2024 Purosangue Is a Thoroughbred Ferrari in an SUV Body

2024 ferrari purosangue
Purosangue Is Thoroughbred Ferrari in an SUV BodyFerrari
  • Ferrari has built an SUV: hell freezes over!

  • The four-door, four-seat Purosangue sports AWD and 715 hp.

  • High-tech suspension makes it fun enough to drive and easy to drive every day. Sticker prices start at around $400,000. Available now.

A purist contemplating this latest development in the auto industry might feel compelled to mimic the great Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes, collapsing on the beach and pounding his fists into the sand while wailing, “They’ve done it, they’ve finally done it, Ferrari has built an SUV!

Would that be too dramatic? Maybe. Despite the carmaker’s protestations that it isn’t an SUV (they call it a GT), it’s an SUV, but a very nice one. In fact, if you had to compare it to the ultra-hyper-high-dollar competition, you could say it’s the best SUV out there, except that it can’t really go off-road very much at all. But who ever takes their SUVs offroad anymore? Almost no one—certainly not people who spend $400,000 on them.


Now, some readers are cracking their knuckles to type into the comments, “Mah Wrangler’ll do all that and it kin cross the Rubicon fer pennies on the dollah!” Yes, you are right about that. This thing couldn’t even make it to GateKeeper on the Rubicon, certainly not to Loon Lake dam. And forget about entering it in the Baja 1000. It ain’t no Trophy Truck.

The Purosangue—pronounced PURE-oh-SANG-way, don’t forget the “way”—is for the paved road and for the occasional snow-covered paved road. And for Beverly Hills and Monaco. In theory you could take it on a flat, graded dirt road, but not very far. Especially with 22-inchers on the front and 23s on the rear. It is made more for comfort and performance, and at those two goals it succeeds admirably.

First and foremost it is powered by a mighty 6.5-liter 65-degree dry sump V12 in the great traditions of Ferrari V12s. There has been a 6.5 (and, earlier, a 6.3-liter) V12 in the Ferrari lineup since time immemorial.

the engine of a car
See how far back they positioned the engine in this front- mid-engine vehicle?Mark Vaughn

While the cylinder heads are derived from the 812 Competizione, the intake, timing, and exhaust systems have been completely redesigned, Ferrari says. The geometry of the intake ducts and plenums was revised on the new engine for better torque, and the exhaust geometry was “optimized” to reduce back pressure. There are also Purosangue-specific pistons with redesigned crowns to increase combustion efficiency.

But this particular V12 is naturally aspirated and has no hybrid anything in it, nor any forced induction of any kind anywhere. It’s just good, old fire-breathing displacement.

With 48 valves and 5076-psi direct fuel injection, it makes 715 hp at 7,750 rpm and 528 lb-ft at 6,250. It makes that across broad and highly accessible power and torque bands, too. For instance, a full 80% of torque (422 lb-ft) is available as early as 2,100 rpm.

The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission can be adjusted through the drive modes to shift at different rates and different engine speeds and to hold the gears longer for sportier driving.

The only problem is that the eight-speed DCT seems to take too long to downshift when passing on the freeway—a problem shared with all automatics, DCTs, and CVTs. That problem can be addressed by anticipating your passing moves and pulling back on the carbon-fiber shifter paddle on the left side of the steering wheel. Do that and you’ll fly by the unsuspecting orange Prius C before they know what hit them.

Torque gets to the front wheels via the power transfer unit, which is coupled in front of the engine to provide what Ferrari calls “a unique 4x4 transmission.”

The brakes take just a little getting used to. At first the brakes seemed touchy—even grabby. I was prepared to dance on them lightly for the whole three days I’d be driving a succession of Purosangues.

Then, as is the case with many high-performance vehicles, I got used to them. After a few stops the brakes never felt jumpy again. So if you go on a test drive at your Ferrari dealer, keep that in mind.

We drove for three days from New York to Montreal with a few curvy roads thrown in among a seemingly endless string of quaint colonial villages. After a surprisingly short while—at least on slower-speed, straighter roads—you might forget you’re driving a Ferrari.

2024 ferrari purosangue rear three quarter view
2024 Ferrari Purosangue.Ferrari

In everyday driving situations of the kind you’ll spend most of your life slogging through, the Purosangue operates like a comfortable and convenient coastal cruiser. The seats front and back, though well-bolstered, are comfortable enough that you just sink into them and stop paying attention. I could even tilt the seat bottom cushion to my preferred setting.

The human-machine interface is still a little maddening though it, too, gets easier to use after a while. It’s very similar to that inside the Ferrari 296. The controls on the steering wheel spokes turn off under normal driving, and only switch back on when you awaken them with a tap on a specific point on the right side. But the tap has to be just right.

The main control compass on the right-side spoke of the steering wheel remained awkward to operate, even though I’ve spent time in a couple similarly setup 296s and then three days in the Purosangues.

