So, this is it. After however many years of speculation, conjecture, denials, coy admissions and spy shots, this is the Ferrari SUV. Except, of course, it isn’t. In everything that’s been published about the Purosangue - Italian for ‘thoroughbred’ - you’ll find no mention of the acronym. Neither is its initial ‘FUV’ - Ferrari Utility Vehicle - is anywhere to be seen. (Probably not ideal having a two-metre wide, two-tonne-plus, £400k Ferrari known as the FU Vehicle.) Instead, the Purosangue, as well as being Ferrari’s first four-door, four-seat volume production car, has ‘vehicles dynamics inspired by the Prancing Horse’s most extreme sports cars’. This is a sports car with the usability of a larger car, insists Maranello, not merely another fast four-seater with four-wheel drive.
To help prove the point, the Purosangue has a V12. There’s nothing comparable out there, with the obvious alternatives from Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Porsche using V8s. It’s a 6.5-litre V12, too, an evolution of the engine that saw such spectacular service in the 812 Superfast and, as a 6.3, in the Purosangue’s indirect predecessor, the GTC4 Lusso. Ferrari says this 725hp derivative is an all-new engine, and plenty of parts are unique to this installation - crank, cams, intake, pistons, heads - but it shares the ‘F140’ designation familiar to this family (now F140IA), plus the 6,496cc swept capacity and 65-degree angle between the banks. There’s certainly a lot that’s new with the V12, although all-new feels like a stretch.
Still, there’s no better engine in production from which to riff off, and it emphatically puts to bed those rumours of a hybridised all-terrain Ferrari. Apparently, prospective customers were thrilled when told about the news of 12 naturally aspirated cylinders, too, so don’t expect anything less than a 6.5-litre Purosangue until it’s strictly necessary. As always with this engine, the stats are epic, even with so much more weight to shift: 725hp is made at 7,750rpm (in a two-tonne car!), with maximum torque of 528lb ft arriving at 6,250rpm. Which doesn’t look much when a Urus Performante makes almost 100lb ft more at little more than a third of the revs, though Ferrari maintains that 80 per cent of the peak torque is available from 2,000rpm. And the V12 will have plenty more going for it than just the numbers; we’re promised “an enthralling crescendo that reaches its pinnacle at the kind of high revs only Ferrari’s engines can deliver.” Against that Lamborghini, the Ferrari makes almost 75hp more another 1,750rpm later, which ought to be pretty flipping exciting.
Fast, too. Ferrari claims 0-62mph for the Purosangue in 3.3 seconds and 0-124mph in 10.6 seconds, aided by a closely stacked first seven ratios in the eight-speed DCT as also found in the Roma. Top speed is more than 193mph, and it’ll rev all the way to 8,250rpm. Only Ferrari, eh. While we’re on numbers, the Purosangue does have a Fiorano lap time, but Ferrari won’t divulge it, and there’s no interest in attempting to nab the Nurburgring SUV record from Porsche with this car. Because it’s a sports car and not an SUV, remember. The Purosangue doesn’t yet have its economy and emissions homologated, but it does have a 100-litre fuel tank. And the old GTC4 Lusso, with a lighter kerbweight, smaller engine and less power, did an official 18.5mpg combined. On the more generous NEDC test. So don’t get your hopes up.
Along with an engine befitting of a proper Ferrari, the Purosangue has all the chassis technology that should ensure it’s as mesmerising to drive as pretty much all the modern cars have been. Only now they have 2,180kg (2,033kg dry with the lightweight options) to contend with. Certainly couldn’t accuse Ferrari of not trying its hardest with that challenge, however. The all-new chassis, for starters, boasts 30 per cent more torsional rigidity and 25 per cent more beam stiffness than the old GTC4 platform, which should improve NVH ‘as well as providing an exceptional feeling of structural integrity’. Dropping the V12 low, behind the front wheels and nestled into the bulkhead makes the new model front mid-engined, which a 49:51 front-to-rear weight distribution attests to. Drive to all four wheels is managed by an evolution of the 4RM-S system used in the GTC4 Lusso, now with the control logic from the SF90. The Purosangue even gets the independent four-wheel steer that debuted on the 812 Competizione, meaning each rear wheel can be independently controlled. ‘Yaw management in cornering when accelerating is therefore optimised by a combination of Torque Vectoring on the front axle, distribution of torque to the rear tyres by the E-Diff and the generation of lateral force by the 4WS’, says the press release. And then we’re into the really fancy stuff…
Having only made its debut in the 458 Speciale of 2015, Ferrari’s Side Slip Control is in its eighth generation for the Purosangue, and it’s now far cleverer than just a skid assistant. SSC 8.0 is essentially now the central dynamic controller for Ferrari, albeit with the familiar dial to control how the car feels. ‘The SSC 8.0 in fact integrates all the car’s controls (steering, traction and vertical control) active on all four corners of the car and creates a natural synergy with the new ABS evo.’ The Purosangue brakes like a 296 GTB (as in brake by wire), though now further optimised to better suit low grip services. As in gravel tracks, really; in case you hadn’t guessed, this isn’t a four-wheel drive car for off-roading - even with Ferrari’s first fitment of hill descent control. The brake rotors themselves are ceramic, 398mm at the front and 380mm front; the wheels you see here are the ones are the only size available, as any differentiation from a 22-inch front (255-section tyre) and 23-inch rear (315-section) would spoil the dynamic balance.
