Ferrari drops Portofino bombshell

FERRARI has confirmed that a new front-engined V8 turbo convertible dubbed the Portofino will take the baton from the California T as the prancing horse’s entry-level, and most affordable, model.

The bristling new rear-drive hard-top cabriolet will make its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month, revealing a stunning new interpretation of the classic sportscar recipe, which packs 441kW and accelerates from zero to 100km/h in just 3.5 seconds.


Nestled in its aggressively styled snout, the 3.9-litre turbocharged 90-degree V8 is essentially the same as the unit that powered the California T, albeit squeezed to produce an extra 29kW and 5Nm, but in addition to the extra mumbo, the Cali successor also improves on dynamics.

Ferrari has not revealed the weight of the new beast, but says its latest manufacturing techniques have stripped weight from the body and chassis components while increasing torsional rigidity for improved dynamics.

A dusting of the car maker’s advanced electronics have enhanced the weight reduction benefits for Ferrari’s most accessible model, including the first application of electric power steering and electronically controlled differential with F1-Trac.


The California’s difficult-to-say magnetorheological dampers have been updated for the Portofino with dual coils for reduced body roll but improved ride. The new model is still very much a GT, says Ferrari.

The power boost over the California T was possible with a number of engine mods, including a one-piece cast exhaust manifold, stronger and lighter conrods, revised induction system, and an engine management remap. The all-important soundtrack has also been rewritten, says Ferrari.

Despite the tune-up, the Portofino’s donk can’t quite match the 493kW power output of the 488’s powerplant, which it is also closely related to, although torque is identical at 760Nm.


When not tearing up back roads, Portofino occupants will be able to enjoy new comfort and technology features, including a 10.2-inch touchscreen central display, an air conditioning system developed to be effective with the roof open or closed, a smaller passenger information display that’s similar to the 812 Superfast, more room for rear passengers, and, of course, the unmistakable Ferrari interior chic.

A maximum speed in excess of 320km/h has been made possible by paying careful attention to aerodynamics, thanks to a close collaboration between design and engineering teams. Its wide grille provides air for the hard-working V8, while hidden vents beside each full LED headlight lead to exits on each flank.

The result is a Ferrari as fast and dynamic as is expected from the iconic Italian brand with a look that takes its most affordable model in to new aesthetic territory. While some say its California predecessor may have gone a bit soft on styling, there’s no doubt the new Portofino is going to pull quite a crowd at Frankfurt.

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