FERRARI RELEASES THE PUROSANGUE - THE NEWEST LUXURY / PERFORMANCE SUV

Ferrari was always going to make an SUV the moment it had shareholders to report to.

FERRARI RELEASES THE PUROSANGUE - THE NEWEST LUXURY / PERFORMANCE SUV

CHRIS HARRIS COLUMN WEEK 9

Many people had hoped the day would never come, and that if it did the world would finally have changed for the worse. But in 2022 Ferrari has launched an SUV. Had this happened when I was a bit younger, the world would have ended and the keyboard would have been flecked with spittle and anger. Maybe it’s a product of age or the world currently being what it is that I really couldn’t give much of a shit that Ferrari has made an SUV. 

Ferrari was always going to make an SUV the moment it had shareholders to report to. It was as inevitable as Putin turning out to be a bit tricky.

To understand this strange ambivalence to the company that made the 250 SWB producing a truck, I suppose I should trawl back to the moment when other companies succumbed to the inevitable and gave the rich idiots of this world these weird cars. The first real shock was Porsche - or was it BMW? No, the X5 was pretty logical, the Cayenne was the more shocking because it came from a company with a comical legacy of refusing to change things on its cars. Never forget that a late ‘80s Porsche 911’s cabin was pretty much identical to one from the mid-70s. When it unveiled the Cayenne everyone was utterly flabbergasted by the fact Porsche had made a truck; and how baboon’s arse ugly it was. I still use a press shot of the V6 on small wheels (with the painted lower sills) to help my dog be sick when he’s eaten something rank. 

However, the unavoidable truth was that the Cayenne drove better than any SUV had done before and there was enough evidence of Porsche DNA about the thing for frothy purists like me to just about make the connection. And then there was the clever messaging around it - ‘if we don’t build this car, we won’t be able to spend all that cash developing the next GT3.’

That last bit was mostly true, but the same can’t quite be said of Ferrari whose business model for selling high-end sports cars is already the envy of all others. Ferrari was already making great money, the Purosangue will allow it to make even greater money.

Back to the Porsche - I suppose what I came to realise was that when confronted by a particular type of car that I didn’t especially like, I decided I’d dislike it less if it was built by Porsche. 

Ferrari now exists to please its shareholders, and the biggest cash-cow out there right presently is the super-SUV. A type of car so pointless, so overengineered and unlikely to ever use more than half of its ability, that you wonder if they don’t exist as a kind of covert marketing tool for Greenpeace. I just cannot justify them to anyone. 

But why shouldn’t Ferrari make an SUV? Its sports car department is miles ahead of the opposition, and as McLaren and Aston struggle with debt and miniscule sales, Ferrari marches on. Lamborghini is flogging plenty of Uruses, but hardly any sports cars. Will the existence of this thing have any effect on how good the next few prancing pony non-trucks are? Of course it won’t.

What do you think of it? I’m not especially sold on the looks - it reminds me of the Frankenstein home-builds I chucked together in my Lego youth. In this case a Roma bolted onto an off-road chassis. It seems roomy enough - even though in profile the bonnet is comically long. I suppose I just look at it like I do a football match or a £20k handbag, or Baileys Irish Cream or Meghan Markle. I can’t fathom any of them, but I can understand why other people might be able to. There is one nagging concern for me though - if I look at the Purosangue and then a picture of a GTC4 Lusso, the new SUV looks a bit ridiculous. Too high and too bulbous.

The market wants SUVs though, not stunning looking shooting brakes. I’m sure the Purosangue will drive like a demon, smash its way to nearly 200mph on the streets of Dubai and they will be worth £100k over list for many months. What I remain unsure of is whether Enzo is sitting on a cloud somewhere near Maranello wondering what has happened to the sports car company that bears his name. Or whether he’ll be bemused by what has happened to human beings that makes them want to buy such needlessly heavy and ugly machines. Either way, Ferrari is laughing all the way to the bank.