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A Ferrari like no other

A Ferrari like no other


The Purosangue goes on a tour in New Zealand, with luggage


The Purosangue has been built from the ground up to be like no other Ferrari before it.

We were having a discussion the other day. It was about what was the most technologically intense Ferrari currently available.

Some of the Ferrari people were saying that their hybrid system was the most advanced. My position, having just gotten off some mountain roads in it and half of them in the passenger seat asleep, was that it was the Purosangue because of an amazing new active electric suspension system. A system that has made it short-listed for both the Vehicle Dynamics International Vehicle Of The Year Award and the World Car Of The Year World Performance Car Award. That is what we were there, in New Zealand, to test. And did you know that New Zealand has what they call “desert road”?

For one thing, falling asleep in a Ferrari is no easy feat. The Purosangue has been built from the ground up to be like no other Ferrari before it. It is higher off the ground than other Ferraris, and it has all-wheel drive. And it has a roofline that doesn’t slope all that much towards the back. There has been much said about whether or not Ferrari would build a vehicle like this, or what type of vehicle type it would fall under.

Never mind all that. Define it as you wish. Let us tell you how it feels and drives.

It has a wonderful normally aspirated 6.5-liter V12. This by nature gives it smooth power delivery that starts low and just climbs without all that much peakiness. In this car, that power curve was worked on even more so that 80 percent of the torque is available at 2100 rpm. At around 1000 to 1200 rpm, the car will happily roll along just above the 100 kph range.

The engine sits so far back you only see half of it if you open the huge hood. That means that all of that mass and weight is pushed more to the middle of the car rather than hanging off the front. The engine pushed power out through an eight speed transmission to all four wheels, but is heavily skewed to drive like a rear wheel drive sportscar. Which it does.

The Purosangue can still be comfortable enough that passengers can fall asleep in. Two suitcases and two carry-on rollers can fit in the trunk, as well.

How does it do that?

As we said, weight balance primarily. However, they have added a wonderful new active suspension system that acts more quickly and with far more range than ever before. An electric motor acts with a hydraulic shock absorber to make extremely quick adjustments using four 48-volt actuators. The end result is that the suspension system reacts far more quickly than ever before. It smoothens out rough roads far better than you would expect, and in tight rough mountain corners it allows you to position the car more easily to be able to hit the throttle and come out fast.

When you start getting the feel of the car, it begins to feel like it is bracing itself on the outside so you can put down more power without going sideways. It has the feeling of being on rails, or the feeling of handing aerodynamic wings providing downforce to allow you to corner faster. Now realize that all this is what you would expect from a purpose-built racecar or a formula car with aero. But now it is in a car that can still be comfortable enough for a passenger (or three) to fall asleep in. With their luggage in the trunk. Did I mention, it has a real trunk. Two suitcases and two carry-on rollers.

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We could talk forever about the new Purosangue, so let’s just do highlights. It is the first Ferrari with four doors, and they open up by throwing themselves outwards for what Ferrari calls their lounge. It has four real proper seats, and the rear seats recline and adjust like the fronts. Speaking of the front, they have set it up kind of like a dual cockpit system, so the front seat passenger gets a bit of the same feel as the driver.

The car is higher off the ground than other Ferraris, and this means it can go more places more easily than ever before. It isn’t meant to go rock climbing or deep diving, but it can handle more than a normal sports sedan. The extra height is meant to give more ability to go more places. Which you can because of the trunk. We brought full luggage assuming we would have a support car. We didn’t. It was fine.

The Purosangue has comfort mode. Who buys a Ferrari for comfort mode? Now you can. And it is good enough that you forget that you are in a car with the prancing horse on the front. Almost. You still feel Ferrari, in the handling, in the sound, in the way your heart begins to race. But you also come out of the cabin after running one fourth of the length of New Zealand without a backache. Oh and it actually has massaging seats.

The car has the sound of the V12s, but it handles somewhere between there and the hyperactive V8 turbos. Going up and down mountain twisties, it felt no way like the heavy-nosed V12s or even the surgically-revise handling cars. It has its own feel, capable and fun, but also confidence-inspiring while it draws you to punch it. It is probably the Ferrari that will give owners more seat time than any other, just because it will be enjoyable in so many ways.