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Some like it hot by Michaela Cordes | 31st May, 2024 | Travel

It’s the first supercar by Ferrari with four doors and four seats. GG had the pleasure to test drive the new Purosangue in New Zealand. A road trip from Taupo to Wellington, through the homeland of the Hobbits. A sensual driving experience and the myth behind a legendary brand.

A fabulous tour through a mythical landscape. GG was invited to drive a Purosangue in Rosso Portofino 700 km from Taupo to Wellington.
Travels through Middle-earth. New Zealand, where the “Lord of the Rings” was filmed, has five sheep to each one of its five million inhabitants.
or this unique oportunity I took a trip to the other side of the world. After my 24-hour flight via Singapore to Auckland, I arrive at the Golfhotel Kingloch Manor hotel with a spectacular view over Lake Taupo. Its the biggest in the country and locals compare its imposing size with Singapore. In front of the hotel entrance, five Ferrari Purosangue vehicles catch my eye. In Rosso Portofino and Blu Corsa, their colors glisten freshly washed in the sun. The car, I have been told, is a small sensation. The first Ferrari model with four doors and four comfortable seats. A thoroughbred Ferrari for everyday use – and so coveted it’s already sold out until the next delivery in 2026.

I am surrounded by vast green meadows and endless fields as far as the eye can see. If I didn’t know better, this landscape around Lake Taupo – where no more than 42,000 people live – could pass for the Scottish Highlands. The sky seems moody – and is shifting from blue and sunny patches to thick gray rain clouds. A Ferrari employee appears and passionately polishes all the cars to a high gloss. I am the only woman invited to the second part of Ferrari’s New Zealand Grand Tour. While it used to be mainly men who were madly in love with the sportcars of the legendary Italian sportcar manufacturer, the female fan base is catching up dynamically worldwide. Ferrari does not publicly discuss its customers, but in August of last year, the South China Morning Post and Bloomberg both reported that 25 percent of new and used Ferraris in China were being sold to women. This means that today in China, every fourth Ferrari is bought by a woman!

Driving 700 kilometers from Taupo via Hastings to Wellington at the southern tip of North Island in New Zealand – that’s what’s on our agenda for the next few days. Before dinner, we get to know the Ferrari team in Maranello, Italy, via a live call and receive a briefing for the tour. They are visibly proud of their finished masterpiece. And even though the press has repeatedly called their new supercar an SUV, none of the journalists present dares to use that term. No wonder – when asked about the beginning boom ten years ago and whether Ferrari would now also develop a sports utility vehicle, Chief Design Officer ­Flavio ­Manzoni declared at the time, “Never! Enzo Ferrari would turn in his grave.” Nevertheless, Ferrari went ahead and developed a car that combines their famous sports car spirit with the comfort for every day, but without making any compromises. Only now, they all explain, Ferrari is ready to present a ­supercar that meets all these requirements. This is mainly due to the Active Suspension System, the new chassis, and a V12 naturally aspirated engine which, entirely new, serves as a front-mid-engine for a unique ­driving experience and stands out from the market thanks to its performance and comfort. This iconic engine from Maranello is being used for the first time in this completely new construction to ensure that the vehicle delivers more power than any other model in this segment, 533 kilowatt ­(725 ­horsepower), to the road while guaranteeing the iconic Ferrari sound. The Purosangue is a thoroughbred Ferrari – one that both men and women should enjoy – a supercar for the whole family.

