If Nostradamus had predicted the Ferrari Purosangue, he would probably have had a verse saying something like “Ferrari will make an SUV the day the Vatican moves to Calcutta”. Well, the prediction that Nostradamus did not make has come true. Here, however, we will focus on just one half of it, the Ferrari “four door, four seater car” (Ferrari might call it an SUV only over the dead body of a prancing horse!) that has set the automotive world abuzz with just its unveiling.
But what’s the fuss all about? Ferrari isn’t the first high priest of performance cars to have bowed to the heathen God called market demand. In fact, it is one of the last. Car makers like Rolls-Royce (they call their SUV the ‘high-bodied vehicle’), Bentley, Aston Martin and Lamborgini, brands that one wouldn’t have even named in the same sentence that had ‘SUV’ earlier, have succumbed to forces greater than themselves.
The vehicle doesn’t have rear wipers but the airstream over the rear windscreen is supposed to keep it free of water
Lamborghini’s Urus now accounts for nearly half its sales. Ferrari says the Purosangue would be restricted to no more than 20 per cent of its total sales numbers. And, going by reports, it’s close to reaching that limit, booking numbers have been that good. It would be tempting to see whether Ferrari’s uptightness about SUVs can win over the lure of lucre and they increase that number.
Notwithstanding how that tussle pans out, the Purosangue seems to have managed to push the SUV envelope in some ways. While going by overall dimensions it fits the SUV bill, it is what has been done within those measures that is different. Barring the height, the long bonnet-short deck proportions are reminiscent of a mid-front-engined grand tourer. Not surprising since that 6.5-litre V12 sits aft of the front wheels. The gearbox has been shifted between the rear wheels with a transaxle layout. That has given a near equal 49:51 load distribution between the front and rear axles that should make it excellent in the handling department. With the fastback type of roofline, however, the luggage space is a reasonably modest 475 litres.
In true prancing horse tradition, the focus appears to be on driving pleasure. And aiding grip will be fat tyres front and rear. The car, expectedly, has independent suspension on the four wheels, but it dispenses with the almost de rigeur anti-roll bar used in setups like this to keep the car horizontally stable on turns. Instead, there is a trick suspension that along with the dampers pairs electric motors that constantly soften or harden the suspension to keep the car stable. There is also a Power Transfer Unit that keeps distributing the power to all four wheels depending on grip and optimal need.
The boffins at Maranello, no matter what they call the vehicle, seem to have benchmarked the Purosangue’s performance with the topline Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and so on. So it will hit 100kmph in 3.3 seconds and 200kmph in 10.6 seconds, which is plenty fast but about as fast as the competition. Top speed, at 310kmph, is comparable too. And tipping the scales at over 2 tonnes dry with its lightest components, this is going to be a heavy vehicle as well. Going by buyer enthusiasm, it seems to be carrying its heft well.
Purosangue is Italian for ‘thoroughbred’ and it is expected to set one back by at least 390,000 euros (about Rs 3.20 crore) before taxes and levies in its home market. Preference is reportedly being given to existing Ferrari owners for allotment. It is supposed to be launched in India next year, and with the import tax should work out to well over Rs 6 crore ex showroom. Those who own a couple of stud farms would probably understand.
Rear hinged rear doors should be good for ingress and egress
Form: “Four-door, four-seater car” LxBxH (mm): 4,973 x 2,028 x 1,589
Dry weight with optional lightweight content: 2,033kg
Weight distribution: 49% front / 51% rear
Engine: 6,496 cc, 65° V12
Max. power: 725cv (~715hp) @ 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 716 Nm @ 6,250 rpm
Redline: 8,250 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch
Tyres and wheels: Front 255/35 R22 J9.0, Rear 315/30 R23 J11.0
Brakes: Front 398 x 38 mm, Rear 380 x 34 mm
Max. speed: More than 310kmph
Acceleration: 0-100kmph in 3.3s in 32.8m