Ferrari Purosangue crosses over from the dark side
The new Purosangue is not a conventional ‘sports utility vehicle’, but then Ferrari always promised it would never build an SUV. Instead, it offers a mixed-up approach that calls into question the need for such rigid categories of car design
This is the new Ferrari Purosangue, perhaps the most controversial model in the Italian marque’s 75-year history. Whatever you do, don’t call it an SUV, because Ferrari doesn’t. There will also be howls of protest from the faithful who still hold former CEO Luca di Montezemolo’s dictum that the company would not, under any circumstances, venture down the popular and profitable SUV route. The thinking was that Ferrari was and is a sports car company, and that no SUV would ever darken the factory gates at Maranello.
On paper, the new model offers a set of production figures that make it hard to distinguish from the company’s mid- and front-engined sports cars (a substantial portfolio that includes the ‘core’ 296 GTB and GTS, the SF90 Stradale and Spider and the impossibly elegant Roma).
With a V12 engine putting out 716Nm of power (capable of hauling this beast to 62mph in 3.3 seconds), it’s unashamedly old-fashioned in outlook. Ferrari is a pioneer in hybrid sports car design, but this particular machine won’t get electrified for a while.
If anything, the Purosangue resembles an expanded and lifted version of Ferrari’s 812 GTS, although the model it replaces is the GTC4Lusso, Ferrari’s last big four-seat tourer. That car ceased production in 2020; before it, came the Ferrari FF and the bug-eyed but brilliant 612 Scaglietti (an example of which Wallpaper* once got to customise, courtesy of the factory).
The focus has been on raw sports cars for many years, so this car is a major departure.
There have been four-seater Ferraris since 1960, when the company revealed the 250 GT/E. Since then, there have been a number of four seaters bearing the prancing horse, some classic, some controversial, but never any four door models (unless you count aftermarket conversions and the extremely elegant one-off Ferrari Pinin concept from 1980).
The Purosangue’s second set of doors are rear-hinged (‘suicide’ doors, to use the industry term). They give access to two full-size rear seats (it’s a strict four-seater), although there is a hefty central B-pillar to give the body the stiffness that such power and sportiness demand.
The company calls the interior ambiance a ‘Ferrari Lounge’, and it’s far removed from a cramped, noisy cockpit. There’s four-wheel drive and an elevated ride height but the company is making no claims for any dedicated off-road ability.
The cockpit gives the driver a low, sporty seating position and the usual overly complex Ferrari interface (together with a touch screen dedicated to the front passenger use).
Interestingly there’s no satnav; the company assumes customers will want to use the more up-to-date functionality on their phones instead.
With pricing expected to be just shy of €400,000, the Ferrari Purosangue is pitched quite high above its most obvious rivals like the Lamborghini Urus and the Aston Martin DBX 707. It’s even pricier than Bentley’s most elaborate Bentayga and the Cullinan, Rolls-Royce’s first attempt at an SUV. As a result, the company can assert that the Purosangue isn’t a luxury SUV because it’s not priced remotely like one.
Even at these heights, Ferrari still expects to sell several thousand Purosangues each year, taking it to its factory-limited production capacity of 15,000 cars with ease. In fact, waiting lists are so over-subscribed that the company has already said it might have to close the order list early. If anyone can create mass-produced personal transportation that nudges the half-million euro mark, it’s Ferrari.
It’s ironic that the biggest departure from the company’s tried and tested formula should come right at the very tail-end of the internal combustion era. Although electric vehicles promise greater design diversity, car makers are still loath to break out of existing categories. Ferrari is being bloody-minded in its disavowal of the SUV but also somewhat brave.
As a result, you can expect other luxury manufacturers to start broadening their horizons in the near future. Who will be the first volume car maker to take a similar path? §