With an AWD system that kicks off in 5th gear, the Purosangue is more of a big sports car than it is an SUV.
Ferrari doesn’t call it an SUV. In fact, it’s at pains not to call it an SUV. So, officially the Ferrari Purosangue is a “four-door, four-seater.” Powered by a front-mid-mounted 6.5-liter V-12 with 715 hp and 528 lb-ft, it’s capable of 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of over 193 mph. The Purosangue features an 8-speed dual-clutch transaxle for a 49:51 weight distribution and borrows the unusual 4RM-S four-wheel drive system from the GTC4Lusso. These are all very good things. And that’s before we even get to the new active suspension system, four-wheel steering and the latest version of Ferrari’s magical Side Slip Control. The Purosangue is, very obviously, an SUV. But we’ve never quite seen its like before. Oh, and it has suicide rear doors. That’s got to count for something.
Ferrari has thrown everything in its arsenal at the Purosangue. That glorious V-12 is perhaps a peace offering to the outraged traditionalists, but it’s coupled with technologies borrowed from pure sports cars like the 296 GTB or 812 Competizione. In fact, in some instances, the Purosangue goes still further. The sophisticated new Multimatic True Active Spool Valve (TASV) dampers are a key technology and vital to giving the Purosangue the agility, balance, and control expected of a Ferrari.
The ‘Ferrari active suspension technology’ system, using those dampers, combines powerful 48-volt electric motor actuation with precise spool valve technology. Each damper is fitted with its own electric motor, which can control the piston speed within the damper and finely tune roll stiffness in different phases of a corner. The system is so powerful that the Purosangue does not feature anti-roll bars. The ability to manipulate body control and decouple ride comfort from lateral stiffness sounds fascinating and like a potential game-changer. Expect to see these dampers used in future sports car iterations, too. Ferrari’s proprietary control logic combines the information from the suspension system’s accelerometers and position sensors with Side Slip Control 8.0 and the latest ABS-evo system.
There is no off-road setting on the Manettino. The Purosangue is not that sort of SUV. Instead, the driver can switch between Ice, Wet, Comfort, Sport, and ESC Off modes. As usual, this will alter the character of every element of the car from engine response to gearbox logic, suspension stiffness, traction and stability control thresholds, and e-differential locking characteristics. It will also change the characteristics of the four-wheel drive system. As mentioned before this is a development of the 4RM-S system as seen on the GTC4 Lusso. The front and rear axles have no physical connection. A two-speed gearbox or PTU (Power Transfer Unit) is hung from the front of the engine and takes power directly from the crank. As in the Lusso, the Purosangue won’t have four-wheel-drive capability above 5th gear. So maybe don’t race a Bronco Raptor across the desert floor at high speeds. However, torque-vectoring capability on the front axle should give you a nice advantage up in the canyons.
Despite the more elegant proportions created by the front-mid engine position and the new aluminum spaceframe chassis, the scale of the Purosangue mostly meets SUV expectations. It’s six inches shorter than a Urus Performante, almost identical in terms of width and wheelbase and the roofline is around an inch lower. It seems strange talking about trunk capacity in terms of a Ferrari but the Purosangue’s is adequate rather than outstanding. For context, the Lamborghini, already a compromised SUV shape, has 21.75 cubic feet of space as compared to the Ferrari’s 16.7 cubic feet. The new Range Rover has over double the capacity, so skiing holidays could still be a bit of a challenge.
The body itself is made up of a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber–including the roof–with high-strength steel used for the intrusion bars and B-pillars. Ferrari claims the Purosangue weighs 4482 pounds, but that’s a dry weight and assumes the owner has ticked all the boxes for lightweight options. The size and mass of the Purosangue make the suspension system all the more impressive and intriguing. Ferrari has also employed the latest independent four-wheel steering system as seen on the 812 Competizione. Yes, that does mean each rear wheel can be controlled and steered at different angles.
Inside, the Purosangue—a strict four-seater, as Ferrari is so keen to announce—manages to deliver a genuine sense of luxury and restraint. A kind of throwback to the glory days of V12-powered GT cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s, but updated to include all the new Ferrari tropes like a passenger instrument display to show your impressed/nauseous companion just how fast this SUV is traveling. The plunging windscreen gives a fantastic view too, and while the driving position is elevated, the way in which you sit in the Purosangue is more straight-legged GT-car than upright SUV. Unfortunately, Ferrari has persisted with the haptic controls that so blight the SF90. We’ve only experienced a stationary show vehicle so whether the logic and sensitivity of these controls have improved remains to be seen. Those rear doors give great access, by the way, and rear seat accommodation should be fine for long distances unless you’re one of those annoying tall people.
Ferrari isn’t stupid. It knows this is a move that will be anathema to some. Hence the V-12 that revs to 8250 rpm, the towering performance, and the sheer amount of technology thrown at the Purosangue to create an unprecedented SUV driving experience. However, this comes at a high price. Expect the Purosangue to cost circa $400,000 before you start adding lightweight options or delving into the endless Atelier customization program. The SUV will make up no more than 20 percent of Ferrari production annually.
So how excited should we be about the Purosangue? The purist inside me says we shouldn’t be excited at all. It’s too heavy, too compromised, too cynical. However, I bumped into Ferrari test driver Raffaele de Simone in northern Sweden earlier this year. He was finalizing ESC programming on Bosch’s winter driving facility. “I was not convinced at all about this sort of vehicle,” he said. “But now, with this concept? I’ve been amazed at what we’ve achieved.” He would say that, of course. But the smile suggested a man very happy with his work. So, let’s not bow down to Ferrari’s insistence that this isn’t an SUV but let’s not write it off yet, either. It does have that V-12 engine, after all.
Keyword: 2023 Ferrari Purosangue: Everything You Need to Know