Weekend Drive by Hormazd Sorabjee: A new Italian stallion

Mar 17, 2023 10:49 PM IST

Ferrari’s first four-door, four-seater car, the all-new Purosangue, seems like it was made for India

Say hello to the all-new Purosangue (poore-oh-sang-way). A tongue twister of a name, it means “thoroughbred” in Italian. True to its pedigree, Ferrari has kept the fundamentals of this hallowed brand intact, despite breaking a few traditions. It’s the first four door Ferrari in history and comes with an SUV-like ground clearance.

The Purosangue is comfortable, spacious and high enough above the ground to suit India’s inconsistent roads.
The Purosangue is comfortable, spacious and high enough above the ground to suit India’s inconsistent roads.

But calling the Purosangue an SUV is blasphemous (for Ferrari). It’s a radical departure from the SUV template followed by Lamborghini, Porsche and Aston Martin and is more of a high-riding coupe.

Ferrari may have stepped out of its comfort zone by jacking up the ride height and adding an extra pair of doors, but this has unwittingly made the Purosangue the perfect Ferrari for India. Let’s start with the 185mm ground clearance which makes it an everywhere car, not just one for curated drives on hard-to-find smooth roads.

What’s unique are the Purosangue’s rear-hinged doors, which open wide. (Remember your granddad’s Fiat?) This makes getting in and out easy for rear passengers who don’t have to stretch out to shut the door. That job is done with the press of a button.

The place to be in any Ferrari is the driver’s seat, and the Purosangue’s cockpit is certainly the business. From the elevated driving position, you can see well beyond the long bonnet. The chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel is great to grip but is overloaded with controls.

The instrument cluster is fully digital, with a configurable screen. You can switch between a navigation screen and the instrument panel, which has large rev counter in the centre. The Purosangue doesn’t come with in-built navigation; Ferrari believes there’s no point in competing with Google Maps, which can be mirrored via your phone.

The cockpit lets the driver see well beyond the bonnet. the flat-bottomed steering wheel is great to grip.
The cockpit lets the driver see well beyond the bonnet. the flat-bottomed steering wheel is great to grip.

At the heart of the Purosangue is nothing less than a 715hp 6.5 litre V12, which is an absolute jewel. It’s pretty muted at low revs and Ferrari say it’s their quietest engine, giving the all-weather Purosangue strong touring credentials.

There’s loads of grunt at low revs and all it takes is a hard prod of the throttle to transform this happy cruiser into a cruise missile. Keep your right foot pinned to the floor and the Purosangue rockets forward with all the drama and thrill only a V12 can deliver. A deep roar crescendos to a high-pitched howl as the engine races to the 8,250rpm rev limiter. Supercar levels of acceleration mean you hit serious speeds in a flash, and the claimed time of 0-100kph in 3.3s is entirely believable, as is the top speed of 310kph.

The Purosangue is a big car and it takes a few kilometres on narrow, icy Italian mountain roads to adjust to its size and power. But in no time, I find myself digging hard into the Purosangue’s dynamics, revelling in the car’s perfect balance and agility. The way you can pivot the Purosangue around tight hairpin corners makes you forget that this is a high-riding 2-ton car. Like the engine, the steering feel is also more linear than other Ferraris, which gives the Purosangue a predictability that drivers will appreciate. It’s the more measured character of the Purosangue, which isn’t as high strung as some of Ferrari’s hardcore sports cars, which owners and their families might appreciate. Yet, it isn’t short on thrills.

And it’s not short on price either. With all taxes and duties paid, you’re looking at a price north of 6 crore, if you get an allotment for one.

Worth it? There’s never been a Ferrari like this. Comfortable, spacious and suited to Indian roads. If anything, buy it just for that fabulous V12 to savour internal combustion at its best.


    Hormazd Sorabjee is one of the most senior and much loved auto journalists in India, and is the editor of Autocar India.

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