Let's be frank: A four-seat Ferrari is a tough sell, not unlike a hatchback Ferrari, a four-wheel-drive Ferrari and a Ferrari with a padded vinyl landau roof. The Ferrari FF has been all of those things, minus the landau roof, since its debut at the 2011 Geneva motor show — and indeed, it has been a tough sell. It may be that a Cheerios-flinging toddler in the back seat rarely figures prominently in the Ferrari Daydream.

Well, tough sell or not, Ferrari remains unwilling to retreat from the 2+2 arena, which it has occupied in one unlovable way or another since the 250 GTE 2+2 of 1960. And this year, the four-seat, four-wheel-drive, hatchback FF hands over black-sheep duties to a new four-seat, four-wheel-drive, hatchback model. Meet the GTC4Lusso.

The mostly new grand-tourer (call it a shooting brake if you must) looks every bit as gawky as the FF, which owed its shape to Pininfarina's Flavio Manzoni. The curb appeal is improved by handsomely revised front- and rear-end treatments, reshaped side glass and big vents aft of the front wheel openings. It is what an Alfa Romeo MiTo woud become after an accidental overdose of gamma radiation.

Providing the motivation is a naturally aspirated 6.3-litre V12, good for a healthy 680 horsepower and 514 pound-feet of torque. So equipped, the GTC4Lusso (that's one word, pal) will run from zero to 62mph in a very brief 3.4 seconds — half a second faster than the FF — and run on to an FF-matching top speed of 208mph. Like the FF, the 'Lusso features all-wheel-drive, although the new car gets a version of the F12's rear-wheel-steering setup, along with the 488 GTB's highly effective Side Slip Control system, which aids acceleration out of corners.

The interior is notably improved from the FF, with elegant shapes, high-end materials and a tablet-like 10-inch touchscreen infotainment interface. The back seats are still habitable by most humans, except for those who are notably taller or broader of beam than average, or those with claustrophobic tendencies.

Look for an official unveiling of the GTC4Lusso at next month's Geneva motor show. Fingers crossed for that padded vinyl landau roof.

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