The thing to remember about Ferrari is that it walks, firmly and flawlessly, to the rhythm of its own drummer. At least that’s the story he likes to tell, and if you suggest otherwise, someone with a trendy haircut will try, firmly and unerringly, to lead you back on track. Ferrari, you understand, is totally immune to what other lesser brands are doing; their vehicles are never carried by anything so pedestrian as asked.
So how to explain his very first SUV, the Purosangue? (Say it like the Italians do: poo-roh-SAN-gway.) First off, don’t call it an SUV. Ferrari certainly won’t, which at first glance seems like the automaker stubbornly refusing to admit that it was forced to produce what it has long considered a class of vehicles aesthetically, philosophically, perhaps even morally compromised. In fact, it’s a healthy dose of accuracy in a suddenly blurry and bizarre automotive world.
Not too long ago, ‘SUV’ meant something specific – truck-based, body-on-frame – which the Purosangue decidedly isn’t. In fact, this 2+2 fastback is technically a crossover (not that Ferrari is in a rush to claim that term either). This minor linguistic slip reflects the accelerated evolution of the modern automobile, with all its strange new mutations. And since cars, like sewing and television, no longer fit into a few neat categories, who is to say that we should not you want a Ferrari with four full-size seats and some ride height? Especially if it comes with a screaming 725-horsepower naturally aspirated V-12.
It’s definitely the right vehicle for my Italian jaunt along the narrow and often steep roads that weave through the snow-capped Dolomites. Yes, it’s bigger and heavier than your traditional Grand Tourer, but so are modern NBA point guards compared to their predecessors, and that’s hardly considered a downside when they retain the required speed and agility. . And don’t get me wrong, the Purosangue moves: zero to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds, a top speed of 193 mph, independent four-wheel steering and active suspension technology that plays the trick of smoothing out the creases in the asphalt while letting you feel what that goes under the front rubber. There are huge column-mounted paddle shifters, a transaxle layout that allows for a finely balanced 49:51 front-to-rear weight distribution, and a redesigned intake manifold that optimizes available torque while maintaining maximum power. You know, the good driver stuff.
On winding mountain roads and snow-covered glade trails, the Purosangue gallops, snorts and tears through turns, eager to kick the rear end but easily subdued with a touch of countersteer. . In other words, it shifts and feels like a Ferrari, in everything but the steering, anyway. Gone is the featherweight and telekinetic wizardry of the marque’s low-slung two-seaters, replaced by a precise, linear system that’s nonetheless so lightly weighted and lifeless in the middle that you’d expect to look down and see an Audi badge. Of course, with a dry weight of 4,482 pounds, some concessions to mass are to be expected; Yet, while you often forget you’re driving a crossover, you also sometimes forget you’re driving a Ferrari.
A squeeze of your right foot is all the reminder you need. A kick of the throttle unleashes a roar so furious and growling it’s like waking a lion with a surprise proctology exam. Plus, from the outside, no one would mistake this for anything other than a Ferrari. “Purosangue” means “thoroughbred” in Italian, and the lean, athletic shape looks the part. The sensually crinkled sheet metal appears to float like cheeky origami above the all-new aluminum space-frame chassis, and boasts aerodynamics so cleverly advanced that it negates a rear wiper: at high speeds, the rear window is scraped by nothing but the rush of the wind.
There are other notable absences. While you’ll discover plenty of headroom inside the deceptively spacious interior, what you won’t see is a center console: the wavy, leather-wrapped dashboard creates separate cockpits for the two front occupants, with a separate screen for each – and you won’t find GPS either. Customers have apparently insisted that they’d rather their phones do the browsing. Instead, enjoy Ferrari’s first-ever massaging seats up front and the same gear selector, cleverly shaped like an old-school open-door gearshift, found in the Roma coupe.
The most surprising thing about this most surprising Ferrari is the allocation: Maranello says it limits production to 20% of its annual vehicle sales. It’s a stark departure from the status quo: Porsche, which kicked off the speed-ute trend with the Cayenne two decades ago, proved the category to be a slam-dunk rainmaker – in 2016, seven Porsches out of 10 sold were utility vehicles, which is why every luxury and performance manufacturer has since gotten into the game. Are we to believe that Ferrari alone isn’t interested in a similar revenue stream, especially considering this car’s $393,350 price tag and what’s sure to be insatiable demand?
Perhaps this edict will only apply to the V-12 version – perhaps later on a V-8 (or V-6) variant will emerge and go into wider production. Or maybe Ferrari will just drop the whole idea in a year or two. But maybe Ferrari is really marching to its own drummer here. After experiencing the once unthinkable Purosangue brilliance, I wouldn’t suggest otherwise.