Is A Ferrari Still A Ferrari If It Has Four Doors? We Investigate

Robb Report heads to Italy for a debut dance with the most talked-about Ferrari to ever roll out of Maranello: the high-riding, four-doored V12 Purosangue.

By Andrew Chesterton 05/07/2023

“Enzo would turn in his grave.” Denials don’t come much more emphatic than that in the hallowed halls of Maranello, where Ferrari’s legendary founder is rightly revered as a cross between a company-wide father figure and a bona fide Italian saint.

The speaker was Ferrari design chief Flavio Manzoni, who, in 2015, was fielding persistent questions about when the famed Prancing Horse would turn its attention to a debut SUV. To the media asking the questions, it was a future that seemed inevitable. SUVs had already begun their cannibalisation of every other body shape and vehicle type. So much so that three years earlier, archrival Lamborghini had confirmed a high-riding performance car that would eventually be named the Urus.

So, would Ferrari be following suit?

“Never. It’s not within our DNA, and it’s not something we’re ever going to look at,” Manzoni said. “Ferrari is not a follower. We can’t make something just because it’s the normal trend. It wouldn’t be a Ferrari.”Fast-forward to 2023, and the Urus is now responsible for more than half of all of Lamborghini’s sales, delivering incredible levels of profitability—and unlocking a new, much bigger customer pool—through an SUV that enraged and excited in equal measure. Ferrari wasn’t going to let an SUV-shaped cash cow like that escape, surely?

The answer, we now know, is of course not. But if not an SUV, just what is this all-new Purosangue?

It’s the first high-riding Ferrari, and it’s the first fitted with four doors and four proper seats. And, as far as we know, it’s the only family-focused vehicle in existence that’s powered by a screaming naturally aspirated petrol V12 engine. But what it’s definitely not, says Ferrari, is an SUV.“When you talk about ‘SUV’, you’re talking about a category with existing characteristics. But we didn’t want to start from a category that already exists, and then have to take those characteristics as a starting point,” says Andrea Militello, Ferrari’s lead exterior designer, whose fingerprints are all over the Purosangue.

“Instead, we sat down and tried to understand the properties we want this car to achieve. And those properties were good comfort, a decent ride height to make sure that you can get virtually anywhere, and a very high level of performance. That’s Ferrari high, not regular-car high. Properly high performance. And then you mix all these things together. And we end up with the object you see today. One which is not born from ‘we want to make a Ferrari SUV’.”

That’s about the only time you’ll ever hear someone with a Prancing Horse on their business card mention that term, by the way. The letters “S”, “U” and “V”—at least when said in that order—have almost certainly been banned at Maranello, with the brand instead referring to it as an “FUV” (“F” for Ferrari).

But they could have easily swapped that first “S” for “Super”, with Ferrari shoehorning its best and most operatic engine into the Purosangue. Add to that a screaming red line of 8,250 rpm, a snarling exhaust note that you don’t just hear but genuinely feel too, and the kind of pulse-igniting acceleration you expect from any Ferrari fitted with a 12-cylinder nuclear warhead, and you’ve got a drive experience that feels like a ticketed event every time you press the engine start button.

It’s impossible to argue that Ferrari has made the wrong decision in making the Purosangue. It was sold out long before the brand had even put a vehicle on the road—and before anyone knew what it would look like, what would be powering it, or what it would cost. Though, to be fair, that last point is largely academic. Yes, the Purosangue lists in Australia at $728,000, before all on-road costs, but Ferrari says every Purosangue will go through its personalisation, Atelier and Tailor Made programs, meaning no two will be exactly the same, also adding significant cost to the advertised sticker price.

Making that number even more irrelevant is the fact that you can’t actually get one. Global wait times now exceed 18 months on average, and while the brand won’t be called on specifics, we’d expect new customers to be waiting years to put one on an Australian driveway. Helping slow deliveries is Ferrari’s policy of placing a production cap on the Purosangue, with the, ahem, SUV not to exceed 20 percent of the brand’s total production capacity.

While Porsche could now rightfully be considered the Cayenne company, and the Urus consumes most of Lambo’s total sales volume, Ferrari says it won’t ever become the company that used to make supercars. The Purosangue will only ever add to the brand’s sales total, not dominate it. Ferrari is holding triple-figure orders and expressions of interest in Australia, and though it’s not sure how many cars we’ll actually get, a lucky few should see their vehicle arriving before the end of the year.

