During the last 20 years the car industry has seen an injection of SUVs from marques that, before, had spent their time honing sports cars and family cars. If you wanted a luxury 4×4 there was really only one place to look: the Range Rover. It still tops my sought after list. However, a gap in the market was found and began to develop into a gaping chasm.

As such, many of the aforementioned marques started to build cars to fill this chasm. This luxury SUV Grand Canyon was so popular with consumers that even Land Rover released the Range Rover Sport.

In 2008, we now have a smorgasbord of luxury SUVs to choose from: BMWs X5, Porsches Cayenne, the Range Rover Sport, Audis Q7, to name but a few. The model I want to draw your attention to is Porsches Cayenne. BMW had the 3, 5 and 7 series so they had done the family car for years. Porsche, on the other hand, had only managed a 2+2 in the shape of the 911, which was a great family car until your children grew past 4ft tall.  This was what made the Cayenne the most surprising SUV I think. They strayed from their norm and, ignoring aesthetics, made a fantastically fast 4×4, which handled as well as most saloons.

If I may, at this point, scream a question many of you may be thinking, but what about the Italians?

Quite! What about those Italians? Porsche has managed to build a supercar on stilts. Why can’t the likes of Lamborghini and Ferrari do the same? Especially since Audi have the Q7 and they own Lamborghini. And for those of you who have just thought Ah, but Lamborghini have made a 4×4. The L…something or another! Yes, you are quite right. Lamborghini did make the LM002 but I have precisely 002 problems with that. The S in SUV, as you know, means Sport and the last time I checked, the top speed was below 120mph. That’s not very sporty. Were also talking about luxury SUVs and the LM002 was about as luxurious as sitting in a leather-lined kitchen cabinet.

Where Lamborghini can look to the Audi Q7, should they decide to build an SUV, as far as I can tell, Ferrari can only call upon the Fiat Panda 4×4. But that hasn’t dampened their spirits!

The car you see before you is the recently penned Ferrari 799 Mugello. We’ve managed to secure these sketches and information from an unnamed source at Ferrari. They were obtained from a leaked document which included these two sketches and a rather detailed summary of what’s to be included.

It is, obviously, set to compete with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. When I say compete, if these sketches and figures turn out to be accurate, then the 799 Mugello will not only be much better looking than the Cayenne, it will be significantly faster too. Thanks to a 7 litre V12 based on the Enzo/599 engine and running gear derived from the 599, the 799 will be thrust from 0-62 mph in around 4 seconds and will cosset you all the way up to 182 mph while you bask in the glorious symphony from that V12.

While this performance is very nice, maketh the SUV it does not. So let us turn our attention to the suspension and four-wheel-drive system. The 799 will use similar magnetorheological technology as found in the 599 to act counteractively to body roll, keeping the 799 on a level plane during hard cornering. Combined with the active-4WD system, complete with locking diffs this is said to be an extension to Ferraris E-Diff the 799 should prove to be a competent off-roader.

The E-Diffs are still controlled by the Manettino, with the usual on-road settings including Wet, Normal, Sport and Race but instead of the CST setting, Ferrari have introduced an Off-Road setting. Selecting this will then require you to choose a mode on the second Manettino, found on the left hand side of the steering wheel the start button has been moved to the centre console.

This second Manettino will perform similarly to Land Rovers Terrain Response system. You will be offered a choice of Snow & Ice, Mud & Ruts, Desert or Rock Crawl. The system will control ride height, the locking diffs, traction control, throttle sensitivity and gearbox selection. All this information will be displayed via a HUD so you don’t have to take your eyes off the path in front of you.

If this wasn’t enough firsts for you, I think I’m right in saying that this will be the first Ferrari fitted with a tow-bar. It’s a custom, detachable unit with a special purpose in mind. Ferrari believe the 799 will be popular for those customers who have 430 Challenge cars and are also offering a custom trailer as an option with the 799. We’re yet to receive any details on this trailer but it sounds rather cool, to say the least. This brings me nicely on to the figures of power and torque. Power is up slightly from the 599 to around 650hp with torque said to be nudging 620Nm but peaking lower in the rev range to help with off-road control and towing that trailer.

All in all, this is looking to be a very exciting car. We’ll bring you more news on this when we have it.