Is this the best Ferrari yet? Purosangue SUV tested


It’s not quite a local drive, but finally Drive gets to test the barnstorming 2024 Ferrari Purosangue on – close to – home soil. Trent Nikolic gets behind the wheel on some of the best roads New Zealand’s sensational South Island has to offer.

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What we love
  • V12 engine and its performance is a masterpiece
  • Ride comfort is hard to believe
  • Sense of luxury in the cabin is exceptional
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What we don’t
  • Transmission could be smoother at city speed
  • Steering wheel controls are difficult to master
  • No wireless smartphone connectivity

“What is it?” the lady, who had separated from her group of tour companions, asked as she walked over to find out exactly what it was that we were driving. “Is it electric?” Between explaining that she was down from the North Island on holiday and we had some of New Zealand’s best driving roads ahead of us, her most pressing point of concern was what propels the new Ferrari she was now clearly impressed with. 

“Let me answer that for you,” I said to her as I hit the starter button. As the V12 rumbled to life and settled into its sensual idle, she smiled broadly and said, “Thank goodness for that”. Upon hearing the Ferrari wake from its slumber, the remainder of her tour group sauntered over for a look too, poking, prodding, admiring, needing to see the rear doors in action. “Can we have a look under the bonnet?”

The reality of driving a Ferrari in NZ, it quickly became clear, is one of admiration and selfies, the cars – exactly as they should be – the stars of their very own rolling road show. It reminds you why these vehicles are special, and why owning one comes with membership to a very exclusive club.

With that in mind, if there’s to be a sense of the outrageous, of occasion, when you sit behind the wheel of anything that has its genesis behind the famed gates in Maranello, the Purosangue is every bit a Ferrari, its DNA coded with the engineering genius and raw animal attraction only an Italian supercar can generate. 

However, and here’s the point I’m struggling to come to terms with having now spent three days behind the wheel, I may have to reluctantly agree with Ferrari’s pre-launch bluster that the Purosangue isn’t an SUV. I’m hating myself a little bit, too, for that potential admission.

I never like admitting that the marketers – they are the dark side after all – have a point worth agreeing to. And, initially at least, I wanted to believe the argument was proffered simply to justify the assertion some years ago that ‘Ferrari would never build an SUV’. Then it did build an SUV, but if we believe that it’s not an SUV, then it isn’t an SUV…

The Purosangue, then, could actually be an SUV that isn’t an SUV, but it’s not a supercar either. Is it, in fact, the new gold standard for grand touring? That’s probably a longer discussion for another day.

And yet, looking at the Purosangue, driving the Purosangue, feeling its response and performance, if this is an SUV, it’s unlike any other. Ferrari has delivered a four-seat grand tourer in the grand tradition. Stunning to look at, practical, comfortable, room for four adults and their luggage, and perhaps most crucially, completely lacking in intimidation when you get behind the wheel.

How much does the Ferrari Purosangue cost in Australia?

It’s tempting to trot out the old ‘if you’re asking how much it costs, you can’t afford it’ line, but for the sake of the exercise, let’s quickly break down what the Purosangue costs in our market. The first examples have arrived, with more to follow in 2024, and the comedy of the whole thing is the waiting list that assembled before anyone in Australia even knew the starting price. Likewise, the first few batches will be sold long before they even land in Australia.

Pricing for Australia is set to start at a stratospheric $728,000 before on-road costs, and as we know with Ferrari, some enthusiastic work at the options desk will see that price climb quickly. In effect, most Aussie buyers will be forking out close to a million on the road.

Money well spent? I can’t find an argument against it if you have the money available. For mine, though, I’m still buying a Ferrari supercar if I’m buying a Ferrari. That doesn’t take anything away from the Aussies who do buy super SUVs, though, it’s simply a personal preference.

Comparisons will be many, Urus Performante the most obvious, if only to delve into the age-old Lamborghini v Ferrari battle. A fast Porsche is always in the mix, of course, and as such the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid will get a mention too. However, neither of those SUVs go into battle on a bespoke platform and both sell for not much more than half the asking price of the Purosangue. While there are real benefits in a multi-brand parent company being able to cross-pollinate, the reality is that neither of those foes deliver the same level of individuality as the Ferrari.