Seeing the Purosangue in the metal in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains adds weight to Ferrari’s insistence that this isn’t a regular SUV; it looks more like a very expensive hot-hatch. It seems shorter in real life, more swollen, with an almost non-existent rear overhang emphasised by the big alloy wheel pushed deep into each corner.

Seating is for four only, and access to the back is through a pair of rear-hinged doors that open automatically with a gentle pull on the handle. The back pews are surprisingly comfy, and the area spacious, but there’s no doubting that the best seat in the house is the one that puts the naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12—producing a massive 533 kW and 716 Nm—at your disposal.

That power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, thanks to a compact and front-mounted power transfer unit that only calls the front tyres into action at slower speeds.

Engaging launch control is a joyously physical experience, as the Purosangue jolts down over its wheels, readying for maximum attack. Flatten your right foot, and 100 km/h arrives in 3.3 seconds, with 200 km/h flashing by in just over 10.

So far, so Ferrari. Same with the soundtrack which, when you’re dialled into the Purosangue’s angriest settings, sounds even better when you take over the gear shifts yourself, the machine-gun pop of the rev limiter (which only arrives at almost 9,000 rpm) filling the cabin as if you’ve driven through an active war zone.

Is it the sharpest Ferrari ever built? It can’t be, of course, and even its carbon-fibre roof can’t compensate for the two-tonne-plus weight here, but I promise you that the grip, the confidence-inspiring turn-in and the nifty rear-wheel steering, which helps tuck you neatly into corners, are constant reminders that there’s a tiny horse on the front of the bonnet, and a tonne of horsepower under it.

There are more clever things at play here, too. Like a new suspension system that replaces the need for anti-roll bars with adaptive dampers. Each corner has an electric actuator that can then individually stiffen or soften the suspension as required to keep the Purosangue flat through bends.

The Purosangue is a Ferrari that will be driven for longer spells, and with more people on board, than any other model before it, and that clever Active Suspension setup has been designed to stop you pulling your hair out when you’re commuting, or on less-than-ideal roads. It allows each drive mode to offer up two suspension settings—medium or soft—which transforms the Purosangue from roaring lion to gentle kitten on dodgier surfaces, or when you’re on a freeway.

Then there’s the insulation and inch-thick glass which do such a good job of removing not just road noise, but also the thrum from the engine and any whispers from the exhaust. As such, you can very easily forget you’re driving anything super at all. And that’s the point here, right? The Purosangue has to straddle two words—supercar and super comfy—and it does so with seriously impressive dexterity.

So, can an SUV-shaped vehicle—even one with a thumping V12 engine—be considered a real Ferrari? Some might say no. But they’re also the people Ferrari has very little interest in talking to.

“Those that are saying these kinds of things are those that will never buy one,” says Militello. “We’re not a big OEM, we don’t have millions of customers. We almost know ours by name. It’s very easy to understand their needs. They might not know what they want, but you can understand their needs. If you want to buy one, the best thing that can happen is that it will take two years. The worst is that they’ll tell you there’s no way. I think that shows that this works. Besides, how can you judge if something is a Ferrari or not? Only history will tell.”


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First Drive: The Porsche 911 S/T Is a Feral Beast That Handles the Road Like an Olympic Bobsledder

The commemorative model borrows underpinnings from the GT3 RS and includes a 518 hp engine.

By Basem Wasef 23/10/2023

The soul of any sports car comes down to the alchemy of its tuning—how the engine, suspension, and chassis blend into a chorus of sensations. The secret sauce of the new Porsche 911 S/T, developed as a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the brand’s flagship model, is more potent than most; in fact, it makes a serious case for being the most driver-focused 911 of all time.

Sharing the S/T designation with the homologation special from the 1960s, the (mostly) innocuously styled commemorative model borrows underpinnings from the more visually extroverted GT3 RS. Yet what the S/T, starting at $290,000, lacks in fender cutouts and massive spoilers it makes up for in directness: a flat-six power plant that revs to 9,000 rpm, a motorsport-derived double-wishbone suspension, and a manual gearbox. It’s a delightfully feral combination.

Rossen Gargolov

Whereas the automatic-transmission GT3 RS is ruthlessly configured for maximum downforce and minimum lap times, the S/T is dialed in for the road—particularly the Southern Italian ones on which we’re testing the car, which happen to be the very same used by product manager Uwe Braun, Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche’s GT line, and racing legend Walter Röhrl to finalize its calibration. The car reacts to throttle pressure with eerie deftness, spinning its 518 hp engine with thrilling immediacy, thanks to shorter gear ratios.

