At the Geneva Motor Show five years ago, Ferrari introduced its first production four-wheel drive ever, a four-seat shooting brake called the FF. This year, the model gets a refresh and a whole new identity. The FF has evolved into the new GTC4Lusso, an even fiercer, more focused 4WD Ferrari GT, writes gizmag’s Chris Weiss. We’d like to say Ferrari realized that “FF” was a horribly dull name, but the new name is arguably worse, following the unfortunate trend of mashed consonants, vowels and numbers previously seen on the F12berlinetta and F12tdf.
What’s worse is that the new model is inspired by a bunch of classic Ferraris with properly spaced names such as the 330 GTC/330 GT and 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, but Ferrari still smashes those elements into a hash tag-like model name, with the ‘4’ indicating it has four seats. If the “Lusso” name sounds more current than a car from the 60s should, it might be because of last year’s Touring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso, which is unrelated to this car, save for inspirational ties to the 250 GT.
Though the GTC4Lusso wears a new name, it looks the part of a refreshed FF. Ferrari Design has worked within the same sheet as the FF rather than grabbing a clean one and sketching from scratch. The biggest change is the reworked rear fascia, which is more sharply creased and includes a twin taillight design. The lines along the flanks are more clearly defined, and the front fenders wear a new set of gills. The rear roof also dips a bit lower in back. Up front, Ferrari has reshaped the headlamps and pulled the teeth out, giving the grille a stronger horizontal aesthetic. Integrated grille air intakes improve cooling and work with other aerodynamic components, like the aforementioned fender air vents, the roof-mounted rear spoiler and the triple-fence diffuser, in improving airflow and dropping drag coefficient.
If it hadn’t chosen “GTC4Lusso,” Ferrari could have gone with “FFF,” the third F standing for the new model’s big addition, four-wheel steering. As it’s done with the F12tdf, Ferrari has added rear-wheel steering, this time in a new integrated system it calls 4RM-S (four-wheel drive and steering). That system works with other dynamic technologies in helping the driver maintain precise control, whether on dry, predictable pavement or slick, dicey snow cover. The driver should appreciate that tech-driven traction when they realize just how much car there is to handle. The 6.3-liter V12 now offers 680hp (507 kW) at 8000rpm (up from the 651hp (485kW) max of the FF). The max torque of 514lb-ft (697Nm) comes at 5750rpm, with 80 percent of that torque available at just 1750rpm. Those upgrades let the car spring forward from stop to 62mph (100km/h) in 3.4 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the FF. Top speed remains 208mph (335km/h).
The final piece of the 4GTCLusso puzzle is an interior makeover. Ferrari calls the “dual cockpit” design a first, and indeed the high-tech dashboard looks like something we might expect on a concept car. The 10.25-in HD touchscreen face of the new infotainment system splits the neatly wrapped driver and passenger cells, the latter of which has its own optional touchscreen with a “plethora of features.” We look forward to seeing that sport/comfort blend pop to life at the GTC4Lusso’s Geneva Motor Show world premiere. The show starts on March 1.
Mini has released a short film entitled This Day Forward directed by award winning director Joachim Back, who won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 2010. The film, part of the third phase of the new Mini Convertible campaign, was shot on shot on location in and around Miami and the Florida Keys. The campaign centres on a short film, rather than classic advertising media, in order to underline the new Mini brand strategy, with a stronger focus on authenticity and content. According to the company, it is deliberately distancing itself from regular advertising media and setting a new benchmark.
“By presenting the MINI Convertible attitude in a unique film, we are able to create a sustainable and authentic experience with an intensity that cannot be achieved in a regular ad”, explains Mini’s Marc Lengning.
“On a rational level, it highlights the possibility of driving the new Mini Convertible with the top down for even longer (in the UK?) thanks to new product features. On an emotional level, it reflects the free-spirited attitude of its target group, which is always cosmopolitan and open-minded.”
The Chicago Motor Show has just got underway. Despite being in Motown, it’s not one of the world’s most sought after auto shows, but it does give some indication as to which way the US market is going. The above video gives you an outline of what is on display and a more detailed look can be found on the autoblog site.
All this ‘ambassador’ stuff is beginning to get a bit boring. Why can’t we just call a sponsorship deal, a sponsorship deal? The latest PR guff to clutter up our inbox excitingly states that Australian motorsport legend Craig Lowndes will continue to rely on Sachs shock absorbers and clutches throughout 2016, with the six-time Bathurst 1000 champion signing on for a fourth straight year as the official ambassador for the brand in Australia.
Why wouldn’t he? After all the company has been supplying the Triple 8 Race Engineering team with shock absorbers and clutches for the past 11 seasons with a phenomenal return on the freebies of 51 race victories. No wonder parent company ZF’s Chris Adcock reckons having one of the most recognisable sportspeople in Australia on board as the face of the brand is important for raising awareness in the marketplace.
“Working closely with Craig over the past three years has been the perfect platform to promote our Sachs brand, as his success in the motorsport arena perfectly matches our objectives for our aftermarket range.” But wait…there’s more…Not only does Lowndes depend on Sachs components in his new for 2016 TeamVortex Holden Commodore, but the team’s truck and transporter are fitted with shock absorbers and clutch from the Sachs’ commercial vehicle range, not to mention a logo on the Craig’s helmet and driving suit. So why do we run this stuff? Well, in the true journo tradition, we’re lazy buggers and you always get a nice picture to go with whatever you post.
The Australian Pulsar Racing Association (APRA) has appointed Toyo Tires as control tyre supplier for the 2016 race series, the first round of which will take place at Sydney Motorsport Park on 21 February. The full field of Nissan Pulsar racecars will be fitted with Toyo Tires Proxes R888R semi-slick tyres, the tyre maker’s most advanced road-legal motorsport offering. The specification of competing cars in the series is tightly controlled to maintain a level playing field for all teams. The control tyre announcement was made to competitors during a tech night at Toyo Tires’ Minto, NSW headquarters.
Toyo Tires marketing manager José Angeles said the company was excited to be part of a series shaping the future of Australian motorsport from the grassroots up: “This is where the next generation of motorsport drivers are getting their start. The APRA series is inclusive and unearths talent that might otherwise be hidden by the prohibitive cost of being competitive in other motorsports. The 14-round series, which takes place across NSW, Victoria and Queensland, includes sprint races of six to 12 laps alongside one to two-hour endurance races.