The next morning, the time has finally come, and we get to try out what has been so extensively described to us. It’s the moment I’ve been looking forward to like a little child: I slip into the driver’s seat of the Purosangue. Just the feeling of getting into a Ferrari is a sensual experience and makes my heart skip a beat. I look around and get comfortable inspecting the cockpit. Ferrari states that the Purosangue was developed with nearly 85% sustainably produced raw materials. The fabric roof lining of the car is made from recycled polyester, the carpet from polyamide recycled from fishing nets. The seats look like leather but are actually made from a newly developed Alcantara, which is also sourced from recycled polyester. Ferrari Purosangue is the world’s first car to use this extraordinary version of Alcantara made from 68% recycled post-consumer polyester. In order to successfully use it, the brand had to obtain a Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) certification from ICEA. Another special feature of the Purosangue cockpit is the generous co-pilot display, where the passenger can share in the unique Ferrari experience. To put my bag on the rear seats, I pull the flat button under the window on the outside rear door, and the so-called “welcome door” opens automatically, contrary to the way car doors usually open. Ferrari affectionately calls the two rear doors the “hugging doors.” The Purosangue is also the first Ferrari with a tailgate and fold-down rear seats – and thus the largest trunk in the Italian racing stable. I start the engine and hear the deep roar of the V12 engine, which is as legendary to the Ferrari brand as the prancing horse on the red flag. I gently press the accelerator to feel how quickly the car responds. Once on the country road, I quickly gain confidence and soon feel more and more comfortable behind the Ferrari wheel. I can see and feel that every detail of the Purosangue has been carefully thought out and developed in loving craftsmanship. No wonder, I think, that a Ferrari is considered one of the highest luxury goods. Even though the starting price for the Purosangue is currently at €380,000, any Ferrari is considered a solid investment.

Last November, a 1962 Ferrari GTO caused a sensation when it was auctioned for $52 million, making it the second most expensive car in the world sold at a Sotheby’s auction. Interest in ordering a Ferrari, however, does not necessarily mean that you will also have the chance to own one. Background checks and a long-standing relationship with Scuderia Ferrari in Italy are just some of the requirements necessary for one day calling yourself a Ferrari owner. Additionally, every owner commits to never making any atypical changes to their car. This careful and considered culture, established since the founding of the company by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 (first as Auto Avio Costruzioni, renamed Ferrari Auto in 1957, the name Ferrari having been used as a brand since 1947) has created a valuable enterprise that employs around 5,000 people today, producing roughly 13,000 cars per year. In March of last year, Ferrari’s value was €77.78 billion. For comparison, Volks-wagen employs around 200,000 people, produces 40,000 cars per day – nearly 9 million cars per year – and is valued at “only” €66.83 billion.

Our road trip takes us from Taupo via Hastings to Wellington at the southern tip of New Zealand’s North Island. Passing snow-capped volcanic landscapes and meadows, unfortunately, we are not allowed to drive much faster than the legally permitted 110 km/h.

In these moments, I wish I could briefly teleport myself to a German autobahn to fully ­enjoy the Purosangue’s maximum speed of 312 km/h. But here, they are very strict about speed limits and preserving and ­conserving the unspoilt nature. I already realized this upon my arrival in Auckland when the customs officer showed an unusually intense interest in the soles of my shoes. He explained that tourists should bring new hiking shoes with them to avoid inadvertently introducing foreign bacteria that could threaten the local flora and fauna. In Hastings, we make a stop to visit the kiwi, the endangered national bird of New Zealand. At the Kiwi Sanctuary, we learn that there were around 12 million of these birds in the 19th century. Today, there are only about 60,000 left. The kiwi is an extremely unusual creature: a bird that cannot fly, has fur instead of feathers and nostrils at the tip of its beak. This shy animal lays a huge egg twice a year, which accounts for 25% of its body weight. A kiwi chick is born with a full stomach and does not need to be fed.

Just before we reach Wellington, the landscape changes, and I suddenly feel deeply reminded of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. We drive through hilly, expansive green landscapes – and see sheep everywhere. It really seems true that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand. The vegetation reminds us so much of the famous films that I wouldn’t be surprised if a hobbit jumped right out of the bushes at any given moment. Peter Jackson, the director and producer of the famous, award-winning movies, not only filmed them in this area (near Lake Taupo, in Matamata). All the props, ­special effects and costumes were created at the Weta Workshop, which we visit shortly before we reach our final destination in Wellington. During the exciting studio tour, we learn that Weta has won five Oscars and four BAFTAS over the past 30 years. Shortly before arriving at our hotel, it’s time to say goodbye to my Purosangue, which has really grown on me over the past few days. All the Ferraris will be transferred by ferry to the South Island of New Zealand for the next stage of the New Zealand Grand Tour. “Ciao bellissima,” I think as I step out for the last time and reluctantly hand over the stylish Ferrari key, “È stato un grande piacere!” It was a great pleasure!

IssueGG Magazine 03/24
City/CountryNew Zealand
PhotographyCourtesy of Ferrari

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