Which, interestingly I think, leaves the Aston Martin DBX707 as the most likely grand-touring SUV combatant. And, in their own way, both the Purosangue and the DBX707 respond and behave exactly as you’d expect a Ferrari or Aston to, which in turn is exactly what the buyer would want. In some areas, you could argue for the DBX, in others for the Ferrari. One thing’s for sure – the Aston feels more like an SUV than the Ferrari does. Both offer a compelling take on high-quality, luxury touring. Again, though, the DBX 707 is priced very differently to the Purosangue.

Does a Ferrari buyer or owner compare their prancing horse to anything, though? I suspect not. If you want a Ferrari, you get in line and buy a Ferrari. As such, comparisons, beyond noting them here, are almost certainly irrelevant.

How much space does the Ferrari Purosangue have inside?

If the grand-touring luxury credentials of the Purosangue are to be best sampled anywhere, it’s here inside the cabin where they most visibly come to the fore. Take a seat, close the door – manually up front or electronically if you’re in the back – and breathe in the beauty, quality, comfort and luxury that surrounds you. This is every bit a Ferrari cabin, just with a hell of a lot more room than you’re accustomed to.

And what an environment it is on a proper road trip too. Long days on winding country roads in a country other than home focus the senses a little differently, and allow you – whether you’re the driver or passenger – to fully immerse yourself in the cabin experience.

The Ferrari’s cabin is a masterful execution of not just material choice and fit, but design and comfort. All the key areas in terms of visibility and seat adjustment are excellent. While it feels like a Ferrari in either of the front two seats, the back seats are key to the appeal of why you would buy the Purosangue in the first place.

On the subject of the second row, it’s not obvious at first glance how you open the rear doors. There’s a somewhat hidden switch, and a quick tap on it pops the door open. Hold it for two seconds and the door quietly hinges open to its widest position thanks to the meaty rear hinge system. Clever design it is too.

While we’ve been schooled that Ferrari’s designers originally wanted a pillarless design, the incorporation of a pillar has done many practical things, among them affording a frameless window design. Which, as we know, makes for a much more svelte appearance. Beauty aside, the rear doors open broadly, making access a cinch.

With the second row in use, the Purosangue features Ferrari’s largest-ever boot, 473 litres to be accurate. Ferrari doesn’t quote a figure for when the seats are folded down, but you’d get longer items in there easily. The cargo cover is easily hidden beneath the boot floor if you need to remove it for any reason. While the boot isn’t massive, you’d easily fit the luggage of four adults for up to a week on the road – just don’t go overboard with the packing…

2024 Ferrari Purosangue
Seats Five
Boot volume 473L seats up
Length 4973mm
Width 2028mm
Height 1589mm
Wheelbase 3018mm

Does the Ferrari Purosangue have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

I’ve written this every time I’ve tested a Ferrari or Lamborghini, and I still maintain that you shouldn’t care one iota whether your million-dollar investment has smartphone connectivity. Likewise, with a soundtrack like the one offered by an Italian V12, who gives a toss if the audio system is a bit second rate. However… this is 2023 and these things matter.

So, with that in mind, the Purosangue does indeed have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cabled only. Tested briefly at launch, the system worked well for us, and the quality of the connection was maintained as well. I’ve listed the lack of wireless connectivity as a negative – I was nitpicking and I needed three for my OCD to be satisfied – but it’s only really an issue if you don’t want your phone visible in the cabin. The system that Ferrari has included works well.

The big difference in the Purosangue’s cabin is the lack of a centre screen. The driver gets a beautiful interactive 16-inch instrument panel, which can be adjusted to suit what you want to look at and when. While traditional Ferrari gauges were a thing of beauty, it’s hard to argue with the quality of the interactive experience. There’s also a high-quality head-up display.

The passenger gets their own 10.2-inch screen on the other side of the dash fascia, which they can use to control the music, entertainment and satellite navigation, for example. In the centre of the console, there’s Ferrari’s conventional gear selector, as well as a multi-function dial and touchscreen. There’s also another touchscreen for the rear.

