Ferrari’s first SUV is a step closer with a prototype having been seen, briefly, at the Maranello HQ. The Ferrari test mule looks like a heavily mutated Maserati Levante, the prototype with an elongated nose and a massive bonnet bulge, likely necessary to house the company’s V12 engine.
Clearly Ferrari wants its SUV to have a significant point of difference from the V8-powered competition. The SUV will be fast, but Ferrari will want to give its Prancing Clydesdale class-leading dynamics and the tester sits low, as if the springs have been chopped by some backyard mechanic. And the pinocchio nose suggests Ferrari will mount the engine behind the axle line, like its proper GT cars.
The SUV will push Ferrari into a new market space. It’s late to the party, with most major players having a high rider in the mix. Everyone pooh-poohed the Porsche Cayenne but it was the saviour of the company, and the profits from the trucks help fund the GT cars and race programmes.
The Ferrari SUV will be one of the 15 new models planned to drop by 2023. Ferrari is using two separate platforms for the new models, one for the mid-engined sports cars and a scalable front-engined architecture for the GTs, including the SUV. The Italian has said its new 4×4 will offer a different take on the theme compared with existing competitors. We not quite sure what that means but the unique platform will allow Ferrari to produce a model with a comfy, spacious and luxurious cabin coupled with dynamics and performance appropriate for the brand.
It’s perhaps a reference to the fact many key competitors all spring from one VW platform. Ferrari’s GT architecture will be able to accommodate six-, eight- and 12-cylinder engines, as well as hybrid tech. A transaxle gearbox features to improve weight distribution, and both rear- and all-wheel drive are possibilities.
You can expect the Ferrari high rider to have the most ground clearance of any Maranello machine yet, but don’t expect Range Rover ability off piste. More likely is adjustable air suspension, active roll control, and rear-wheel steer for ultimate on-road prowess.
A plug-in hybrid powertrain would be deemed mandatory given tightening emissions laws in Europe at least. You’d imagine it would need genuine presence, so expect it to be over 5m in length, like the DBX, and for it to offer a four-seater interior.
Enzo Ferrari once said; “the client is not always right” and yet despite what Ferrari has previously said about building an SUV, it looks like it too will finally bend the knee to the popular category. Ferrari has announced it will not replace its four-seater, grand-tourer, the GTC4 Lusso, so one must assume this is in anticipation of the 2022 arrival of the SUV, dubbed Purosangue.
No photos or sketches have yet been seen so we can only guess what the SUV will look like, but I’ve taken inspiration from Ferrari’s current GT cars and added some styling cues that I see being used in years to come. The Purosangue on the left takes elements from the 812, GTC4 Lusso and the Portofino.
It has a classic large front grille and slats, aggressive rocker panel to enhance a lower side profile and a large rear wing. The headlights carry a ‘strip’ DRL light as seen on the limited Monza SP cars and also on the new Roma. For the Purosangue above, I’ve based its styling on the Roma’s clean and simple lines with DRLs that are becoming a Ferrari trademark treatment.
The front grille and lower bumper/splitter also resembles the Roma’s. Flush door handles keep the side look sleek and clean. Minimal front and rear overhangs help disguise the true size of the SUV and each design also carries a low ‘coupe’ profile, like that of a Lamborghini Urus or Porsche Cayenne Coupe.
Expect the interior to be driver focused with high-grade Italian leather and plenty of carbon fibre. The steering wheel will likely be awash with F1-style buttons, including an engine starter. The cabin should feature touch screen controls for all passengers, including in the rear.
This should not spell the end for the prancing horse, SUVs introduced by luxury brands over on the right have helped strengthen the company’s profits. Perhaps in this instance the customer might be right.