Do not be disappointed to learn that this is the least exciting Ferrari to drive of the modern era, for the truth is it would need to defy physical law for it be anything else. This is not just the heaviest Ferrari ever made, but is so by a massive margin, weighing fully one quarter of a tonne more than the closest thing it has to a predecessor, the GTC4 Lusso.
Moreover, the V12 becomes something of a curate’s egg in this application. You probably don’t need me to remind you that it is one of the world’s greatest engines, providing as good a reason as anyone ever needed to buy an Enzo, an F12, an 812, a LaFerrari and so on and on. It is an overtly, fabulously sporting engine installed in a range of overtly, fabulously sporting cars. And for all its many strengths, the Purosangue is not that. What a family car of near 2.2 tonne heft needs more than anything is low-down torque and despite many modifications aimed at achieving precisely that, it is what the Purosangue lacks. A Porsche Cayenne Turbo, for example, develops more torque at 2,000rpm than the Purosangue does at its 6,250rpm peak.
When it is on song, the V12 delivers a richness and a texture to the driving experience that no turbo V8 – the go-to choice of almost all high-powered SUVs – can approach. Working in conjunction with its flawless eight-speed double-clutch gearbox, rousing performance can be achieved accompanied by the kind of soundtrack only Italian V12s appear able to produce. As an occasional party piece, it is a spectacular piece of theatre, but it is perhaps worth noting that if Ferrari did no more than transplant wholesale the turbo hybrid 296 GTB powertrain, with half the cylinders and less than half the capacity, the car would gain over 100 additional horsepower, a commensurate amount of additional torque, but low down in the rev range and some rather more respectable mpg and CO2 figures.
But the chassis is a triumph and, unlike the powertrain, was born for a car like the Purosangue. The ride quality for a car of this potential is exceptional and in almost all road conditions you want to leave the manettino with the suspension set to soft. Medium gives you a little additional roll control for only a small downgrade in comfort but the hardest setting would only be worth it on really fast, smooth roads or, more likely, a race track. Accurate steering means the car can be driven with great precision, essential for one this wide, and while there’s not much steering feel, that is to be expected from a car of this size and mass