The steering-wheel-mounted controls will take some time to master, and didn’t get any easier for me when I was on the move. You will, of course, get used to them, but they aren’t as intuitive as they might be, and as we’ve become accustomed to with a modern Ferrari wheel, there’s a lot going on.

In addition to the infotainment-specific stuff that you expect now, there’s also the attractive ‘manettino’ switch that we love so much. Twisting it moves the drive modes through the various options as we’ve tested before, but pushing it adjusts the damper settings. Dampers can be toggled through ‘medium’ or ‘soft’ in Snow, Wet and Comfort drive modes. Then you can choose ‘hard’, ‘medium’ or ‘soft’ in Sport mode and with ESC off.

Is the Ferrari Purosangue a safe car?

Like all cars of this level in Australia, the Ferrari Purosangue has not been tested by ANCAP.

2024 Ferrari Purosangue
ANCAP rating Untested

What safety technology does the Ferrari Purosangue have?

Constructed from materials like carbon fibre, aluminium, and with the key inclusion of lightweight, structural steel, it’s fair to say the Purosangue is a rigid vehicle, and Ferrari says it’s a design that offers as little total weight as possible, but as much rigidity and safety as possible too.

However, with the vehicle untested in a crash sense, we can’t offer comment on its ability to protect occupants from injury in a collision, as we don’t on any of these high-end vehicles.

The Purosangue comes standard with autonomous emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control as part of a suite of the latest active and passive safety systems that Ferrari includes on its models.

How much does the Ferrari Purosangue cost to maintain?

The Purosangue is covered by Ferrari’s regular three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with servicing free for the first seven years. That is transferable to a new owner as well, should you sell your Purosangue during that period. You can, of course, add to the warranty coverage via your Ferrari dealer, and that is best explored at the purchase of any vehicle, where you can discuss the different plans and pricing that are available. Included servicing for seven years is a win, though.

We weren’t able to access an insurance quote through the usual channels for the new Purosangue at the time of testing. If that information becomes available, we’ll update the costing.

At a glance 2024 Ferrari Purosangue
Warranty Three years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 10,000km
Servicing costs Free (seven years)

Is the Ferrari Purosangue fuel-efficient?

The official quote lists fuel consumption as 17.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which is hefty to say the least, but not entirely indicative of the full story either. At launch, we weren’t able to nail down a fuel figure that we’d count as reliable, given we were switching from car to car often, and with multiple drivers on different roads. So, it’s not easy to get a reliable figure.

Around town, the claim matches the indicative figure, though, when you’re rolling around in traffic. An open-road cruise on the highway saw that live figure drop below the claim, and with 100L of petrol on board, you’d get a long highway run in without having to stop for fuel.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 17.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) N/A
Fuel type 98-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size 100L

What is the Ferrari Purosangue like to drive?

Brilliant. The end. It really is that simple. What Ferrari has done with the Purosangue in terms of how it makes you feel from the driver’s seat is sensational. The first thing that caught my attention was the ride – the quality of it to be specific. Despite massive wheels – 22-inch front and 23-inch rear – the Purosangue has an otherworldly ability to make light work of the patchwork you might expect on any Aussie country B-road. It’s truly stunning what the chassis and suspension system are capable of dealing with.

Without getting too technical, the Purosangue has a pretty special damper lurking beneath its sensuous skin, in that it can create force as well as absorb it. What that means, in effect, is that each damper can push as well as pull. It’s clever technology, from a company called Multimatic in Canada, and while the technicality of how it works is the domain of the mechanical engineer, in practice the dampers are brilliant.

Generally, when we’re road-testing any car, we tend to find the settings we like the most and just leave them be. However, three days into my time with the Purosangue, I was still adjusting, switching and testing to find out which settings felt a certain way on different surfaces and how they behaved under different driving loads.

In theory, the smarts of the damper design render anti-roll bars out of a job. The way the dampers respond means they can react much faster, and detect a bump faster, thanks to built-in accelerometers and sensors. Key to their appeal is how easily they can be tuned – not just to suit the vehicle they are going into, but once they are fitted.

