Ferrari have been battling for sometime with the identity crisis conundrum that is the super SUV. On the one hand, you have the marque’s near peerless history and reputation, with Enzo Ferrari himself stating that he’d rather eat glass than make an SUV; or words that effect anyway.
On the other hand, you can almost certainly gain cash cow status in a vehicle that will desperately please shareholders, which nowadays, is a goal Ferrari seem more determined to accomplish above all else. Ferrari’s solution to this problem is one only Ferrari could attempt to pull off semi-convincingly and that is to stubbornly tell the world that their new SUV is not an SUV at all. So here it is then. The SUV that isn’t.
The super SUV niche owes it’s inception to the Lamborghini Urus (the Porsche Cayenne is marginally too sensible to be considered in the same category, although I’m aware chronologically it certainly tops the pile). The Purosangue too sports a name that sounds more like a cream for a nasty rash than a symbol of wealth and excess. The similarity’s to the Urus don’t end with a silly name though.
It also features a monstrous motor, but in this case, a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 mounted behind the front axle which produces 715bhp. I swear to god if this is the last naturally aspirated Ferrari to ever be made, I will cry. Performance figures are certainly super, with 62mph accomplished in just 3.3 seconds, 0-124mph in 10.6 seconds and a top speed beyond 190mph.
As with the Ferrari FF that the Purosangue effectively replaces, it features an overly complex four-wheel-drive system. So although predominantly rear driven, the Purosangue can send some power to the front wheels via a transmission of sorts. Unlike the FF however, the Purosangue easily tips the scales over 2 tonnes (2.2 kerb weight without all the crazy lightweight carbon options). And for all that mass you don’t get the added practicality an SUV should offer. The boot if far smaller, it only seats four and there is no mention of any off-road capability. Sure, no one is going to, but its part of the inherit reason the SUV has become so popular – It’s comforting to know that your vehicle has virtually no limits.
With Ferrari’s insistence on not producing an SUV and with the Purosangue being critically flawed in that arena anyway, you have to wonder why they didn’t just update the outgoing Ferrari FF. It didn’t nestle nicely into any particular category (fast estate arguably closest), but importantly, no one was calling that an SUV. They could have stuck far closer to that formula albeit with four doors like the Purosangue has adopted. Improving the practicality while not straying too far from the DNA that makes Ferrari so special. They’ve done four seaters in the past after all.
The Purosangue stubbornly and deliberately falling short of an SUV, while straying from a proper ‘supercar’ has left it in my mind a bit stranded. Ferrari has also said that the Purosangue will never go over 20% of their output which seemingly defeats the object of it entirely. The likes of Aston Martin and Lotus are shamelessly pinning the companies success on their SUVs. Sure, Ferrari doesn’t have such struggles, but that in and of itself is another question as to why this not-SUV exercise needed to be performed at all.
Supposedly interest is already very high, but that’s to be expected. It’s a new Ferrari after all and especially when you need to check every box in order to remain in Ferrari’s elusive club, they’re going to sell well. But I don’t see why a new generation of FF wouldn’t fulfil the same brief, but all the while being a better Ferrari.