Maranello - About a year ago Ferrari announced that it would bow to market pressures by introducing its first SUV-like vehicle, much to the ire of dyed-in-the-wool Ferrari fans. 

But if the latest mumblings from within Ferrari are anything to go by, then the newcomer, which is codenamed Purosangue, might not be as radical a departure from the stable as had been originally feared.

In a recent interview with Autocar, Ferrari tech chief Michael Leiters said: “I think we’ve found a concept and a package which is on one side a real SUV and will convince SUV customers to buy it, but on the other side there’s a huge differentiation of concept to existing SUVs.”

However, he did admit that entering this segment is proving to be a challenge from an engineering perspective: 

“We always have very, very sharp positioning. It helps to develop cars in a certain, focused manner and easily decide certain trade-offs. The trade-off decision is totally different for us here. We will have totally new engineering challenges,” Leiters added.

Getting back to the “huge differentiation of concept to existing SUVs”, the high-riding Ferrari will at least stand apart from other ‘sports SUV’ contenders by being based around a genuine Ferrari sports car architecture. The Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne, on the other hand, use a common architecture shared with other VW Group luxury vehicles.

In future Ferrari will have just two vehicle architectures, according to Autocar - one for thoroughbred mid-engined supercars, and another for front-engined GT cars, such as the 812 and GTC models. The latter platform would be a logical fit for the Ferrari SUV, and its scalable nature will allow for genuine four-seat practicality.

When announcing the company’s future plans last year, Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri admitted that he had been a little sceptical when the concept of an SUV was first proposed by the board, but then added "Having now seen the wonderful design concept, the extraordinary features ... I am a hugely enthusiastic supporter."

While it is not known exactly what powertrains will be available in the Purosangue, it is widely believed that the new SUV will be offered with the company’s new plug-in-hybrid system that made its debut in the new SF90. Here we see a turbocharged V8 engine mated to three electric motors for a total system output of 736kW. It remains to be seen whether this same combination will be offered in the Purosangue, but with Ferrari having also announced that it is working on a new six-cylinder engine, it would be a good bet that the smaller motor would also form part of the mix.

IOL Motoring