I’ve often felt that having all-wheel drive in a road car is a bit like having an airbag. It’s nice to know it’s there if you’re caught unawares, but if you’re driving at the point where the odd bit of power delivery to the front wheels is going to save you, then you should probably just back off a bit. You shouldn’t actively exploit it. Otherwise it’s a bit like braking very late as you approach the back of a traffic jam, in the certain knowledge that the steering wheel will explode safely in your face if you cock it up.
So I’ve never quite seen the point of the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso, because you’re paying a hefty premium for a frankly incomprehensible AWD system involving two slipping clutches on the front wheels and a computerised brain probably a million times more powerful than the one that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon etc etc etc.
Now I don’t have to see the point, because in V8 and turbocharged ‘T’ form, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (geddit?) is simply rear-drive. As usual, Ferrari is claiming this is not just a cheaper, less sophisticated two-wheel-drive version of the V12 car, even though it is cheaper, less sophisticated and two-wheel drive. It’s a different sort of concept. Obvs.
Or, thinking about it a different way, bollocks. Or is it? I thought so, until I looked more closely at the work of the cavallino rampante departamente marketiano. The car is intended for people who drive ‘mostly in high to medium-grip conditions’. And that’s me.
I realise that I’ve been waiting all my life for this. I especially hate slippery roads, and would love to buy a car emphatically unsuited to them, if only such a thing existed. It does now, and top marks to Ferrari for recognising that grip is an issue and that cars should be designed to deal with it.
Off I went then, in the 610bhp twin-turbo front-engined rear-drive Ferrari high-performance estate that Princess Anne would have owned had it been invented when she had her Reliant Scimitar, around the back roads of lovely Tuscany. The whole area was riddled with high to medium grip in a way I’d never noticed before.
I didn’t skid at all. Not at the front, not at the back. Not once. It works.