Sergio Marchionne is a man all car enthusiasts should be thankful to. The late Fiat/Chrysler/Ferrari boss turned around the Fiat group a bit more than 10 years ago and without him, Fiat and thereby Ferrari may well have gone bankrupt. Marchionne died in 2018 after an intense life full of work and cigarettes but not of more healthy things such as sleep, and when he was asked in 2016 if it wasn’t time for Ferrari to join the increasing number of sports and luxury brands building or planning to build SUV’s. he famously replied that someone would have to shoot him before that happened. Luckily no one did, but perhaps it’s good that Marchionne is no longer around now that Ferrari is presenting its first ever SUV, the Purosangue (pure blood). More than just the latest member in the large group of luxury SUV’s, I would claim the Purosangue is more significant. It’s not only Ferrari’s first SUV, it’s also a car that sets a new benchmark in power, technology and price!
In order not to offend anyone in Maranello any further we need to define precisely what kind of car the Purosangue is. You see, “SUV” is a term you don’t use anywhere near Ferrari grounds, where they rather speak of the new four-seater GT car, perhaps so that Marchionne doesn’t turn in his grave. It is of course correct given the Purosangue follows on from the GTC4 Lusso, itself the successor to the FF, both also four-seat (although not four-door) GT cars, but still, the Purosangue is far taller than any of these. At around two tons, the weight is pretty impressive given the power train and the size of the car at just under 5 meters, and a good 500 kg less than most competitors.
Unlike most of these competitors, the Purosangue is a true four-seater, with two separate seats in the back and no third seat option. Unlike the GTC4 and FF though, attention has been paid to facilitating access tot he back seats, notably with the back doors being rear-hinged (but for rigidity reasons, preserving the B-pillar), and with enough room for two adults to sit comfortably. Luggage-space seems similar to a mid-sized, hmm, SUV, and the back seats can be folded should you ever come up with the crazy idea to take your Purosangue to Ikea. The car has 23-inch wheels in the back and 22″ in the front, which together with other smart design tricks such as the “floating” wheel arches and the (optional) black carbon roof make the car look smaller than it is, and also quite purposeful. Beautiful? Not sure, but in my view perhaps the best-looking in the super SUV segment.
The most impressive thing with the whole car is of course the power train of this first version (knowing there will most probably be lesser-powered versions that will follow). When others go for hybrid six-cylinders, Ferrari has put its greatest engine of all, the very much naturally aspirated V12 notably used in the 812 in the Purosangue. It sits deep behind the front axle with not much more than the top visible, meaning it’s serviced form underneath. Ahead of it is the two-speed “gearbox” engaging the front wheels should the rear wheels slip. Under normal circumstances, the Purosangue is thus rear-wheel drive. The fabulous engine develops 725 hp, making this is the most powerful SU…. sorry, high and heavy family GT car ever, even stronger than the 707 hp top version of the Aston Martin DBX.
The suspension is said to be quite revolutionary, although not all details are known yet. Basically the Purosangue reads the road ahead à la magic carpet from Mercedes, but then allows the suspension to actively go into potholes etc. to really smoothen the ride out. The interior looks like any modern Ferrari but with a multi-purpose round little wheel on the central console, over which a number of functions are controlled. Not sure how intuitive and easy to use it is, but it looks cool. The front passenger has his own screen from which all functions can now be controlled. Of course the interior can be tailored in any version and color you want, should nothing in the standard palette be to your liking.
Price-wise the Purosangue isn’t shy at all. When deliveries start early next year it will be at a starting price of around EUR/USD 400′, with lots of room to the upside depending on the interior options mentioned above, but also of course to how much carbon you feel its exterior needs. That puts it 10-20% above the Urus and a good 100′ EUR above a Bentayga (which his hopelessly underpowered at only 550 hp), or an Aston Martin DBX 707, together with the Urus probably the closest competitor. Before you start checking your balance though, you should know that the first two years’ production is sold out before most buyers have even seen the car live.
I won’t bother you with my thoughts on whether the world needs another 700 hp SUV again, but I do think it’s wonderful to see Ferrari put its most famous and still naturally aspirated engine in the Purosangue, and I’m sure they’ll have lots of success with it. A few weeks ago I wrote about how profitable it’s been to be a Ferrari shareholder in the last years (see here if you missed it), and there’s little reason to think that will change now that the line-up has been completed with the car type that makes up about half of Porsche’s profit. As for me, to go back to our friend Sergio Marchionne, I wouldn’t spend 400′ even if I had it, but if indeed someone threatened to shoot me unless I did, I would buy the new Range Rover, which is a true SUV and ia good-looking one as well, and then have more than 100′ left to spend on a real sports car. Because you get a whole lot of interesting sports cars for around 100′, and what that could be is what we’ll look at next week!