Ferrari Purosangue review – traversing new territory

Over the past few decades, Ferrari has organised Grand Tour events which has seen its cars venture to diverse corners of the planet, including the Himalayas and across the United States, just to name a few locales. This tradition continues to this day, with the most recent expedition being a 3,000-km journey from the north to the south islands of New Zealand in November last year.

Beautifully scenic, the country’s breathtaking vistas and expansive terrain was where the original Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in its entirety, and when the call came in that I would join the second leg of the three-week journey, there was plenty to be excited about. Visions of driving a Ferrari on sunbathed roads filled my mind on the long flight over.

Unfortunately, sunshine was limited, with rainfall being the norm during my two days driving the 700-km leg from Lake Taupo to Wellington. Nonetheless, one must be adaptable to any situation, and adaptability is a trait that we find in the people around us. Traits make up the character of a person, and as our friends demonstrate, no one acts or behaves identically, although some share similar traits.

Forgive going slightly off tangent, but there’s a point because adaptability is just one of the traits that Maranello’s Purosangue perfectly demonstrates. Introduced in 2022 as the brand’s first-ever four-door, four-seat model, the Purosangue was the vehicle of choice for the New Zealand Grand Tour and represents new territory for the company.

Ferrari Purosangue review – traversing new territory

The idea of a more practical Ferrari isn’t new. While the traditional image of a Ferrari is a two-seat, low-slung, exotic-looking sports car that defies physics at every turn of the wheel, the company has wheeled out quite a few four-seaters in the past. The lineage started with the 250 GT/E, with others being introducing being the 330 GT 2+2, 365 GT 2+2, 456, 612 Scaglietti, FF and GTC4Lusso.

The Purosangue follows in the footsteps of these cars by offering seating for up to four people, but takes a slightly different route by having two more doors and an increased ride height. This sounds like a recipe for an SUV, which has been a hot topic among car fans, but the Purosangue isn’t labelled as such by its maker, who insists it doesn’t conform to that convention. The official stance is this is a “four-door, four-seat Ferrari,” so take it as that.

Labels aside, Ferrari knows what its customers want, and that is a more practical model that can be used daily with a lot less compromise. The want is certainly a strong one, as those with the means are scrambling just to get their name on the waiting list that now stretches into the years. Unlike other marques, Ferrari insists of maintaining the exclusivity of the brand and its models, which is why just one in five Ferraris produced will be a Purosangue.

Under the guidance of Ferrari chief designer Flavio Manzoni, the Purosangue manages to avoid the typical SUV look. To my eyes, it kind of resembles a GTC4Lusso, albeit taller with matching proportions and very dramatic rear-hinged doors. Looks are subjective though, so share what you think of the styling below.

It’s a rather discreet shape and certainly not overly styled to force shock and awe, which is just how some prospective buyers prefer it – being low-key is what some affluent people prefer. Even so, the devil is in the details as you get up close and poke around. Like recent Ferraris, every slit, cutout, vent, line, duct, crease and curve are purposeful to optimise aerodynamic performance and efficiency without the need for prominent appendages like wings and flics.

Open the large, forward-hinged clamshell bonnet and you’ll draw a crowd, who will be greeted by another Ferrari GT trait, a naturally-aspirated V12 engine that proudly displays its intake plenums. With a displacement of 6.5 litres, the F140IA puts out a mighty 725 PS (715 hp or 533 kW) at a stratospheric 7,750 rpm and 716 Nm of torque at 6,250 rpm, with Ferrari saying 80% of maximum peak torque is available from just 2,000 rpm.

Paired with the mid-mounted V12 (the engine sits behind the front axle) is a transaxle eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and Power Transfer Unit (PTU), the latter making up the all-wheel drive system. The Purosangue is mainly rear-wheel drive with an eDiff, but the PTU can shift torque to the front axle and distribute it to each wheel accordingly when needed through two parallel clutches directly connected to the axle shafts.

This setup is enough to propel the 2,033-kg vehicle from 0-100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds and on to a top speed of over 310 km/h. Remarkable numbers for sure, although there are limited areas to do so in New Zealand without attracting the long arm of the law.

In areas where we could let the V12 stretch its legs, the Purosangue covered ground rapidly with an aurally-pleasing engine note that spooked the native sheep. Should you prefer to drive in a calm manner, the Ferrari is more than happy to dial things down a notch and cruise comfortably within the speed limit while allowing for conversations at normal volume. We clocked just above 1,000 rpm doing 100 km/h, and a modest depress of the pedal saw us gain speed in no time.

Put simply, the car isn’t always raring to be let of the leash and egging you on to drive fast to enjoy it. This duality is a welcomed trait, which is helped along further by another important Ferrari trait, impressive driving dynamics.

