Ferrari Purosangue review

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Ferrari's Purosangue redefines what the ultimate performance SUV can be, thinks Jonathan Crouch

Ten Second Review

Ferrari thinks its first SUV, the Purosangue, is 'a true sports car'. Quite a claim for a 2.2-tonne family Crossover. But if any segment contender can deliver on that promise, it's this one.

Background

A Ferrari. But one unlike any you've ever seen before. The world calls the Purosangue Maranello's first SUV. Ferrari sees this model differently: still a sports car - merely one for a different segment. What's not in doubt is the fact that this is the first design from the brand with a pair of rear doors; the first production-ised one anyway. In 1980, Pininfarina styled a four-door version of the 400 called the Pinin, which Enzo Ferrari reportedly liked but refused to sign off.

There was no such dilemma with the Purosangue. Every rival has already created an SUV, models those competing brands now rely on for their survival. Ferrari has no intention of being as reliant as that on the Crossover genre but it couldn't continue to ignore the fact that its owners were crying out for this kind of car. The end result is intended to resemble 'an F1 car in evening dress': you decide. To our eyes, it redefines its segment.

Driving Experience

Lots of engines might have made it beneath the bonnet of the Purosangue but in the end, the brand decided - to start with at least - to stick to the one it knows. Hence the reappearance of the 6.5-litre V12 familiar from the 812 Superfast, here heavily re-worked to counter this Crossover body style's extra weight. The result is 715bhp and 716Nm of torque, making this the most powerful SUV on sale, 62mph dispatched in just 3.3s and 124mph flashing by after just 10.6s on the way to 193mph. More significant perhaps though, is the 4WD powertrain layout, the engine mounted behind the front axle and the 8-speed auto gearbox positioned at the rear. The result is the kind of near-perfect 49:51 front-to-rear weight distribution that Ferrari reckons is optimum for a front-mid-engined sports car.

Getting all that traction to the place of action through, is where the Purosangue really steals a march on its bigger, heavier, less driver-orientated rivals. There's four-wheel steering, an e-differential and a Side Slip Control traction system that works with the company's brake-by-wire set-up. The most significant dynamic feature though - and the one that in Ferrari's words 'makes this car possible' - is the electric motor-activated active suspension system. It more accurately controls wheel and body forces, reacting quickly to bumps and dramatically reducing body roll. Only with this fitted was Maranello happy that this 2.2-tonne SUV would handle like a Ferrari should. Of course, it can also do things that a Ferrari normally shouldn't - like handle snow or dirt tracks or ease down steep, slippery slopes (using Hill Descent Control). But there are no off road modes, deep wading and rock crawling is out and (annoyingly) you can't fit a tow bar.

Design and Build

Ferrari describes this Purosangue as 'a different kind of sports car'; well it's certainly a different kind of SUV. The sleek shape with its aerodynamic fins and 'floating' wheel arch trims, more successfully harmonises brand values than is the case with obvious rivals, the effect being one of evolution from the company's current product range, rather than a revolutionary turn into a completely new segment. Nevertheless, that's what this is, the 4973mm body mounted on an all-new platform that leaves the car 2028mm wide and 1589mm tall, with 185mm of ground clearance. There are 22-inch wheels at the front and 23-inchers at the back.

That ground clearance figure means you sit higher at the wheel then you might ever have expected to in a Ferrari. That aside though, the feel is very much as it would be in any of the Maranello maker's sports cars, less commanding than the SUV norm with a design borrowed from the SF90 Stradale and intended to engender the vibe of 'a sporty lounge'. There's a 10.2-inch instrument display, with another screen of similar size available in front of the passenger. Plus there's a high centre console for a cockpit-style feel and you grip the usual race-shaped three-spoke wheel. Lottery-level pricing isn't enough to get owners built-in navigation; Ferrari thinks that the nav system apps you can now get using 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' via your 'phone are more advanced than anything they could add.

Rear-hinged 'welcome doors' deliver access into a snug rear compartment that offers much less space than obvious rivals, but nevertheless can comfortably take a couple of adults. There'll be room for their luggage too thanks to a 473-litre boot, the largest trunk the company has ever offered, but considerably smaller than the 616-litre capacity you get in a Lamborghini Urus.

Market and Model

The question here is not whether the Purosangue will sell: it's how many Ferrari are going to be prepared to sell. If you don't already have a recent Ferrari of some kind, then you can forget the prospect of acquiring this SUV for the foreseeable future, even if you happen to have the necessary £313,120 sticker figure required for ownership. Maranello has allocated all this model's early production run to existing owners and anyway, that's been sold out for ages. Beyond that, future build will never account for more than 20% of total Ferrari production, so demand will always hugely out-strip supply.

Those who do make the waiting list will be prevailed upon to add on a whole range of pricey after-market extras. These don't unfortunately include a tow bar, which apparently would have required a wholesale re-design at the back of the car. You can though order racks for skis and bikes that will sit on top of the car.

Cost of Ownership

In one sense, it's disappointing to find an old-school V12 plumbed into such a forward-thinking car. Especially after the V6 Plug-in Hybrid powertrain of the 296GTB and the V8 Plug-in Hybrid unit bound for future versions of the SF90 Stradale have suggested that Maranello was coming to terms with this current electrified era. The brand says we shouldn't worry. Adapting the Purosangue's all-new aluminium alloy platform for all kinds of more enlightened powertrains would 'not be very hard', suggests product chief Gianmaria Fulgenzi.

Ferrari still, rather curiously, quotes its efficiency figures using the out-of-date NEDC cycle (presumably to make them sound better). Even in NEDC terms though, they sound pretty awful, with 13.8mpg quoted for the combined cycle and 389g/km of CO2 determining your top-of-the-shop tax status as an owner.

Ferrari's warranty is only three years, but it does cover you for an unlimited mileage. Servicing will be expensive because parts are very pricey. And if you're tempted to go showboating on track days, remember that tyre replacement costs will be huge. All of which will be forgiven when the time comes to sell; expect exceptionally good residuals; after all, who wouldn't want a well looked after Purosangue?

Summary

Maranello describes this as 'a Ferrari you can have with a family'. You might reasonably think though, that the very point of Ferrari is that it shouldn't be a family car. With the Purosangue, the Italian brand acknowledges that contradiction in terms by compromising the practicality that its competitors offer in pursuit of creating the most sports car-like SUV the world has yet seen. And the Purosangue is exactly that.

It's a little disappointing to find that the industry's current more enlightened electrified era goes unacknowledged beneath the bonnet. But likely owners will be relieved that this car sounds and feels like a Ferrari should, much of which is down to its throbbing 6.5-litre V12. Rivals can't quite match that - or the way that, thanks to its trick suspension system, this car conducts 2.2-tonnes of exclusive Latin real estate through the corners. So the Purosangue was worth the wait. If you want one though, a potentially much longer wait is still in store.

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