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Ferrari opts for top power V12 engine for new Purosangue SUV

By Giulio Piovaccari

MILAN (Reuters) -Ferrari's first ever sport utility vehicle, the Purosangue (Thoroughbred), will be equipped with the brand's powerful 12-cylinder engine when it is launched in the coming months, Chief Executive Benedetto Vigna said on Wednesday.

"We've tested several options, it was clear that the V12, for the performance and driving experience it could provide, was the right option for the market," Vigna said.

He was speaking after the company presented its first quarter results which showed a 12% rise in its core earnings as demand for its sports cars remained strong despite global political turmoil.

"The Purosangue is son of our tradition," he added.

The choice to power the Purosangue with its most powerful engine marks a break from Ferrari's recent strategy which had focused on less polluting V8 and V6-hybrid models, such as in the case of the recently unveiled 296 GTS.

A tech industry veteran, Vigna took charge of Ferrari last September, with a task to take a brand synonymous with roaring combustion engines into the new era of silent and cleaner electric mobility.

He will present his first comprehensive business plan for the company on June 16.

In the meanwhile the company has already presented four hybrid models and promised a full electric car for 2025.

STRONG ORDER BOOK

Ferrari's adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at 423 million euros ($445 million) in the January-March period, helped by the collection of advances on the Daytona SP3, one of Ferrari latest models.

The results matched analyst expectations of 425 million euros, according to a Reuters poll.

"These results were sustained by a strong net order intake, which continued firmly over the first three months of the year: today the order book already covers well into 2023 and most of our models are sold out," Vigna said in a statement.

Vigna noted that 2022 had been marked by "uncertainties in the geopolitical scenario" but added that he remained "optimistic about the future prospect of the company".

Ferrari confirmed its forecast for the year it provided three months ago, including one for an adjusted EBITDA of between 1.65 and 1.70 billion euros.

Ferrari shares were down 3.7% at 1340 GMT, with attention now shifting to the capital markets day next month. ($1 = 0.9496 euros)

(Reporting by Giulio PiovaccariEditing by Keith Weir)