When offered the chance to roadtrip a Ferrari across Europe, I’d opt for the one that fulfills the dream; the car deserving of childhood posters. Perhaps an SF90 or a 296, something open-roofed to catch the sun. Well, at least, those would’ve been my choices, but instead, Ferrari handed me the keys to their new four-door offering, the Purosangue. Initially, I wasn’t convinced, but it won my heart.
This is a car that Ferrari basically said it would never make. Actually, the specific words used by the late Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne in 2016 were reportedly: “You’d have to shoot me first.” That was in regard to Ferrari building an SUV. If you ask the Italian automaker today, it'd insist that the Purosangue is not an SUV.
“Please don’t call it an SUV, because it isn’t,” Chief Executive Officer Benedetto Vigna said in 2022, per Fortune. “It’s a Ferrari.”
Ok. Sure. I mean, it kind of is an SUV or crossover. But, whatever. Call it what you want.
Officially introduced in September 2022, the Purosangue is an all-wheel-drive, capable, V-12-packing swooopy four-seater that starts at around $400,000. On paper and in real life, it’s very much a Ferrari. Its design language is representative of the rest of the automaker’s lineup, and everywhere it goes, it receives just as much—if not more—attention and curiosity as any other car from Maranello. That’s somewhat shocking to me as I figured that from afar, an untrained eye might just write it off as another crossover. It gets attention, though, and thanks to a V-12 and high-tech suspension it’s more than just a pretty face.
I hopped into the Purosangue for a drive from Maranello to Le Mans, in the lead up to the 24-hour race. Since myself and the other journalists Ferrari was shepherding around Europe only had two days to do the 750-mile drive, and a few required stops in between, we were asked to stick to highways, for the most part. It was no Alps sightseeing tour, but Italy’s E70 and France’s A43—the major roads leading into the inter-country, sub-Alpine Traforo Stradale del Frejus tunnel—definitely beat out the views from the New York City area interstates I’m used to. The Cross Bronx and Staten Island Expressway have nothing on these French-Italian Alps valley roads.
On the European highways, the Purosangue was totally fine. It’s comfortable enough, easy to control, and a joy to rev out in open sections. Though frustrations did arise when I had to navigate its burly shoulders and hips through tight construction zones and narrow tunnels. I winced at the thought of scraping its massive, multi-thousand-dollar two-tone wheels and trading paint with Eastern European cargo haulers.
Launching out of a toll booth—there are many throughout France’s highway system—the Purosangue’s 715-hp V-12 made glorious noises. With a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds, Its acceleration isn’t explosive. But the V-12 loves to be revved out to its 7750-rpm redline, with power that goes on and on and on. More importantly, the theatrical experience feels authentically Ferrari.
My best memory with the Purosangue came when I detoured off the pre-planned route with my drive partner, MotorTrend’s Angus MacKenzie. Per MacKenzie’s request, we made a stop at Circuit de Charade, a track known for hosting the French Grand Prix a handful of times in the Sixties and Seventies. We weren’t going to take the Ferrari on the actual circuit, but four miles of the Charade’s original course are now public roads. Very good public roads.
The Charade circuit runs around an extinct volcano. The roads are serious. Hairpins, long straights, elevation change; all the makings of a perfect test bed for a new performance car, even without taking it on the portion of the track that remains active. In the Purosangue, it was a blast, and the only opportunity I really got to get somewhat acquainted with the $400,000 SUV’s performance capabilities.
On these roads, the Multimatic True Active Spool Valve Dampers mask the Purosangue’s 4482-lb heft well. Off the brakes, you can feel the weight push to the rear, but the Ferrari maintains its composure through the corners (find a full explainer on this new suspension tech here). Even without anti-roll bars, the Purosangue is a handling delight. Just when my brain assumed it would no longer want to grip, or that I might be asking too much by throwing all its weight around, the Ferrari proved me wrong. The Purosangue is the best-handling SUV on sale, dare we classify the prancing horse as such.
Once we arrived at Le Mans, I was reminded how much of an eyeball magnet this thing is. While at the 24-hour race, I couldn’t roll 25 feet without people shouting, staring, or shipping me their praise and excitement. When parking up inside the circuit during the race weekend, I was bombarded by curious onlookers who were desperate to gawk at and learn more about the car. That kind of attention continued all around the town.
My time in the Purosangue was a delight. It proved to me, and seemingly everyone around it wherever it went, that it is a real Ferrari. It handles like a champ, it sounds like a purebred, and it does its best to look the part wherever it goes. SUV or not, it’s a Ferrari. It’s earned the badge. It’s mega to drive. And it may be the best grand tourer that’s ever come out of Maranello.
You Might Also Like