The little compass-like main control surface acts the same way a giant control knob would on most luxury cars, but it’s too small and too sensitive to touch, unless it’s not being sensitive, wherein you have to touch, touch, TOUCH until it does whatever you’re trying to get it to do.

The giant raised knob on the center of the dash controls HVAC but requires one touch to awaken, another to select function, then a third, fourth, or fifth to, say, adjust the fan speed. You may go insane at first, but it gets easier.

Let’s not dwell on that.

Once you find a curvy road, the Purosangue performs more like the GT that Ferrari says it is. Go into a long curve or even a freeway onramp or out in the mountains somewhere and the P-Sang hunkers down and holds on for seemingly whatever speed you want to take it.

It has independent four-wheel steering and ABS ‘evo’ with the six-way Chassis Dynamic Sensor (6w-CDS), in addition to its new active suspension system that employs Multimatic’s True Active Spool Valve (TASV) System.

Slightly different Multimatic setups ride under everything from the Camaro ZL1 1LE and Colorado ZR2 to the Aston Martin One-77 and Ferrari’s own SF90 Stradale Asseto Fiorano, combining powerful 48-volt electric motor actuation with a high-precision spool valve hydraulic damper into one fully integrated system.

“The electric motor (in the shock) ensures that body and wheels can be controlled actively with more force authority and at higher frequencies than traditional adaptive or semi-active systems,” Ferrari says.

2024 ferrari purosangue interior
2024 Ferrari Purosangue interior.Ferrari

But they left some body roll in the system so the non-SUV felt “normal” to its drivers. The advantage is that while it hangs on so well in corners, it can also relax enough in Comfort mode to make everyday commuting a joy.

And did I ever commute: 250 miles through the best of New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Quebec. All that was missing was fall colors.

Whenever the opportunity arose I’d dive headlong into the next curvy section, enjoying it far more than just about any comfortable and practical SUV extant, except maybe the Aston Martin DBX707, and I’ll drive that in a few weeks to let you know which was more sporty.

But as soon as the roads relaxed and fell into a straight line, or when gingerly picking through small-town traffic, the Purosangue felt just like an everyday crossover, albeit minus the floaty ride and squeaky handling.

On long highway onramps the V12 roared mightily, as if finally set free. Top speed is 193 mph and it’ll go from 0-62 mph in 3.3 seconds, or from 0-124 mph in 10.6 seconds, and it’ll sound good doing it.

When you stomp on the throttle from any speed, the F140IA’s (the internal engine code) soundtrack roars to life, reminding you of all the V12s that came before it, from the 1.5-liter in the first Ferrari the 125 S, to the great Colombo V12s of the 50s and 60s, heck, you might even imagine you hear the Tipo 043 of the 1994 F1 season, one of the last of the great V12s.

It accomplishes all that with equal-length exhaust manifolds “tuned to guarantee the 12 cylinders are in perfect harmony,” while a new plenum with optimized intake ducting combines with two progressive silencers in the exhaust for power and performance.

The Ferrari feels more comfortable to drive than the various Mercedes-AMG equivalents, which come across as more severe, more demanding, more insistent despite what the driver may prefer at any given moment.

The 6000-pounds-plus Rolls-Royce Cullinan feels more top-heavy—and just heavier in general—wrapped in that boxy, apartment-building body. The only slightly lighter Bentley Bentayga is a little closer to the Ferrari in performance but likewise feels heavier. Ferrari only lists dry weight, which it puts at 4482 pounds - so add several hundred pounds for oil, gas, wiper fluid, blinker fluid and a cup of cappuccino in the center armrest and let's say it's over 5000 pounds, which isn't exactly superleggaro (lightweight). The DBX come in under 5000 pounds. I’ll let you know how the DBX compares.

2024 ferrari purosangue second row seats
Second row of 2024 Ferrari Purosangue.Ferrari

Pricewise it crushes them all, with a starting sticker of right around $400,000 before you add anything to it, roughly the same as the Rolls Cullinan. All three loaded Purosangues I drove stickered for over a half a million bucks. One was $576,544. For billionaires on a budget, a Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4Matic+ SUV starts at under $150,000. The Bentley Bentayga starts at just over $200,000. A hundred grand here, a hundred grand there and soon you're talking about real money.

Some will say that the Purosangue doesn't compete with those cars, that it stands alone in the SUV spectrum. They have a point. It rides and drives like a Ferrari GT, not like an SUV. And it's smaller than most of those competitors, certainly lower in the roofline. But people at this end of the market buy things as much for prestige as for any performance, and for them, the cross-shopping competition is the models listed above.

But so far, the Ferrari seems to be the best of them. Until we try out that new DBX707. Stick around.

(Oh, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited—a slightly different four-door, four-seat SUV—starts at $52,035, in case you want to go in the opposite direction.)

Is it outrage or inevitability that Ferrari has made an SUV? Let us know in the comments.