- The Purosangue is Ferrari’s first four-door, (more accurately a five-door hatch), four-passenger, all-wheel drive, front-engine V12 vehicle.
- You do sit higher, and there’s real-world ground clearance. But let’s be clear here—this is no Sport-Utility Vehicle.
- The fastback Purosangue is not exactly pretty, not in the way of the current Roma and 296 GTB, but you can see the Ferrari heritage.
Ever since it became known that Ferrari would join the ranks of other exotic manufacturers who had succumbed to market trends to produce an SUV, those fans of the marque have been anxiously awaiting the result that for some seemed like an oxymoron in the first place—a Ferrari SUV?
Not that we haven’t been here before. When Porsche introduced the Cayenne in 2002 this was also viewed as sacrilege by loyalists at the time.
Now 20 years later and with the addition of the Macan, Porsche easily sells more crossovers than sports cars, yet this has done nothing to dilute the brand’s reputation or the authenticity of its performance vehicles. If anything, Porsche has never been healthier, as well as satisfying all those suburbanites wanting the right fashion accessory with the name “Porsh.”
Which brings us back to Ferrari, and the Purosangue. It’s the brand’s first four-door, (more accurately a five-door hatch), four-passenger, all-wheel drive, front-engine V12 vehicle.
Ostensibly it replaces the GTC Lusso, but unlike that car it’s more upright, and presents a very different profile. And while the front and rear graphics are in the current Ferrari idiom, this is a very distinct and intriguing ca... ah, vehicle.
Probably the most everyday usable product from the Maranello factory, it really does fit four adults and has foldable rear seats to expand its already respectable cargo capacity. You do sit higher, and there’s real-world ground clearance.
For a Ferrari, there’s a high “utility” quotient here. And given the performance of a V12 and the trick suspension—plus years of Ferrari building some of the best handling cars on earth—it likely hits the “sports” aspect as well. But let’s be clear here—this is no Sport-Utility Vehicle.
There’s been a lot of confusion out there as to what qualifies as an SUV. At one point, only truck-based body-on-frame vehicles were considered true SUVs, with the emphasis on rugged utility, certainly not sports. Think of the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe, Jeep Wagoneer, and Ford Expedition.
Americans bought 1.4 million SUVs in 2022, but they bought 6.2 million vehicles that try to be like SUVs: Crossovers (or CUVs), which tend to be smaller and are body-integral designs, many sharing their platform with a sedan variant.
These high-riding vehicles are crossovers because they don’t fit neatly in either the SUV or traditional car categories—for example, the Subaru Crosstrek, BMW X3, Chevrolet Equinox, and Honda CR-V. But most people today just refer to any of these vehicles as SUVs—as in, if it’s not a pickup truck or a sedan, it’s an SUV.
And given their current popularity in the market, manufacturers are content with that. But not Ferrari. Nowhere will you see the Italian automaker referring to the Purosangue in any way as an SUV. And after years of denying they would ever build one, that’s understandable.
Certainly, this was a challenging project for Ferrari as it is so different from anything they’ve done in the past. And because of this, there’s always the chance that it could be perceived as not a “real” Ferrari. Even the name, which translates to “Thoroughbred,” consciously seems to address that possibility.
But if the performance numbers suggest it’s very much the real thing—given its unique packaging and proportions, unlike any sports car they’ve done in the past—does it visually come off as a Ferrari?
For the most part, it does. For one thing, this is an all-new platform, which allowed design and engineering more of a clean-sheet approach with fewer compromises. What might be considered the competition—the Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, even the Porsche Cayenne—all share a common platform.
In comparison, the Ferrari is lower than these vehicles, with less of a typical two-box appearance and more of a raised four-door coupe look. Viewing the side profile, the vehicle’s long hood aided by its extended dash-to-axle, along with a low upper (above the belt line) give it a sporty, elegant proportion in keeping with the brand and unlike other “SUVs.”
Going a long way to disguise its visual lower mass are the huge 22-inch front and 23-inch rear wheels along with the clever aero fairings surrounding them. Aero management as a visual feature is very much a part of this design, with numerous scoops and channels throughout.
That, in combination with the muscular fender forms over the front and rear wheels, gives the fastback Purosangue a very purposeful look. It’s not exactly pretty, not in the way of the current Roma and 296 GTB, some of the best-looking cars to come from Ferrari in years, but you can see the heritage.
Who will buy this Ferrari? Clearly, current Ferrari owners looking for something to add to their stable but with more usability. Perhaps others who considered a Ferrari too impractical or intimidating before could rationalize this one.
Which, at $400,000 is not to say the Purosangue is rational. But for a brand that has sold almost solely on emotion, this may be the one exception.
Dave Rand (pictured right) is the former executive director of Global Advanced Design for General Motors.