Ferrari has revealed the Purosangue, insisting it's not an SUV. Jeep is bringing its first all-electric models to the UK, Ford has revealed its E-Transit Custom and BMW is pushing ahead in the circular economy.
Prancing Horse adorns an SUV for the first time
If it’s not supercars or hypercars, it’s yet another SUV, but in our latest news review we have a supercar SUV. Ferrari doesn’t like its new Purosangue being called an SUV though, it prefers us to call it a “four-door, four-seater car” but come on Maranello, it’s an SUV. Maybe we will accept calling it a crossover, a big crossover with a 6.5-litre V12 that pushes out 725hp and which Ferrari says can hit 62mph in just 3.3 seconds.
The Purosangue has been a long time coming, so long it feels like we should have seen it long ago already but Ferrari wanted to get this one right. For many years it said it would never make an SUV and technically it will argue that it still hasn’t, but semantics aside, the Purosangue is a 2+2 with the back seats accessed via rear hinged doors.
It continues a design language that started with the Roma and 296 GTB, but there are clear echoes of the GTC4Lusso in the profile and the long bonnet. There’s a coupe-like look to it all too with a sloping carbon fibre roof leading to a dramatic and sporty rear. Inside it’s all modern Ferrari with tech meeting traditional materials. There’s more emphasis than ever on the separate driver and front passenger sections, each faced by a high, curved dashboard element containing either digital instrumentation or, for the passenger, an infotainment touchscreen.
Those sat in the back have two individual sports bucket seats, separated by a high centre armrest. The bases of the seats are low and sculpted and presumably comfortable, although they look less so in the images. Behind those is enough boot space for the tailored family luggage.
Beneath that long bonnet sits the V12, an evolution of Maranello’s existing unit that produces 725hp to surpass the Aston Martin DBX707 as the most powerful production SUV available. Peak power is reached at 7,750rpm with the peak torque of 716Nm coming in at 6,250rpm. That’s all channelled through an eight-speed dual clutch gearbox with paddle shifters on the steering wheel to control not just the power, but also the sound that emanates from the V12 and exhaust combination.
Like most modern Ferraris, there’s plenty of engineering and tech wizardry under the skin too. This includes active suspension with a True Active Spool Valve System, Side Slip Control, a brake-by-wire system, a host of electronic safety systems and good old all-wheel drive with rear-wheel steering added on.
Ferrari claims the Purosangue will drive like any other Ferrari sports car, engineered to deliver maximum driver enjoyment in the corners or on the track while also being able to ferry the kids to school. It’s been designed to offer enough comfort to be able to undertake long-distance trips too, presumably to your Alpine lodge or the Cote d’Azur. There will even be a range of accessories, although no word yet on a Scuderia Ferrari F1 rooftop tent.
There will be those who think it’s all a bit silly, others who will say Enzo Ferrari will be rolling in his grave, but just as in Enzo’s day, Ferrari road cars are sold to make money to fund the company’s motor racing. Perhaps less so today thanks to the New York Stock Exchange listing and subsequent shareholders, but the point is that making an SUV, even one we are not supposed to call an SUV, is a business decision in a world of SUVs. It worked for Porsche, Lamborghini seems to be doing okay with its Urus and Bentley is churning out Bentaygas. It is what it is, besides, it has a stonking V12 beneath the bonnet and how much longer are we going to be able to celebrate that?
Bentley has launched its Flying Spur Speed, billed as one of the last models to feature the brand’s superb W12 engine. It will have all the luxury you expect of the latest Flying Spur, but with 635hp and 900Nm of torque, it boasts 85 more horses than the Flying Spur S and can hit 60mph 0.4 seconds quicker in 3.7 seconds.
Now back to SUVs
Coming a bit more down to earth but back to the SUV genre, Nissan has revealed its new X-Trail. Sitting on the same CMF-C platform as the Qashqai, prices for the X-Trail will start at £32,030 when it arrives in the UK next month. It will feature electrification across the range through Nissan’s E-Power system that is essentially a hybrid drivetrain. This includes an electric motor on the front axle which receives power from a 205hp 1.5-litre petrol engine. There will also be an all-wheel drive model which adds another electric motor at the rear bumping the overall power up to 213hp but providing electronic all-wheel drive rather than a mechanical set-up.
Styling continues the theme introduced on the latest Qashqai, but of course the X-Trail is larger including up to seven seats. Inside Nissan says it has created a more premium look and feel with high quality materials and switches. It also says accessing the third row of seats is easier than ever, but we’ll get back to you on that after we have tried it for ourselves. There’s more tech in the form of a 12.3-inch instrumentation display and another for the infotainment system, as well as a 10.8-inch head-up display. It has Nissan Connect with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa as well as a range of safety systems and some elements of Nissan’s ProPilot driver assistance package.
Meanwhile over in the US of A, Jeep has announced its electrification plans including four new all-electric SUVs for Europe. So far Jeep has only offered plug-in hybrid models to satisfy those seeking an electrified Jeep, but now it’s going taking to the electric highway and first up is the Jeep Avenger, not to be confused with the Dodge Avenger which was killed off a few years ago. The Avenger is due to go on sale here in 2023 and Jeep is claiming a range of up to 248 miles on a charge. It looks set to be followed by the new Wagoneer S electric which could be more premium than the Grand Cherokee and a potential rival for the new Cadillac Lyriq which is coming to the UK next year.
With electrification comes sustainability and BMW has revealed its strategy when it comes to next generation battery technology and sustainable materials. We travelled to Munich to get a look at what it has planned and discovered you can make all sorts of things from plant fibres and you can even knit seat material out of recycled bits of rope and fishing nets. BMW is even growing leather-look seat material in a lab from bacteria. Yes it sounded a bit icky to us too but it’s very clever stuff and part of a plan that will include genuine vegan interiors for BMW and Mini in 2023.
Beyond that, BMW says it wants its models to contain 50% secondary materials, BMW speak for recycled. It’s all about the circular economy, something the team at Car.co.uk are all about and you’ll be hearing more about it in the coming months here. Currently BMW says it already has 30% secondary materials in its cars, from steel to textiles but it wants to do even more with Kerstin Meerwaldt, head of sustainability customer experience, brand and markets at BMW telling us that “360-degree sustainability means more than just building electric vehicles.” There’s lots to tell, but we’ve promised to keep quiet a little while longer so we’re afraid you’ll have to wait a bit more.
Finally some news on Britain’s favourite van, the Ford Transit. After the blue oval released its electric big Transit, now comes the E-Transit Custom complete with a 74kWh battery pack offering 100kW or 160kW, 415Nm of torque and a range of up to 236 miles.
Ford claims the new E-Transit Custom will still offer a 1,100kg payload and can tow up to 2,000kg plus it can charge from 15-80% in 41 minutes on a 125kW DC charger. To fit with this tech, the E-Transit has a cool new look with a unique grille and front lighting, plus it gets a 5G modem for advanced connectivity and some clever practical touches. This includes our favourite feature, a tilting steering wheel that can be used as a table. Now white van man can really get with the cool kids.
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