Ferrari’s $400,000 Purosangue is a dream to drive. Just don’t call it an SUV

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Don’t call the Ferrari Purosangue an SUV.

For one, the company doesn’t, omitting the moniker from its launch materials and press announcements, dubbing it instead “the first four-door, four-seater Ferrari.”

Ferrari’s mystique is built on racing and rarity. Slapping the famed prancing horse on just another SUV would be contrary to its carefully crafted image and exclusivity. And, Ferrari is fairly late to the segment and wants to distinguish the Purosangue from the SUVs of its luxury rivals. Porsche launched the Cayenne more than 20 years ago, Lamborghini has been making the Urus for more than five years and Aston Martin rolled out the DBX in 2020.

Yet, the biggest reason to avoid those three letters: From behind the wheel, the Purosangue is no SUV.

The Ferrari Purosangue.
Bradley Howard | CNBC

The Purosangue, its name meaning “pure blood” or “thoroughbred” in Italian, comes with a 7.5 liter, V-12 engine. The vehicle starts at $400,000, but with additional options, most buyers will end up paying more than $500,000.

Driving it was unlike anything I’d experienced before. It’s not an SUV, but it is unquestionably a Ferrari.

It starts with the exterior. In pictures, the Purosangue looks bulbous, pedestrian, even a little boring — especially compared to the Urus, with its space-age winglets and angles. But in person, the Purosangue is perfectly proportioned, more like a crouching tiger than racehorse.

The car’s vents, air buttresses, spoilers and diffusers can only be appreciated up close and were the result of hundreds of hours in the wind tunnel.

The Ferrari Purosangue.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The Purosangue is big, weighing over 2 tons, and measuring 16 feet long and 6½ feet wide.

The two rear passenger seats aren’t token “sports car seats” for toddlers, but they are fully adjustable individual seats that comfortably fit even those passengers over 6 feet tall.

Suicide doors on the Ferrari Purosangue.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Sliding into any seat of the Purosangue is blissfully un-Ferrari-like. No crouching or spinal origami required to climb in. The rear doors, called “welcome doors,” are rear-hinged similar to a Rolls-Royce, and glide open with the tap of a button.

The cargo space can easily handle a large grocery run and, with the rear seats folded back, a bicycle or larger gear.

Trunk storage in the Ferrari Purosangue.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

All of that sounds like an SUV but wait until you start up the engine and press the accelerator.

Perhaps to compensate for the naysayers who said Ferrari would denigrate the brand with a truck, Ferrari chose to power the Purosangue with its most celebrated engine: a naturally aspirated, V-12. It’s old-school, raw power and generates 715 horsepower with 528 pound-feet of torque.

The Ferrari Purosangue.
Bradley Howard | CNBC

It’s also midfront mounted, with the gearbox at the rear, so the car has a 49:51 weight distribution, more akin to a sports car than an SUV.

Roaring down the highway or through windy country roads, the Purosangue sounds and feels like a more nimble car.

It’s not the same as a Ferrari sports car, let’s not kid ourselves. Yet, the steering is sharp and light (almost too light until you get used to it), the brakes are firm and the power is instant and gratifying.

The Ferrari Purosangue.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

When you drive the Purosangue, you may not squeal or scream like you might in any other Ferrari. But you will undoubtedly smile at what the engineers at Maranello have managed to create.

Ferrari’s other big innovation for the Purosangue is the suspension. The supercar maker created a new active suspension system that includes a “True Active Spool Valve System,” which combines an electric motor with a hydraulic damper to shift force at high speeds.

The result is less body roll and incredible cornering. Throwing the Ferrari around high-speed turns feels effortless and evenly balanced.

Detail of carbon fiber materials in the Ferrari Purosangue.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The Purosangue is not perfect, of course.

Some long-time Ferrari owners who have driven the car told me they were disappointed with the interior, which they said looks “too basic” — especially at a price tag of up to $500,000.

The cabin is simple, and Ferrari was proud of using recycled, environmentally friendly materials for the Alcantara upholstery. Yet, competing with luxury SUVs, the Purosangue interior could use a bit more luxury.

A view of the backseat interior of the Ferrari Purosangue.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Some Ferrari owners and dealers also griped about the engine sound, which they said was too muted for their liking. As one Ferrari collector told me, “For a Ferrari V-12, the engine just doesn’t sound right.”

To my ears, it sounded glorious, full of all the usual Ferrari rumbles at the low end and whines at higher RPMs, yet not so aggressive that it would annoy your neighbors in the cul-de-sac.

As important as the engine sound has traditionally been for Ferrari owners, it may not be as critical to customers interested in a four-door.

One dealer told me that about a third of the buyers of the Purosangue are new to the Ferrari brand, which means Ferrari has succeeded in building a car to expand its market.

Is it a “pure blood” Ferrari? Is it an SUV? Ferrari purists can debate what to call it. The proof is in the sales. The Purosangue is sold out for more than two years and the only available slots are for 2026.

I call it a success.

The Ferrari Purosangue.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

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