At some point a memo should have gone out. It dictated that all super-SUVs would follow the same template: twin-turbo V-8, a torque-converter automatic transmission, and full-time four-wheel drive, all stuffed into a stout but conventional four-door body. This is the formula practiced by Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Maserati, BMW, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Audi. However, Ferrari didn’t get the memo. So its first SUV, the Purosangue, uses a 715-hp 6.5-liter V-12 and a rear-mounted dual-clutch transaxle. Power to the front axle is delivered through a separate two-speed transmission that is only active in conjunction with the rear axle’s first four gears. The rear doors are rear-hinged and power-operated, providing first-class access to a pair of heated, ventilated, massaging rear seats. And there’s Multimatic’s TASV spool valve active dampers, four-wheel steering and bodywork that has more aero tricks than a Formula 1 car. Ferrari was aware that its first SUV had to be something special, and the resulting effort would make a fine companion piece to any other exotic in a given garage, valet line, or secret underground lair.
You can tell there was some parts-rack engineering at play with the Purosangue, but it’s a pleasant arrangement when the parts come from the 812 Superfast, with which the Purosangue shares its dry-sump, direct-injected F140 V-12. Here, that lusty mill is tuned for more bottom-end torque (80 percent of its 528-pound-feet maximum is available at 2100 rpm), but still good for an 8000-rpm redline. The front gearbox is derived from the one that started in the FF and is driven off the nose of the engine, with two clutches enabling front-axle torque vectoring (and allowing the two-speed front gearbox to match wheel speed with the first four. forward gears of the rear transaxle). The Purosangue’s long hood isn’t just for stylistic effect, given the packaging challenges of mounting a transmission in front of a V-12. Ferrari claims a zero-to-62-mph time of 3.3 seconds, which seems plausible, if not conservative.
For most cars, a screaming V-12 would be the defining piece of hardware, but the Purosangue’s engine is distinguished by its suspension, which uses 48-volt electric motors at each corner to actively level the body. Instead of simply reacting to uneven pavement, the Purosangue’s four suspension compounds compare notes every 50 milliseconds to dampen bumps by raising or lowering each wheel independently. But the system is not entirely car-based. The electric motors work in tandem with a traditional spring and damper, so they don’t do all the work – more like providing timely nudges to improve yield.
It’s almost hard to say exactly how well the system works because we’d have to visit a known path for a frame of reference. As it is, pavement that looks like it should deliver a crushing ride simply doesn’t. Everything is quiet and closed, such that the dampers’ Sport setting is mostly performance theater—even with the suspension in its softest setting, body control is precise. The enormous 22-inch front tires and 23-inch rear tires feel like they have BFGoodrich KO2 sidewalls while providing immediate response. There is no side-to-side head roll caused by the anti-roll bars because there are no anti-roll bars. In fact, the electric motors will allow the Purosangue to lean in corners if Ferrari programmed it that way. When we asked a Ferrari engineer if the Purosangue could theoretically jump over an obstacle in the road, he thought about it and said yes. He wandered off before we could ask about the possibilities of tricycles or Carolina squats.
Since the Purosangue will be expected to handle light off-road work, by which we mean climbing speed bumps in Bal Harbour, the suspension has a lift adjustment. But lifting the body requires the motors to stay on, so you can’t drive around like that all day. In fact, the cars work hard enough in daily driving to need their own heat exchanger and cooling circuit. And while the hardware is from Multimatic and could theoretically end up on other cars, the control software was done in-house by Ferrari engineers, and we’d guess they don’t share notes. So, for now, if you want active suspension, you’ll need $402,050 to order a Purosangue. (That’s the $393,350 base price, plus a $5,000 destination charge and the $3,700 gas mileage tax incurred by EPA ratings of 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway.)
With its torque vectoring, active suspension and four-wheel steering, the Purosangue manages to feel instantly calm and planted, while retaining the ability to swing into corners as soon as you turn the wheel. The rear-axle steering system, adapted from the 812 Competizione, can steer each wheel independently up to two degrees—so, for example, the outside wheel can help the rear follow the nose in a corner, and Ferrari adjusts the toe under braking and hard acceleration to provide stability. At low speeds, such as in a parking garage, the instrument cluster’s camera screen shows green tracks that predict your steering path, including one for the inside rear wheel to remind the driver that there is also going behind the wheel.
