Ferrari lifts the lid on four-wheel drive supercar

The Ferrari GTC4Lusso.
Source: Ferrari

One of the big questions surrounding Ferrari shares is the future of the automaker's pricey but less popular 12-cylinder cars.

On Monday, Ferrari helped answer that question by releasing the first images of the GTC4Lusso, a new 12-cylinder monster that could help the company's margins.

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A replacement for the FF model, the GTC4Lusso was similarly designed as a more family-friendly Ferrari meant for everyday driving. Also like the FF, it's got rear passenger seats and four-wheel drive. But the GTC4Lusso has two things the FF didn't have: rear-wheel steering and elegant curves.

The FF's main criticism was its somewhat utilitarian look, which earned it a spot on Edmunds' 2012 list of the "10 Ugliest Ferraris of All Time." So Ferrari has made the GTC4Lusso look far more, well, Ferrari-like. That means more athletic, streamlined curves, sportier air intakes, a lower roof and a more tapered tail.

Ferrari also added rear-wheel steering, which it's integrating with four-wheel drive for the first time. It's powered by a 12-cylinder engine that can take the car from zero to 100 kilometers per hour (or 62 mph) in 3.4 seconds, and can hit a top speed of more than 200 mph. There's no word yet on price, but the FF starts at around $300,000.

Interior of the new Ferrari GTC4Lusso.
Source: Ferrari

For Ferrari investors, the new car may offer some much-needed earnings power. The luxury automaker makes fatter margins on its more expensive V-12 cars than on its V-8 models; but because its V-12 lineup was becoming outdated, the company has been selling far more of the less-expensive V-8s.

In 2015, sales of the company's V-8s were up 17 percent in 2015, while shipments of V-12s were down 24 percent.

Despite the announcement, Ferrari shares continued to slide on Monday. They were down 6 percent in afternoon trading, near $35. So far this year, the automaker's stock has fallen 25 percent.