We Took Two Family-Friendly Ferrari Cars On A Test Drive—Here’s What We Love About Them
We fell hard for Ferrari’s family-friendly cars this February. When the Metro.Style team encountered the racing company’s creations at Esperienza Ferrari, it was love at first sight. And as we test drove the two newest prancing horse cars on the open road, the rapt attention we lavished to the GTC4 Lusso T and the Portofino was reciprocated in spades.
(From left) The Ferrari Portofino ?and the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
To cut to the chase, our encounter with these Gran Turismo cars—luxurious, nimble grand tourers meant for going the distance (think: long-term relationships)—was nothing short of life changing. And that was exactly how Wellington and Marc Soong, the father-and-son tandem behind Autostrada, envisioned it. As we sat down for an Italian-themed brunch with the elder businessman, his passion for the brand was infectious.
“There’s no other way to describe driving a Ferrari. That’s why I want to share it with others, bringing them close to the excitement the car gives,” Mr. Wellington Soong beams magnanimously. Later, Marc echoes his father’s remarks; “Both men and women [who drive on the race track] find it life-changing. With a Ferrari, it’s like that every time,” he emphasizes between the roar of cars hurtling down the straight section of Clark International Speedway.
Despite their years of experience with the brand, car enthusiasts present didn’t pass on the opportunity to hop on the passenger seats of the GTs, or even take them out on their own. Even children as young as ten donned balaclavas and helmets, subjecting themselves to the incredible G-force that comes when the driver brakes hard then accelerates rapidly out of corners. They have Marc Soong to thank for that—as the patriarch commended, his son wooed Maranello for three years before they sent two celebrated racing instructors to Philippine shores.
Businessman Wellington Soong celebrates with professional racing drivers Marcello Puglisi and Marco Bonanomi.
Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
When the time came for us to ask out the Ferrari masterpieces, accomplished racers Marcello Puglisi and Marco Bonanomi were also the ones who chaperoned us. Our first date was the four-seater GTC4 Lusso T, a perfect meld of comfort and speed from the beginning. (After all, Lusso is Italian for luxury.) As we hit the road, kilometers quickly rushed by, a testament to its an award-winning twin turbo V8 engine and dual-clutch transmission. Clearly, the coupe was made for incredible feats.
The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
Yet designers of the Lusso T didn’t skimp on legroom. With extra-adjustable passenger seats and luggage space that’s enormous by Ferrari standards (not to mention the exquisite Alcantara fabric on them), grand touring is truly the soul of the car. The shared driving experience—there’s a passenger "cockpit" screen for navigation and other tasks—also gave a modern elan to the model.
The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T has extra-adjustable passenger seats and luggage space that’s enormous by Ferrari standards
As we charged down the expressway, the sunlight came in strong through the panoramic roof. Our lovestruck selves might get a bit sunburnt, but it didn’t matter. At high speeds, it was as if we were chasing the sun. We flicked our thumb at the classic manettino (“little switch” in Italian), entering sport mode. As we downshifted to fourth gear, the Lusso T rewarded us with a deep, throaty roar, its exhaust flaps now fully open.
At this point, the Italian instructor pointed out the neatest feature—shift indicator lights akin to the ones seen on F1 steering wheels. If anything, it was proof that the heart of Ferrari is still racing, even in its GT offerings. We relished watching the lights move from red to green to blue, our RPM punching through the roof.
Ferrari shift indicator lights
As we wound down the speed date with the two-door Lusso T, we took a step back to admire its curves. With a long and low profile, the shooting brake design of the Lusso T was sleek and sports-car elegant. (Historically, the term refers to wagons made to transport European aristocracy to their hunts, with guns and hounds in the back. We certainly felt like royalty in it.)
Overall, the unique lines of the Lusso T make it a head-turner. But don’t be misled—as one of Ferrari’s best, the car will undoubtedly hold its own, whether on the highway or the track. Consider the Lusso T not only as your best daily driver, but also the one to bring on unforgettable road trips.
Next up was the Ferrari Portofino. We witnessed her Philippine launch last November, but that was like catching a glance of a good-looking face. Now, we would get to come up close, taking in the scent of its soft seats. As the youngest sibling in the revered Italian family, the Portofino seemed more spontaneous, more energetic, and more likely to have air under its wheels (if you so wished). Nevertheless, behind its front-grille grin, the beauty holds the same 3.9 Liter V8 engine and seven-speed gearbox as the Lusso T.
If the Lusso T was meant for four adults, the Portofino would be perfect for a couple going out with their young children. Though the back seats were a bit of a squeeze, we marveled at the engineering behind the coupe-to-convertible transformation. With the ability to turn from Berlinetta (“little saloon”) to open-top Spider in seconds, it was like the Portofino had stepped out of the dressing room after a quick outfit change.
In convertible form, as we turned the car to sport mode to better appreciate the Ferrari soundtrack, the aircon and wind deflector worked hard to reduce wind buffeting and noise. And with the tachometer at the center of the display, we simply had to focus on momentum. The Portofino responded quickly, pushing us back in our seats as we floored the accelerator.
The Ferrari Portofino in convertible form
Billed as the Italian manufacturer’s fastest convertible to date, the Portofino swept us off our feet with the raw speed and deft handling. And compared to its predecessor, the California T, the newer car’s looks are so much more attractive (and worthy of the Ferrari brand, if we may go so far). The Portofino oozes with confident luxury, and got us to our destination with panache. Dare we say that it’s the most gorgeous "entry level" car ever?
So with a ride like this, where should you head next? Consider the Ferrari’s namesake town, one of the most attractive in the Italian Riviera, and the epitome of elegance and nobility. After all, the Portofino’s figure is as lovely as the town’s view of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. One thing’s for sure—the Portofino is made for a whirlwind romance, one you won’t soon forget.
Photos courtesy of Ferrari Philippines and by Hershey Neri