The idea of a supercar presented as a sport utility vehicle was preposterous—until a few years ago. But sales were so high, not even niche high-end manufacturers could ignore the consumer shift away from sedans to more versatile people haulers. Welcome Ferrari to the once-unthinkable corps of prestigious carmakers clamoring for a utility market share.
Joining the Aston Martin DBX, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the 2023 Ferrari Purosangue is expected to debut in July. It’s a rare double for the Italian carmaker: a new model and its first SUV.
Introduced last September, the most controversial vehicle in Ferrari history, delayed for more than two years because of COVID-19, will further add to the ever-expanding saturation of SUVs crowding highways.
But what exactly would Enzo Ferrari, the brand’s namesake founder who died in 1988, have to say about a Ferrari for wealthy soccer moms and with one of the worst car names in history? Less shocking but also formerly non-Ferrari-like, what’s with the four doors and four seats?
Considering his competitive nature, the founding Ferrari might have come around to an SUV. But what about the vehicle’s name? It’s pronounced with four syllables, “PUR-o-SAN-gue,” with the first and third syllables emphasized. An offshoot of Puro Sangue Orientale, the car’s name is Italian for Oriental Purebred, a specialized horse breed introduced in the late 1800s. That’s in keeping with thematic tradition for the manufacturer whose insignia since 1932 is often referred to as the “Prancing Pony,” but it also joins a legion of dubious names alongside its brand mate Ferrari LaFerrari, the Volkswagen Tiguan and oddballs such as the Peugeot Bipper Tipee Outdoor and the Toyota Deliboy.
According to the manufacturer, the Purosangue will be made with the same platform as the Ferrari Roma coupe. It will be equipped with a 6.5-liter V12. The carmaker is promoting the top speed of the all-wheel-drive-only crossover as 193 mph.
Unique is the use of the electric motor system to apply the dampers while cornering and curtailing body roll. It also has front-opening “suicide” rear doors.
Unlike other manufacturers that tout vehicles with five-passenger capacity, the new Ferrari can’t fudge. All four seats are bucket-style. Most of the car’s controls are operated through the steering wheel, revealing an odd look. There’s no center-mounted infotainment touchscreen. But the front seat passenger has access to only a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster and same-size screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but an in-dash navigation system is absent.
The Purosangue also comes standard with automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beam headlamps, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assistance. A darkening full-length glass roof is optional.
Ferrari interiors are top-line. The hand-stitched front seats have a massage feature, while the front and back seats are heated. A concert-mimicking Burmester 3D High-End Surround Sound System is unequaled.
It’s all part of Ferrari’s SUV future. Will the Purosangue succeed? Or will it fail as an overthought SUV with a hefty price, a funky name and only a few buyers who care about purebred horses on wheels?
Facts & figures
Acceleration: 0-100 km (62 mph), 3.3 seconds
Fuel economy: 13 mpg city, 17 mpg hwy (speculated)
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $400,000 (anticipated)
Manufacturer’s website: ferrari.com
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/unlimited mileage; Powertrain, 3 years/unlimited mileage; Maintenance, 7 years/unlimited mileage; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/unlimited mileage