Fast, noisy, genuinely impressive on-road dynamics, feels like a Ferrari
Four-seat only, wince-inducing fuel economy, more sporty than all-terrain, not cheap
What is it?
Purosangue; it translates directly as ‘pure blood’ but once you’ve finessed the Italian translation a little bit, resolves more like ‘thoroughbred’. Apt for a brand whose identity is forever recognised as a famously flouncy horse, and something of a departure for the maker of supercars. Mainly because Ferrari’s first attempt at a more practical, higher-riding vehicle has produced a four-door, four-seat, four-wheel drive SUV with a 6.5-litre V12 stuffed under the bonnet.
Except Ferrari doesn’t think the Purosangue should really be considered an SUV; that it defines a new genre, and is a thing all on its own. Cue much debate: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
But much as it pains us to say it, Ferrari may have a point.
Well, with the proliferation of hyper-SUVs, there’s a conversation to be had about what ‘sports’ actually means - because most of them simply batter physics around the head with electronics and power. Fun hammers, yes. Scalpels they are not.
The Purosangue bucks trends. It’s four-seat only, with the rear accommodation as plush as the front. The 715bhp, 6.5-litre V12 - unique these days since the Lamborghini LM002 went out of production and the V12 Q7 died - has various parts commandeered from the Ferrari parts bin (and that’s a parts bin worth plundering) and is stuffed so far up under the bulkhead, the last two cylinders should warm your knees.
It’s front-mid-engined, and it shows. The eight-speed, paddle-operated gearbox is at the back, with a power take-off unit (like the GTC4 Lusso) operating a pair of clutches to power each front wheel. Although that four-wheel drive feels very much a helper, rather than for mud-plugging; a car that is very rear-wheel drive in most circumstances.
That sounds very Ferrari. What else is new?
There’s a fresh take on an interior, new ways to interact with the systems (see the Interior section for a bit more detail on that), and a very clever suspension system that’s supposed to make the Purosangue both handle and provide the kind of GT comfort that an SUV buyer might actually want. Head to the Driving tab for that bit.
Is it just lifted, or genuinely useful?
Useful, actually… to a point. When it comes to the real-life aspect of living with the Purosangue, there’s a hatchback and a boot which, although not overly large, has the ability to expand by dropping the seats electrically. It’s not a totally flat loadspace and it’s not huge, but certainly enough for a few boxes. There will also be a series of accessories made of fabulously expensive carbonfibre, obviously, which will allow for bike and ski carriage. It’s as practical as it can be while still retaining a semblance of Ferrari-ness. In context, it feels like midway between a big GT and an SUV.
What's the verdict?
Ferrari seems slightly insecure about the Purosangue - probably because it originally said it wouldn’t play in this particular arena. It’s also a bit toppy, even for this rarefied atmosphere; a basic car is £313,000 and the options list can easily push it north of £400k. That’s not pocket change for a series car to even the richest of oligarchs. Ferrari is unlikely to be bothered though, seeing as there’s a two-year-plus order bank already.
But the company really shouldn’t feel awkward. Technology has moved on, the market has matured, and the Purosangue offers something that Ferrari buyers have thus far been unable to access: a genuinely daily Ferrari. The good bit is that the Purosangue leans heavily towards Ferrari’s core proposition with an added dose of daily useability, rather than a re-cloaked SUV. It’s impressive, and certainly the most convincing ‘SUV’. In fact, it’s probably the only one that really deserves the name.