Further technicality is added by a 48-volt electric motor connected to each damper piston rod. Controlled by computer, the motors extend or compress the dampers at each corner to suit the environment the sensors and accelerometers are experiencing. If you’re already drowning in detail, don’t worry. The Purosangue’s ride is exceptional on any surface, and I kept shaking my head at how comfortable it was.

The engine – as you’d expect of a Ferrari V12 – is a certifiable masterpiece. At 6.5 litres, it carries some heft, but it’s not just about the size either. It’s about the way it delivers the power and torque. The dry-sumped artwork is similar to the engine found in the 812 Competizione, which goes some way to explaining why the Purosangue is so bloody fast. There are differences to the intake, exhaust and cam profile, specifically to tweak the way it delivers the torque with a broader spread.

The eight-speed double-clutch gearbox is the same unit we’ve tested in the SF90 and 296, and the Purosangue’s standard rear-wheel steering is also shared with the 812 Competizione. This might not be a supercar per se, but there’s serious hardware under the skin.

The V12 thunders out a whopping 533kW – 717hp in the old money – at a sonorous 7750rpm, and 716Nm at 6250rpm. The way the engine screams to redline isn’t just what we’d expect from a Ferrari, it’s aurally delicious. Few engines can excite the way an Italian V12 can, and once again Ferrari has delivered an absolute cracker. Ferrari claims a run to 100km/h in 3.3 seconds, and while we didn’t test that claim on launch, the Purosangue feels fast… all the time, on any road, wet or dry.

I’m nitpicking again, but I’d like more noise – not in day-to-day stuff around town – but in Sport mode when you open the taps a little more enthusiastically. It’s a V12, there’s no mistaking that when you get into it, but I’d like a little more fire and brimstone at the outer reaches of the rev range.

The aftermarket will no doubt take care of that, but there’s also a lot to be said for the muted composure with which the Purosangue can cruise through town. The gearbox doesn’t love the slow stuff as much as it does being on the move, and can be a little harsh at crawling speed. Again, it’s a minor gripe.

Once you’re on the move, the combination of ride quality and handling ability is truly staggering. Whether it’s because you’re not expecting it from a Ferrari, or simply marvelling at how composed it is, I’m not sure. Regardless, it’s so competent, comfortable and stable, any road is an opportunity to enjoy every last bit of the drive.

And, this might be a big call, but it’s why I think the Purosangue stands apart from all other fast SUVs. The Aston comes close, for mine, but without a head-to-head to decide, the Ferrari is a different take on how you approach this kind of vehicle.

Key details 2024 Ferrari Purosangue
Engine 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12
Power 533kW @ 7750rpm
Torque 716Nm @ 6250rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 262.2kW/t
Weight 2033kg

Should I buy a Ferrari Purosangue?

The question should be ‘can you buy a Ferrari Purosangue?’. If you have the money, yes you should. This is a monstrously capable, and genuinely premium, super-fast SUV. Getting your hands on one, even if you have the money, might prove to be the challenge. Ferrari is a brand that has a perpetual waiting list, and the Purosangue’s is likely to stretch to two years.

Ferrari said multiple times that it wouldn’t ever sell an SUV. After experiencing it for myself, I have to reluctantly agree that this isn’t, in fact, an SUV. It’s 2024’s version of the ultimate fast grand tourer. And, if it’s to be the last with a V12 engine as we know it, what an epic, sonorous, sensational send-off it is.

How do I buy a Ferrari Purosangue – next steps?

This one’s simple folks… you can’t. Not yet anyway. The smart thing to do if you want a Purosangue is to get into your closest Ferrari dealer, leave a deposit and get in the queue. Chances are you’ll be waiting at least 18 months or two years given the demand and interest. Ferrari has said the Purosangue will never exceed more than 20 per cent of total production volume, so there will be limited numbers available.

If you want to stay updated with everything that’s happened to this car since our review, you’ll find all the latest news here.

Ratings Breakdown

Ferrari Purosangue

8.4/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Trent Nikolic

Trent Nikolic has been road testing and writing about cars for almost 20 years. He’s been at CarAdvice/Drive since 2014 and has been a motoring editor at the NRMA, Overlander 4WD Magazine, Hot4s and Auto Salon Magazine.

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