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Ferrari caves, first SUV set for summer debut

The idea of a supercar presented as a sport utility vehicle was preposterous — until a few years ago. Sales were so high, not even niche high-end manufacturers could ignore the consumer shift away from sedans to more versatile people haulers.


Welcome Ferrari to the once-off-limits core of prestigious carmakers clamoring for a market share.


Joining the Aston Martin DBX, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the 2023 Ferrari Purosangue is expected to debut in July. It’s a rare double for the Italian carmaker — a new model and its first SUV.


Introduced last September, the most controversial vehicle in Ferrari history, delayed for more than two years became of Covid-19, will further add to the ever-expanding saturation of SUVs crowding highways.


But what exactly would Enzo Ferrari, the vehicle’s namesake founder who died in 1988, have to say about a Ferrari for wealthy soccer moms and with one of the worst car names in history? Less shocking but also formerly non-Ferrari-like, what’s with the four doors and four seats?


Considering his competitive nature, the founding Ferrari may have come around to an SUV considering his competitive nature. But what about the vehicle’s name? It’s pronounced with four syllables, “PUR-o-SAN-gue,” with the first and third syllables emphasized. But who knows what he would thought about such pedestrian and unnecessary features that come in fours?


An offshoot of Puro Sangue Orientale, the car’s name is Italian for Oriental Purebred, a specialized horse breed introduced in the late 1800s. Ferrari traditions include its branding most often referred to as the “Prancing Pony.” It’s been Ferrari’s insignia since 1932 and thus the continuation of the name theme.

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While Purosangue may not be as bad as some, it joins the dubious name legions with its brand mate Ferrari LaFerrari, the Volkswagen Tiguan and oddballs like the Peugeot Bipper Tipee Outdoor and the Toyota Deliboy.


According to the manufacturer, the Purosangue will be made with the same platform as the Ferrari Roma coupe. It will be equipped with a 6.5-liter V12 with 715 horsepower and 528 pound-feet of torque. The carmaker is promoting the car as capable of achieving 0-62 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds. The top speed in the all-wheel-drive-only crossover is 193 miles mph.


Unique is the use of the electric motor system to apply the dampers while cornering and curtailing body roll. It also has front-opening “suicide” rear doors. Its base price is estimated at $400,000.


Unlike other manufacturers that tout vehicles with five-passenger capacity, the new Ferrari can’t fudge. All four seats, two in both the front and back, are bucket-style.


Most of the car’s controls are operated through the steering wheel, revealing an odd look. There’s no center-mounted infotainment touchscreen. But the front season passenger has access to only a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster and same-size screen.


Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. But an in-dash navigation system is absent.


The Purosangue also comes standard with automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beam headlamps, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning and lane-keep assistance. A darkening full-length glass roof is optional.


Ferrari interiors are top-line. The hand-stitched front seats have a massage feature, while front and back seats are heated. A concert-mimicking Burmester 3D High-End Surround Sound System is unequaled.

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It’s all part of Ferrari’s SUV future. Will the Purosangue succeed? Or will it fail as an overthought SUV with a hefty price, a funky name and only a few buyers who care?



James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, He can be reached via email:


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