Borrowing from Ferrari’s existing (and excellent) sports cars is already an auspicious start for the Purosangue, but there’s something all-new for this as well in the form of the active suspension. Developed with Multimatic and its True Active Spool Valve technology, the new suspension is said to be a world first in combining electric motor actuation with a high precision spool valve hydraulic damper. It says here. Ferrari reckons the air suspension favoured by so many similar cars isn’t responsive or precise enough. Again linked to the SSC, the active suspension uses accelerometers and positions sensors to constantly monitor what’s going on; the benefit of this new technology is both body and wheels ‘can be controlled actively with more force authority and at higher frequencies than traditional adaptive or semi-active systems’. And it’s hardly like Ferraris were badly suspended beforehand…
So that’s what lies under the skin - best talk about what’s on top as well. There’ll be no mistaking it, at least! Even having spent an afternoon looking at the Purosangue in the factory, it’s hard to think of how best to describe it. There are familiar Ferrari cues - rear lights similar to a 296 GTB, fronts evoking a Daytona SP3, big, long bonnet like a classic V12 - but all on a silhouette never before seen from Maranello. Let alone any other sports car or SUV. Though a relatively low car (1589mm), the Purosangue is vast - 4,973mm long and 2,028mm wide. The wheelbase takes up more than three metres of that overall length (3,018mm), which pushes the wheels out just far enough to squeeze in the rear-hinged ‘welcome doors’, and a carbon roof is standard. Of course.
There’s a whole lot going on, from the patented design for the Allroad-style wheelarch surrounds to four exhaust pipes in best Maranello V12 tradition, though it would seem a stretch for the moment to call the Purosangue an instant Ferrari classic in the way a 296 GTB might be. It’s not like any car you’ve ever seen, really, chunkier than the old 2+2s yet still more car-like than the average SUV. With a V12 in the front and 79-degreee opening suicide doors, like the exotic cousin of a Mazda RX-8. Or a sportier Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
Ferrari’s claims of creating a whole new market segment and ‘unprecedented new frontiers’ don’t seem so bold when you see the Purosangue in person. And if ever you ever need this fascinating car summed up in two sentences, Ferrari has it to hand: ‘Despite the fact that the Purosangue’s volumes are more imposing than Ferrari’s most powerful sports cars, the way the height is treated stylistically creates an impression of overall lightness. At the same time, to give the Purosangue a powerful stance of its own, the Ferrari Styling Centre opted to craft boldly original forms.’
The interior then, finally, as important a facet as any for the first four-seat, four-door Ferrari since the Pinin concept of 1980. It’s spectacular in person, the feast of beautiful materials we’ve come to expect from contemporary Ferraris. Notable for the Purosangue is a dual cockpit that’s bigger than ever, with a 10.2-inch display for the passenger alongside the driver’s screen. The cabin takes inspiration from the SF90 (and isn’t really as high up as might be expected), with similar wheel buttons and layouts. The central rotary dial for ‘comfort-related controls’ like air-con is a nice touch.
And there’s space! In a V12 Ferrari. Proper, actual space, for adults of six foot and above in four individual buckets. The Purosangue isn’t the most commodious, to be honest, with headroom impinged upon by the sloping rear, but it’s easily the most accommodating Ferrari ever. Which is the important thing. You wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to be in on the road trip, especially with a 473-litre boot, plus standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto for the very first time in a Ferrari. And your conscience at travelling by Purosangue would be cleared with the knowledge that 85 per cent of the interior trim is sustainably produced, from polyester-based Alcantara to carpet made from fishing nets…
Want one? Plenty of people do, says Ferrari, with overwhelming demand reported even before the car was fully revealed. Interestingly, too, the Purosangue won’t be made in huge numbers like many SUVs have been; it’ll never account for more than 20 per cent of production. Ferrari sold 11,000 cars in 2021, so even assuming a rise to around 12,500 there’ll be a maximum of 2,500 Purosangues made a year. By comparison, Lamborghini delivered 5,021 Uruses in 2021.
But then the Urus isn’t really a rival for the Ferrari; if the look and the engine and the dynamic focus hadn’t made that clear, the price will. The Purosangue will cost €390,000 when it goes on sale, which won’t be much less in GBP when UK deliveries begin this time next year. Still, the Ferrari take on a four-door, four-seater was never, ever going to be much like any other…
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