Snowy, mountainous terrain is not the first location one would think of to try out a new Ferrari with a V12. However, following the highly anticipated reveal of the Ferrari Purosangue in Fall 2022, I got behind the wheel last month and the spectacular Dolomites in north-eastern Italy provided an ideal ground to review it.
The test drive began at Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomiti in Pinzolo, an alpine town nestled within the breathtaking Unesco World Heritage site of the Dolomites. A walk around the car showed there was much to discover about what makes the Purosangue a versatile and comfortable – yet sporty and stylish – vehicle for a road trip in the Alps.
The first thing that struck me is the sinuously sculpted, signature Ferrari bodywork, which appears to float above the prominent raised wheel arches and the striking curved sill below the doors. While it is lower to the ground than a typical SUV (it’s not being marketed as an SUV, but its size is comparable), it is the largest Ferrari ever produced, creating a roomy, elegant interior space for the driver and three passengers to travel in sumptuous comfort.
Unlike some of the marque’s 2+2 designs of the past, comprising two front and two smaller back seats, the Purosangue has four separate and independently adjustable heated electric seats providing ample leg room and surrounding cabin space for the tallest of passengers. What’s more, getting in and out of the car is a breeze for everyone, thanks to rear-hinged, touch-sensitive electronic back doors.
Planning to take luggage? The Purosangue boasts the biggest trunk ever seen on a Ferrari, and the rear seats also fold down to increase the space further. Skis? There is an optional extra in development that will allow a ski rack to be fitted to the rear window if required.
So far, so practical.
Yet, though its user-friendliness and practicality may present it as a ‘sensible’ Ferrari, the vehicle dynamics of the Purosangue are fashioned on the Prancing Horse’s fastest and most powerful sports cars. And, as I found out once I’d left Pinzolo and headed north through the ski resorts of Madonna di Campiglio and Folgarida, this thoroughbred (the English translation of Purosangue) can unleash a wild side.
With the sun breaking through the early morning clouds to reveal the imposing, jagged peaks of the Adamello Brenta Natural Park in Trentino, winding, high-altitude roads were the first trial for Ferrari’s new active suspension system, making its world debut in the Purosangue. The system – integrating electric motor actuation with a high-precision spool valve hydraulic damper in one solution – effectively controls body roll around corners and tire contact patch over high-frequency bumps, so you experience the same performance and handling response as in a sports car.
When taking on steep corners, not only did the Purosangue’s body motion and wheel movement feel balanced, controlled and intuitive, rough road surfaces were absorbed effortlessly to maintain a feeling of smoothness. Even the challenge of snow-covered tracks was easily navigated, thanks to the new ABS ‘evo’ controller co-designed with Bosch. The evo controller uses information from the Electronic Stability Control-based grip estimation system – originally developed for the 296 GTB – to help the Purosangue on snow and other low-grip surfaces.
The Hill Descent Control – a first in a Ferrari – is also useful for tackling steep descents, maintaining the car’s speed and controlling the braking system.
Having successfully navigated the first mountainous section of the route, the next part of the drive between Cles and Trento was an opportunity to merge with the motorway and see what the 725-hp engine had to offer. Under its front-hinged bonnet, the Purosangue has a mid-front-mounted V12 with the gearbox at the rear, in a transaxle layout with the Power Transfer Unit coupled in front of the engine. Maranello’s engineers deem the precise weight distribution of 49:51% optimal for a mid-front-engine sports car, as delivered by this unique 4×4 transmission.
When the road cleared ahead, I pushed hard on the accelerator and watched the revs creep towards the red numbers denoting maximum output. The instantly recognizable Ferrari V12 roar kicked in, as did the thrilling exhilaration, and while I had to ease off before reaching anywhere near its top speed of 310km/h (193mph), the vehicle’s impressive stats of 0 to 62mph in 3.3secs and 0 to 124mph in 10.6secs show it is indeed incredibly fast.
Back on smaller roads and beginning another winding ascent up Monte Bondone with a lofty elevation of 7,152 ft, a relentless slalom of steep, hair-pin bends over a distance of 12.5 miles posed another serious question for the new active suspension system on the last stretch before lunch. Yet, despite increasingly foggy and icy conditions, the Purosangue proved its agility and sturdiness, reaching the Chalet Rocce Rosse mountain lounge next to the Monte Bondone Grand Piste ski slope without breaking a sweat.
For the drive back to Pinzolo via Starche and Ponte Arche, I swapped to the front passenger seat, occupied by the 10.2-inch dual cockpit dashboard that gives the front passenger access to many of the driving, entertainment and comfort controls.
For pure relaxation, both front seats provide five different types of massage and three intensity levels – blissful after a long day of driving. What’s more, no road trip would be complete without a playlist, and from the Pursangue’s Burmester 3D High-End Surround Sound System, which comes as standard, audio quality is exceptional.
With a vast range of personalization choices available to owners, it is encouraging that sustainable materials account for 85% of the launch trim. This includes the recycled polyester fabric roof-lining and carpet made from polyamide recycled from fishing nets and a newly formulated Recycled Claim Standard-certified version of Alcantara made from 68% post-consumer recycled polyester.
Perhaps it seems contradictory to be talking about sustainability in a car that’s powered by a 6.5L V12, but as the automotive industry becomes more conscious of its impact on the environment, Ferrari too is adapting for the future.
As what must be one of its last V12-powered cars before commencing its transition to electric, the Purosangue demonstrates how performance, driving pleasure, comfort and conscience can coexist.
From $393,350, ferrari.com