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In My Hands for Two Days - In My Dreams since . . .

Most buyers of exotic Italian supercars have already decided on the nameplate long before getting the chequebook warmed up. Relatively marginal differences in acceleration times are secondary to having THAT key fob in YOUR pocket.

Ferrari’s four-seat GTC4 Lusso is a case in point. When it comes to impressing your friends, most Ferraris - and all Lamborghini’s and McLarens - play to an audience of one. The Lusso allows you to treat three to an undiluted Ferrari experience.

Responding to some gentle prodding, the Italian factory took a classic V12 rear-wheel drive configuration, added the latest Ferrari dynamics and wrapped it up in a four-seat body that has the longest nose in the world.

When I arrived at Zagame Ferrari in Richmond to pick up the Lusso, I was enjoying a unique and rare sense of anticipation. There are fewer than a dozen of these in Australia. The $745,490 price tag of this car had a bit to do with that.

Service concierge Mario handed me the car’s remote control - nothing in this league has a key anymore.

The car’s heart is a 6.3-litre V12 with 507kW and 607Nm of torque. The 7-speed F1 DCT transaxle gearbox with electronic differential snaps every kilowatt to all four tyres in a blink. Rear wheel steering, side-slip control and Mangaride air suspension tunes everything to the road you’re keen to stay on.

Adjusting all that is via the Manettino, a circular switch - red of course - on the steering wheel that helps keep you tidy with a witch’s brew of electronics, suspension mechanics and drive distribution.

Four settings, Ice, Wet, Comfort, and Sport handle most traction challenges. The fifth switch, ESC is spring loaded so you can’t knock it on by accident. It puts the electronic driver aids to sleep and is for owners who’ve done some serious track time. There’s a rough road setting for the damper’s as well.

The all-wheel drive is fully variable but only up to 20 per cent of the torque. Plus it disengages from fifth gear up. In true Ferrari fashion, the gearbox only handles the rear wheels. The front wheels are driven by a patented PTO off the front of the engine and a two-speed clutch pack. There is no mechanical link between the front and rear wheel drive.

The whole traction picture is handled by a mile of software and electronic controls. It’s actually simpler than the usual mechanical system, around 50kgs lighter, and infinitely more adjustable, which means optimum grip under any throttle setting and sideways G.

A nudge and a wink from a solenoid keeps the hydraulic steering sharp, but the throttle is fully drive-by-wire to two throttle bodies.

Four seats it may have, but this is still a Ferrari in every sense. Everyone’s nestled in patterned leather, surrounded with carbon, chrome, climate control and carpet.

There is full connectivity, and the sound system is outstanding - but none of that really matters.

You just need to get settled and tune in to the most intoxicating sound in motoring - the spine-tingling howl of Ferrari’s magnificent V12 on a closed road.

Model: Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

Price: $578,000 ($745,490 as tested)

Engine: 6.3-litre V12

Outputs: 507kW and 607Nm

Transmission: 7-speed F1 ECT with E-Diff

Stability: All-wheel Drive in 1st to 4th gear, Side Slip Control, Rear Wheel Steering

Performance: 0-100km/h 3.4 secs; 0-200km/h 10.5 secs

Thirst: 15.3l/100kms

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