This phalanx of hardware and software works so harmoniously that you’re rarely reminded of the fiendish complexity at work behind the scenes, the ones and zeros flashing across all those wiring trees, the clutches sliding and gears engaging somewhere under the floorpan just to the right. moments. It all just flows into a big, fast car that seems to be good at everything. The only time you’re reminded of the Purosangue’s vast catalog of extensive systems is when you’re forced to interact with some of them through the steering wheel, which is where Ferrari saw fit to put, oh, all the controls .
Ferrari crammed so many knobs and buttons and haptic pads into the front of the steering wheel that it ran out of room and also had to start scattering controls across the back of it—to change the audio source, you have to push a small button of a button behind the right steering wheel spoke, and that button is located next to a shifter that controls track selection, which is also within a stray finger’s reach of the right shifter paddle, and the right turn signal button, and a haptic pad that controls the instrument cluster display and menus, and the wiper and washer activation button, and the wiper setting button, and the manettino lever that controls ride modes and suspension settings. “What if I accidentally touch that haptic pad while diving into Turn 3 at Imola?” you ask Good question. Ferrari expected that, which is why those buttons don’t respond until you touch them twice, thus implying intent. If we have time later, we will tell you about the left side of the steering wheel.
The only physical control on the dashboard is a round knob that belongs to the climate control system. It’s level with the dash, but goes out when you touch it. You then access settings by turning the knob and pushing to its tiny touchscreen to activate the seat heaters, for example, or massage function. (There’s an identical knob between the rear bucket seats.) To the left and right of the knob are another pair of haptic controls hidden behind glass, which control specific functions like the rear window defroster and suspension lifter. The only large touchscreen is in front of the passenger seat, deliberately inaccessible to the driver, and that one offers the kind of display you’d expect in the middle of the dash—here, there’s room to spell out “shiatsu” on the massage options or show cover art for your Def Leppard greatest hits playlist.
The rear seats—which instantly clear the low bar of “best rear seats ever in a Ferrari”—are accessible via power-hinged rear doors that operate completely independently of the front doors. To open one from the outside, you pull and hold a small lever along the bottom of the window that will look familiar to anyone who’s driven a Ford Mustang Mach-E, a group that apparently includes no one at Ferrari (after all, this is the company that used the codename F150 for the LaFerrari). A button on the B-pillar closes the doors. It’s the kind of cool trick you can include if you don’t really care about weight—Ferrari quotes a dry weight of 4482 pounds in the lightest configuration, but the reality is more like 4800 pounds. Which still makes for a good power-to-weight ratio, but only because there’s so much power.
Then again, this is not a sports car. The V-12 makes nice noises, but keeps it to a dull roar, probably to the delight of Tubi, which is sure to do brisk business in uncorked Purosangue exhaust systems. There is a launch control position for the blunt metal console shift lever, but no track adjustment on the manettino. The various aerodynamic tricks – underbody diffuser, air curtains to trap airflow at the side of the car, hidden ducts and channels in the bodywork – are optimized for cooling and drag reduction rather than ground pressure. Ferrari resisted the temptation to build a souped-up F8 Tributo, and it was the right call.
Two decades after Porsche rolled out the Cayenne, we should be done with the hand-wringing over whether sports car companies should build SUVs, but there will surely be Ferrari fans who tsk-tsk the company for daring to put a vehicle on offer that many of people will want to buy. We’re sure Ferrari will be very worried about those pills, as the Purosangue squeezes money and inevitably becomes the best-selling model in the range. And anyway, people who can spend $400,000 on an SUV probably aren’t faced with the binary choice of Purosangue or sports car. They will get both. But if, cursed by fate, you can somehow only have one Ferrari? Then this is the one to have.
2024 Ferrari Thoroughbred
Vehicle type: front engine, four-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 4-door wagon
DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 396 inches36496 cm3
Power: 715 hp @ 7750 rpm
Torque: 528 lb-ft @ 6250 rpm
8-speed dual clutch automatic
Wheelbase: 118.8 inches
Length: 195.8 inches
Width: 79.8 inches
Height: 62.6 inches
Cargo volume: 17 feet3
Combat weight (C/D east): 4850 lbs.
PERFORMANCE (C/D EAST)
60 mph: 3.2 sec
100 mph: 7.5 sec
1/4-mile: 11.7 sec
Top speed: 193 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 13/12/16 mpg
Ezra Dyer is a Car and Driver senior editor and columnist. He is now settled in North Carolina, but still remembers how to turn right. He owns a 2009 GEM e4 and once drove 206 mph. Those facts are mutually exclusive.