The Purosangue also comes with the brand’s first active suspension technology which incorporates True Active Spool Valve (TASV) technology. Developed by Multimatic, the system eliminates conventional roll bars and instead relies on active dampers that use a motor and gears to forcefully slow down or accelerate the motion of the damper stem. This allows for more precise and greater control of body roll and damping, as well as enabling the car to be lifted for short periods (like when going over really high bumps).

On the move, the Purosangue displays good road manners with a compliant ride when dealing with the odd bump on New Zealand’s roads. Even when dealing with sharper-edged bumps, the vehicle maintains its composure and it isn’t jarring on the inside when left in Comfort mode.

Flick the Manettino switch to Sport and the car firms up so you feel more of the road while also providing sharper turn-in, reducing the intervention of the ESC and adjusting other dynamic features. In this mode, the Purosangue’s character changes to fully showcase its agility, with rear-wheel steering further aiding manoeuvrability.

In areas where we could take corners at speed, the Purosangue remained planted, with all systems working in unison to maintain traction and disguise the vehicle’s heft to provide plenty of confidence to push further.

It should be intimidating, more so because Ferrari only brought six left-hand drive units direct from Italy to right-hand drive New Zealand, but the Purosangue never felt too scary to exploit despite the rain-soaked roads. Comfortable when you just want to relax and sharp when you want to get a move on, it is approachable and easy to familiarise with that you can just get in and go.

Adding to the welcoming nature is a steering that is precise and with sufficient feel as well as noticeable weightage, albeit with a bit more effort to turn. For the Purosangue which is meant to be used daily, Ferrari reduced the steering speed compared to its other sports cars that are lightning quick, making it less manic to drive.

Ferrari Purosangue review – traversing new territory

To add to the plus points, the Purosangue doesn’t feel unwieldy and is easy to place despite the dimensions: 4,973 mm long, 2,028 mm wide, 1,589 mm tall and with a 3,018 mm-long wheelbase. The view out from the inside is pretty good, making it relatively easy to judge the corners of the vehicle.

On that mention, let’s talk about life on the inside. As with other Ferrari models, the Purosangue’s cabin is littered with premium materials and has a nice throwback cue in the form of the gear selector, which is reminiscent of the brand’s gated shifter found in heritage models.

The design philosophy is to create a cabin that still screams Ferrari but without being overly focused on tech. As such, the company eschewed plinking a large touchscreen smack centre in the dashboard, with the infotainment being shown in the instrument cluster display much like its laser-focused sports cars, which is accompanied by a front passenger touchscreen (more on that later).

Of course, having everything squeezed into a screen ahead of the driver isn’t the best for practicality, which is a trait that the Purosangue needs. To imbue some practical controls, there’s a retractable dial between the dual cockpits to handle commonly used comfort functions. Through that one dial, you’ll be able to adjust the climate system and even massage functions (who would have thought a Ferrari would come with this?).

The dial takes a bit of getting used to at first, as is also the case with the instrument cluster, but it gets less distracting once you figure out how to get to the function you want. Around the dial are touch-sensitive buttons for heating as well as other vehicle functions such as the front axle lifter and system settings – things that drivers also use often.

For the co-pilot, the secondary touchscreen at the front provides access to many of the car’s functions (except the drive modes), and it has a specific coating so it isn’t visible from the driver’s seat to be distracting. As an added bonus, there are also performance displays so your passenger can keep tabs on the car’s status while on the move.

While the Purosangue isn’t a tall vehicle, there’s quite a bit of space on the inside, with rear passengers able to enjoy an abundance of legroom and reasonable headroom. Those in the rear also get their own touch dial to adjust comfort settings, and the powered rear-hinged doors are always a sense of occasion to use a la Rolls-Royce. As you’ll notice in the photo gallery, the Purosangue’s boot is also pretty sizeable and had no issue swallowing up three luggage bags.

If the Purosangue sounds like a departure from the razor-edge sports car that Ferrari is known for, that’s because it is meant to be easier to live with, and that’s not a bad thing. A 296 GTB is great and an SF90 is immense, but it takes a lot of commitment and compromise on practicality to use such sports car daily.

Ferrari Purosangue review – traversing new territory

Remember what I said about traits earlier? The Purosangue retains the core traits that the Prancing Horse treats as its hallmarks, including a powering V12 engine and impressive driving dynamics, but adds on more adaptability, practicality and duality so it can be used in more settings with ease.

The rain-covered slippery roads of New Zealand and 725 PS should be scary, but the Purosangue adapts to such situations well to provide assurance behind the wheel. When a small window of opportunity appears, it can transform into a formidable speed machine that exhibits poise and lays down power without much of a fuss, all while carrying luggage bags in the back and not feeling claustrophobic on the inside.

Friends have traits, but they also come in various shapes and sizes. The Purosangue is a friend with traits that are welcomed (and expected of a Ferrari) that happens to have four doors instead of two and higher ride height than its stablemates. It’s different but in a good way that Ferrari has made its own.

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