Everyone who’s anyone has an SUV these days, and we’re not talking about your neighbors. We’re talking about the traditional ultraluxury automotive brands catering to the very affluent among us (which, again, is statistically not your neighbors). Bentley has the Bentayga, Lamborghini reengineered an Audi Q8 and created the Urus, and Rolls Royce has the opulent Cullinan. But Italian sports-car maker Ferrari had refused to partake, swearing that an SUV was not in keeping at all with the brand’s spirit, ethos or desires. And yet, with the draw of that additional revenue stream being really hard to ignore and Porsche very successfully opening the door for sports car makers to create SUVs with the original Cayenne 20 years ago, we all figured it was only a matter of time before Ferrari relented, too. So they have: Behold the 2023 Ferrari Purosangue.
But here’s the thing: This is about as un-SUV-like as you can get for a luxury SUV. Even Ferrari refuses to refer to it as an SUV, preferring instead to call it a car. The design details of the Purosangue back them up on this: It’s not off-road-capable, it has no additional ride height adjustments or trail modes, no low-range transfer case, and its all-wheel-drive system only works in the first four of the transmission’s eight speeds. For all intents and purposes, the Purosangue is a lifted, slightly bigger GTC4Lusso with a bigger trunk.
What’s So Special About It?
First of all, let’s help you out with how to say its name: Purosangue (“puh-roh-SAN-gway”), which literally means “pure blood” but is typically translated from Italian as “thoroughbred,” as in race horses. It’s Ferrari’s first four-door factory model; other four-door Ferraris exist, but they’re all custom-built jobs commissioned by superfans like the Sultan of Brunei for beaucoup bucks. This is the first one that Ferrari’s done itself, and it’s a little special in that regard, too: The rear doors open “suicide-style” like a Cullinan’s. The Purosangue is purely a four-seater, as well; there’s no bench seat option for a fifth occupant in it, though those rear buckets do fold flat to increase the car’s cargo capacity.
2023 Ferrari Purosangue | Manufacturer image
Yes, it can carry four people in comfort (unlike Ferrari’s other ventures into four-place cars) and luggage — but that makes it ordinary, not extraordinary. What makes it special is what’s under the hood: a legendary 6.5-liter V-12 engine located aft of the front axle line, making a whopping 715 horsepower and 528 pounds-feet of torque.
That’s mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and routed through Ferrari’s unique 4RM-S AWD system shared with the GTC4Lusso, refined with software controls from the SF90 Stradale. This is a rather unusual AWD system: It only works through the first four gears of the transmission, routing power to front and rear wheels as needed, but sends everything to the back wheels in 5th through 8th gear. It also combines its efforts with a few other systems, notably standard rear-wheel steering, an electronic rear differential control and the Side Slip Angle Control 8.0 stability system that all seamlessly manages torque distribution to whichever wheel needs it most.
But again, this is an AWD system meant for managing the car on wet, icy or dry pavement — the operative word being pavement. There are no off-road or towing modes because those are two activities you simply do not do with a Ferrari.
Designed for Sport and Luxury
The construction of the Purosangue is interesting, as well. It uses an aluminum space-frame design with aluminum inserts and selectively placed high-strength steel over which an aluminum and carbon-fiber body shell is placed. The roof is entirely carbon fiber, which Ferrari says weighs 20% less than a comparable aluminum roof. All of it is meant to help keep mass low in the car and improve its handling.
That handling is managed by a new active suspension system that uses Multimatic True Active Spool dampers, similar to the non-active system found on high-performance versions of the Chevrolet Camaro and GM’s off-road pickup trucks. Through the use of a dizzying array of sensors, pumps and 48-volt motor actuators, the Ferrari system manages every aspect of the suspension’s performance, according to the company.
Inside, the seating position is the first clue this is not a typical off-road SUV. Ferrari says that despite the higher driving style of the Purosangue overall, the seats are mounted very low inside, keeping more in tune with it being a bigger, four-seat sports car than any kind of crossover. The dash design is also unique: The driver controls and screens are similar to the SF90’s, with most of the required functions integrated into a touch-capacitive steering wheel. The Mannettino switch is also present, allowing the driver to change drive modes while pretending to be a Formula One racer, while paddle shifters are present to change gears if desired.
2023 Ferrari Purosangue | Manufacturer image
Curiously, there is no center console display or touchscreen. Instead, the front-seat passenger gets a large 10.2-inch touchscreen in front of them that displays almost everything the driver sees. There also are no buttons for controls; everything is capacitive-touch either through controls on the console or on the steering wheel itself.
All four seats are adjustable and heated, and everything is covered in high-quality leather, real metal and optional carbon fiber with a unique copper filigree weave. If you’re feeling like something different, you can skip the carpet and leather traditionally used to line the floor of Ferraris and opt for a high-strength fabric typically used for military uniforms. All the usual luxury trimmings are available, of course, such as a Burmester 3D sound system, massaging seats and a first for Ferrari, an optional electrochromic glass roof.
So when will the newest prancing horse be gracing your local fancy mall? Ferrari hasn’t officially given any timing or pricing, but scuttlebutt says it will start production in late 2022, with American arrivals happening in late 2023 for a starting price possibly around $400,000. But as with all new Ferraris, unless you already own one and have been invited to purchase a Purosangue already, you’ll likely have to wait a bit longer, as quiet sales were opened to Ferraristi months ago for the first models. Who knows? Maybe your neighbors will surprise you.
Keyword: Ferrari Unveils 2023 Purosangue: The Car It Said It Would Never Build