The steering response is similarly transparent, as direct as an unfiltered Marlboro, and the body follows with the agility of an Olympic bobsledder. Some of that purity of feeling is the result of addition through subtraction: Power-sapping elements including a hydraulic clutch and rear-axle steering were ditched, which also enabled the battery to be downsized for even more weight savings. The final result, with its carbon-fiber body panels, thinner glass, magnesium wheels, and reduced sound deadening, is the lightest 992-series variant on record, with roughly the same mass as the esteemed 911 R from 2016.

Driver engagement is further bolstered by the astounding crispness of the short-throw gearbox. The S/T fits hand in glove with narrow twisties and epic sweepers, or really any stretch that rewards mechanical grip and the ability to juke through hairpin corners. The cabin experience is slightly less raucous than the 911 R, but more raw than the wingless 911 GT3 Touring, with an intrusive clatter at idle due to the single-mass flywheel and featherlight clutch. Porsche cognoscenti will no doubt view the disturbance in the same way that hardcore Ducatisti revere the tambourine-like rattle of a traditional dry clutch: as an analog badge of honor.

The main bragging right, though, may just be owning one. In a nod to the year the 911 debuted, only 1,963 examples of the S/T will be built. Considering the seven-year-old 911 R started life at$295,000 and has since fetched upwards of $790,000, this new lightweight could bring proportionately heavy returns—if you can be pried from behind the wheel long enough to sell it, that is.

Images by Rossen Gargolov

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Gentlemanly Restraint 

Art and science collide in the the newly released BR03A watch collection by Bell & Ross.

By Belinda Aucott 02/11/2023

In keeping with the brand’s design salute to aviation and military equipment, the pared-back face of the Bell & Ross BR03 Automatic takes its cue from the instrumentation in cockpits. It’s unabashedly minimal and confidently masculine style is set to make it a future classic.

Faithful to the codes that underpin the brand’s identity, the new utilitarian offerings sit within a smaller 41-mm case (a slight departure from the original at 42 mm Diver, Chrono or GMT.) and has a reduced lug width and slimmer hands. The changes extend to the watch movement, which has been updated with a BR-CAL.302 calibre. The watch is waterproof to 300 metres and offers a power reserve of 54 hours.

While the new collection offers an elegant sufficiency of colourways, from a stealthy black to more decorative bronze face with a tan strap, each is a faithful rendition of the stylish “rounded square, four-screw” motif that is Bell & Ross’s calling card.



For extra slickness, the all-black Phantom and Nightlum models have a stealthy, secret-agent appeal, offering up a new take on masculine restraint.

Yet even the more decorative styles, like the black face with contrasting army-green band, feel eminently versatile and easy to wear. The 60’s simplicity and legibility of the face is what makes it so distinctive and functional.

For example, the BR 03-92 Nightlum, with its black matte case and dial, and bright green indices and hands, offers a great contrast during the day and emits useful luminosity at night.

A watch that begs to be read, the the BR03-A stands up to scrutiny, and looks just as good next to a crisp, white cuff as it does at the end of a matte, black wetsuit.

That’s a claim not many watch collections can make. 

Explore the collection.

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Timeless Glamour & Music Aboard The Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Lose yourself in a luxury journey, aboard an Art Deco train from Paris

By Belinda Aucott 03/11/2023

Watching the unseen corners of Europe unfold gently outside your train, window can be thirsty work, right? That’s why Belmond Hotels is once again staging a culinary train journey from Paris to Venice, aboard the glittering Art Deco carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient Express.

To celebrate diversity and inclusion in the LBTQ+ community, another unforgettable train ride is slated for 2 November.

On the journey, ample servings of decadent cuisine will be served and live entertainment will play looooong into the night. Trans-DJ Honey Dijon and Dresden’s Purple Disco Machine are both part of the disco-house line-up.

Passengers are encouraged to dress in black-tie or cocktail attire, before they head to the bar and dining carriages to enjoy their night, where they are promised ‘unapologetic extravagance’,.

Negronis, martinis, spritzes and sours will all be on offer as the sunlight fades.

So-hot-right-now French chef Jean Imbert is also in the kitchen rattling the pans for guests.

Imber puts a garden-green-goodness twist on Gallic traditions. He regularly cooks for the who’s-who. Imbert recently co-created a food concept for Dior in Paris, worked with Pharrell Williams to present a dinner in Miami, and he’s even been invited to Cheval Blanc St-Barth to cater luxe LVMH-owned property.

The young chef is vowing to create no less than ‘culinary perfection’ in motion with his own passion for fresh seasonal produce. There’ll be plenty of Beluga caviar, seared scallops, and lobster vol-au-vents.

