Goodbye California T, hello Ferrari Portofino.
A new car from Maranello is always something of an event and the replacement for recently-turboed California T, the Ferrari Portofino has certainly created a heapin’ helping of cheer.
Ferrari says that the car is all-new, just like the is-it-really-new GTC4 Lusso, but this time you really can tell at first sight.
It’s the same basic package as the California – folding hardtop 2+2 with a turbo V8 upfront. After that, pretty much everything has changed.
For a start, the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 now packs a nice round 600hp (592bhp/432kW) and 561lb ft (761Nm) of torque. That torque figure is a planet-ripper and is probably even more important than that headline power figure.
All that power and torque assaults the tarmac via the rear wheels and a seven-speed twin-clutch, firing the Portofino to 100km/h (62mph) in 3.5 seconds. Top speed is a toupee-ruffling 199mph (322km/h).
The techie stuff
The Portofino’s underbits are based on the Scuderia’s new all-aluminium architecture, meaning a “significant weight advantage over the California T it replaces.” I don’t remember the Cali being particularly heavy, but weight reduction means more speed and better handling, so I won’t argue.
More reasons to not argue include an increase in stiffness, another problem I don’t recall the California having, but again, it means a better platform on which to work handling magic while maintaining a good ride.
Ferrari’s third-generation E-Diff makes an appearance between the rear wheels. That thing is brilliant, moving torque around while also allowing lairiness if you so choose. The manettino switch stays where it is on the smaller steering wheel, letting you dial up the fun.
The magnetorheological damping also makes a return, now with what Ferrari calls “dual coil” technology. This system is used to great effect across the range – bumpy road mode is so good, it’s hard to believe you’re in a hard(er)-edged sports car.
For the first time, a Ferrari is running electric steering. The press release says it not only cuts fuel usage (ahem) but also reckons the steering feel is just as good as the outgoing hydraulic setup. The Cali T has quite light but magically feel-filled steering, so it’s probably not a stretch to think Ferrari has this sorted.
Lots of new stuff. You’ll see from the pics that the Portofino has more aero devices visible to the naked eye. These will reduce wind noise while boosting downforce and look amazing.
Occupants will be more comfortable according to Ferrari (again, the Cali was not an uncomfortable machine…), with 30% less buffeting. The seating is new but the back seats still look useless for humans.
The new 10.2-inch media system is a touchscreen and no doubt features Apple CarPlay. You can see various refinements of the interior bitc and pieces but from the photos. And it seems that the passenger-side dashboard makes a welcome reappearance (you used to be able get one in the FF).
What do we think?
The Ferrari Portofino looks terrific. It seems a more focussed machine and will hopefully silence the whining about the California’s lack of “Ferrariness”. While I was a fan of the California, plenty weren’t, and had to tell everyone all the damn time. You can’t argue that it brought lots of new buyers to the brand, particularly women. And more buyers means more mad cars like LaFerrari.
We’ll see more of the Ferrari Portofino at the Frankfurt Motor Show which kicks off soon. We’ll give you the lowdown as soon as we’ve got it. Meanwhile, enjoy all of the photos Ferrari gave us. And yes, the colour is Portofino Red.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.