned from the FF suggests there has always been interest in the niche (or rather, sub-niche) of a shooting brake-style Ferrari that is not all-wheel drive. Especially considering that the inclement weather in countries like Germany and Switzerland have enhanced FF sales because of its all-wheel drive advantages, it stands to reason that sunnier climates like California, Florida, and the south of France might take more of a shining to the rear-wheel GTC4 Lusso T. Also, some foreign markets will see more incentive to opt for the V8 turbo due to its reduced CO2 output and improved fuel economy (which reduces import taxes), and Ferrari estimates this smaller-engine spinoff might end up constituting 50 percent of the model's sales.

Ferrari Information


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