“I want to create beautiful moments which complement the train, which is the true star,” says Imbert of his hands-on approach to delectable pastries and twists on elegant Euro classics.

“Its unique legacy is something we take pride in respecting, while evolving a new sense of style and purpose that will captivate a new generation.”

Check the timetable for the itinerary of lush inclusions here.

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From Electric Surfboards to Biodegradable Golf Balls: 8 Eco-Conscious Yacht Toys for Green and Clean Fun

Just add water and forget the eco-guilt.

By Gemma Harris 18/10/2023

Without toys, yachts would be kind of sedentary. There’s nothing wrong with an alfresco meal, sunsets on the flybridge and daily massages. But toys add zest to life on board, while creating a deeper connection with the water. These days, there are a growing number of options for eco-friendly gadgets and equipment that deliver a greener way to play. These eight toys range from do-it-yourself-propulsion (waterborne fitness bikes) to electric foiling boards, from kayaks made of 100 percent recycled plastics to non-toxic, biodegradable golf balls with fish food inside. Your on-water adrenaline rushes don’t always have to be about noise and gas fumes. They can be fun, silent, and eco-conscious.

A game of golf isn’t just for land. Guests can play their best handicap from the deck with Albus Golf’s eco-friendly golf balls. The ecological and biodegradable golf balls are 100 percent safe for marine flora and fauna, and manufactured with non-contaminating materials. The balls will biodegrade within 48 hours after hitting the ocean and release the fish food contained in their core. For a complete golfing experience, add a floating FunAir green. From $3100 (FunAir Yacht Golf) and $315 a box (golf balls).

Fliteboard Series 2.0

The future of surf is electric, and Fliteboard offers an emissions-free and environmentally friendly electric hydrofoil. Flying over the water has never been as efficient and low impact, using new technologies with less than 750 watts of electric power. This second series boasts various performance factors for all riding styles. It also features an increased trigger range from 20 to 40 degrees for more precision and control. Fliteboard designed this series for every possible foiling ability, from newbies to wave-carvers. From $22,000.

Manta 5 Hydrofoiler XE-1

Hailing from New Zealand and using America’s Cup technology, Manta 5 offers the first hydrofoil bike. The Hydrofoiler XE-1 replicates the cycling experience on the water. Powered by fitness-level pedaling and assisted by the onboard battery, top speeds can reach up to 19 km per hour. The two hydrofoils are carbon fibre, and the frame is aircraft-grade aluminium. The onboard Garmin computer will relay all the stats. The effortless gliding sensation will accompany you through a workout, exploration or just circling the boat. From $950.

Mo-Jet’s Jet Board

Imagine five toys in one: The Mo Jet delivers just that. From jet surfing, bodyboarding, and e-foiling to scooter diving. This versatile, German-built toy is perfect for those who cannot decide. The Mo-jet uses a cool modular system allowing you to switch between activities. Whether you want to stand, be dragged around or dive, you can have it all. It even has a life-saving module and a 2.8m rescue electric surfboard. Made from environmentally friendly and recyclable polyethene, it also ticks the eco-conscious boxes. Complete with an 11kW electric water jet, it charges in 75 mins, offering up to 30 mins of fun. Adrenaline junkies will also not be disappointed, since speed surges from 0 to 27 knots in 3 seconds. From $18,000.

Silent Yachts Tender ST400

Driven by innovation and solar energy, Silent Yachts recently launched its first electric tender, the ST400. The 13-footer has clean-cut lines and is built with either an electric jet drive or a conventional electric outboard engine. The ST400 reaches speeds above 20 knots. From $110,000.

Osiris Outdoor ‘Reprisal’ Kayak

Kayaks are ideal for preserving and protecting nature, but they’re usually manufactured with materials that will last decades longer than we will and therefore not too eco-friendly. Founded by US outdoor enthusiasts, Osiris Outdoor has created a new type of personal boat. “The Reprisal” kayak is manufactured in the US entirely from recycled plastics (around 27 kgs) that are purchased from recycling facilities. The sustainable manufacturing process isn’t its only selling point; the lightweight Reprisals have spacious storage compartments, rod holders and a watertight hatch for gadgets. Complete with a matte-black finish for a stylish look. From $1100.

