Just Don't Call it an SUV

by Li Haohan
Photos courtesy of Ferrari
14 Nov 2022

Purosangue may be a controversial new addition to Ferrari’s long line of stunning output, but the concept’s history with the luxury carmaker goes back a long way.

High off the ground, with four doors and four seats, Purosangue is atypical for a Ferrari production. Naturally, the announcement that its prototype was under development dominated discussions among motoring aficionados.

Enrico Galliera, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Ferrari

Was Ferrari going into the SUV market the way the others have? The issue has been a hot button within the company for years, confirms Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s chief marketing and commercial officer, but the answer had always been no.

However, four years ago, that decision was reversed with the realization that the technology was on hand to create a four-door, four-seater automobile that behaved like a sports car.

“This kind of car has always been connected to our history, and people knew about it,” Galliera emphasizes. “When our founder, Enzo Ferrari, created the company, he was driving a two-plus-two — a four-seater — which was his preferred car.

“What is lesser known,” he adds, “because it's a small part of the Ferrari history, is that in the ‘60s, Pinin Farina, who was then our designer, proposed a design for a four-door car — a concept car that was eventually built and even presented at a motor show.”

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Nascent Technology

Among the reasons that prevented the production of the said concept car were weight, distance between the wheels, and ‘drivability’. “So, although they decided to stop the project, Ferrari’s link to a four-door car was already established.”

Technology has led Ferrari to revisit the concept, a car with the said dimension and ability to perform like a sports car. “This is a sports car like any other Ferrari sports car,” Galliera says emphatically. “The only difference is that it has more versatility – a four-wheel drive, more space on board – four seats, and more comfort – four doors that help ease getting into or out of the vehicle.”

Purosangue, whose name is Italian for thoroughbred, is not an SUV with an engine of a sports car, Galliera reiterates. “When you are sitting in the car, the position of the driving and the connection to the ground feel like (those of) a sports car.”

“We developed a new concept. We believe and hope that the public understands there's no similar car in the market.”

While it’s still early to predict further developments towards the same direction as Purosangue, Galliera stresses that they “decided to enter the segment to stay in the segment — it’s not going to be a one-off”. He confirms, however, that for Ferrari the four-door, four-seat will become a new segment in the range.


Dedicated Components

Ferrari went through a long list of available technologies that would suit Purosangue, foremost among which is the active suspension system. A proprietary, patented technology, it helps the car to remain extremely stable and connected to the ground. Thus, cornering or driving on a bumpy road, for instance, despite the height of the vehicle, becomes smoother.

The said system is predictive; it can anticipate the reaction of the vehicle and automatically compensate it for enhanced stability. “It behaves like a sports car, a low car,” Galliera points out. He also shares that the system, which was developed for Purosangue, may eventually find application in other models.

Another element that makes Purosangue special derives from Ferrari’s approach to developing parts and components specific to a model. Many companies today develop a single chassis for use in different models or even brands, observes Galliera – a strategy that is largely driven by efficiency goals.

“For Purosangue, we decided to develop a dedicated chassis.” It is a small yet costly decision, but one that improves the performance of the vehicle. “If we can use (the chassis) on other models later on — good, but that is just a side benefit.”

Design is another area for innovation in Purosangue. When its ‘welcome doors’ (designed like double doors) are open, the ample interiors can be better appreciated. “There is a design reason, but also a technical one,” Galliera says.

In Purosangue, the distance between the front and rear wheels is a shorter, making the car more compact and sporty particularly when driving. By installing the welcome doors, accessibility issues are resolved despite the shorter wheelbase.


Fulfilling Desires

“I’ve visited some of our clients’ garages,” relates Galliera, “and I’ve seen amazing car collections on display – a lot of Ferraris from different years, from extreme sports car to limited series models.”

But whenever they reached the end of the tour, Galliera noticed that his clients would “get a little nervous”. Parked in some corner of those garages would be a big car from another manufacturer, and the clients would start giving excuses for them like they can’t take their family in their Ferraris. “There is definitely something that our clients desire that we don’t offer,” Galliera concludes.

“We bear a simple statement in mind as we develop our product strategy: We need to develop Ferraris that are different for different clients – maybe you prefer to drive an extreme sports car, while she prefers an elegant GT. So, every car should fit with the client’s profile.”

The second part of that strategy is ‘Different Ferrari for different moment’. “This means that if you own a Ferrari, it may not necessarily answer all your needs. Maybe you want to go out by yourself to have fun today, or maybe you want to go out with your family. So, every single model should fit with a different moment of driving,” Galliera explains.

“We were missing this segment of driving with the family,” he admits. “We did have space and comfort – the GTC4Lusso and the FF that we did in the past delivered space on board and great performance, but the accessibility, because of the two doors, was not at the point where clients would like them.”

With Purosangue, yet another client’s desire will possibly find fulfilment. “The concept of a four-seater, four-door is already in the history of the company. Our founders had been working on it and it was already there.” Motoring aficionados will surely hope that it won’t be long before they – with their passengers on board – share another distinct driving experience.