The Fanatic Ray Eco SUP Paddleboard

Declared as the most sustainable SUP, the Ray Eco is the brainchild of the Zero Emissions Project and BoardLab, supported by Fanatic. Glass and carbon fibre have been replaced with sustainable Kiri tree wood. And you can forget toxic varnishes and resins; organic linseed oil has been used to seal the board and maintain its durability. This fast, light, and stable board is truly one of a kind, not available off the rack. This craftsman’s love for detail and preservation is another first-class quality of the board. From $10,000

Northern Light Composite X Clean Sailors EcoOptimist

One of the most popular, single-handed dinghies in sailing’s history, the tiny Optimist has undergone a sustainable revival. Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors have teamed up to launch the first sustainable and recyclable Optimist. Using natural fibres and eco-sustainable resins, The EcoOptimist supports a new circular economy in yachting. OneSail also produces the sail with a low-carbon-footprint manufacturing process. From $6000.

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The 50 Best Cocktail Bars in the World, According to a New Ranking

The World’s 50 Best organisation gave the Spanish bar Sips top honours during an awards ceremony in Singapore.

By Tori Latham 18/10/2023

If you’re looking for the best bar in the world, you better head to Barcelona.
Sips, from the industry luminaries Simone Caporale and Marc Álvarez, was named the No. 1 bar on the planet in the latest World’s 50 Best Bars ranking. The organisation held its annual awards ceremony on Tuesday in Singapore, the first time it hosted the gathering in Asia. Sips, which only opened two years ago, moved up to the top spot from No. 3 last year.
“Sips was destined for greatness even before it rocketed into the list at No. 37 just a few short months after opening in 2021,” William Drew, the director of content for 50 Best, said in a statement.
“The bar seamlessly translates contemporary innovation and technical precision into a playful cocktail programme, accompanied by the warmest hospitality, making it a worthy winner of The World’s Best Bar 2023 title.”
Coming in second was North America’s best bar: New York City’s Double Chicken Please. The top five was rounded out by Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy, Barcelona’s Paradiso (last year’s No. 1), and London’s Connaught Bar. The highest new entry was Seoul’s Zest at No. 18, while the highest climber was Oslo’s Himkok, which moved up to No. 10 from No. 43 last year.
Barcelona may be home to two of the top five bars, but London has cemented its status as the cocktail capital of the world: The English city had five bars make the list, more than any other town represented. Along with Connaught Bar in the top five, Tayēr + Elementary came in at No. 8, and Satan’s Whiskers (No. 28), A Bar With Shapes for a Name (No. 35), and Scarfes Bar (No. 41) all made the grade too.
The United States similarly had a good showing this year. New York City, in particular, is home to a number of the best bars: Overstory (No. 17) and Katana Kitten (No. 27) joined Double Chicken Please on the list.
Elsewhere, Miami’s Café La Trova hit No. 24 and New Orleans’s Jewel of the South snuck in at No. 49, bringing the Big Easy back to the ranking for the first time since 2014.
To celebrate their accomplishments, all of this year’s winners deserve a drink—made by somebody else at least just this once.
Check out the full list of the 50 best bars in the world below.
1. Sips, Barcelona
2. Double Chicken Please, New York
3. Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City
4. Paradiso, Barcelona
5. Connaught Bar, London
6. Little Red Door, Paris
7. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
8. Tayēr + Elementary, London
9. Alquímico, Cartagena
10. Himkok, Oslo
11. Tres Monos, Buenos Aires
12. Line, Athens
13. BKK Social Club, Bangkok
14. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
15. Maybe Sammy, Sydney
16. Salmon Guru, Madrid
17. Overstory, New York
18. Zest, Seoul
19. Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, Bangkok
20. Coa, Hong Kong
21. Drink Kong, Rome
22. Hanky Panky, Mexico City
23. Caretaker’s Cottage, Melbourne
24. Café La Trova, Miami
25. Baba au Rum, Athens
26. CoChinChina, Buenos Aires
27. Katana Kitten, New York
28. Satan’s Whiskers, London
29. Wax On, Berlin
30. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
31. Röda Huset, Stockholm
32. Sago House, Singapore
33. Freni e Frizioni, Rome
34. Argo, Hong Kong
35. A Bar With Shapes for a Name, London
36. The SG Club, Tokyo
37. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
38. The Cambridge Public House, Paris
39. Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
40. Mimi Kakushi, Dubai
41. Scarfes Bar, London
42. 1930, Milan
43. Carnaval, Lima
44. L’Antiquario, Naples
45. Baltra Bar, Mexico City
46. Locale Firenze, Florence
47. The Clumsies, Athens
48. Atlas, Singapore
49. Jewel of the South, New Orleans
50. Galaxy Bar, Dubai

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