- Published: Friday, 25 August 2017 08:40
New California replacement, an entry-level 2+2 convertible GT, the Portofino due in Singapore in 2018
Maranello, Italy -
What sort of entry-level model has 600hp, cracks 0-100km/h far under four seconds, and has a top speed of more than 300km/h? One that's red and Italian.
The new Ferrari Portofino is the first port of call for those new to the brand with the Prancing Horse and also, Maranello hopes, a gateway drug to things faster and even more furious, such as the 812 Superfast.
In its role as a 2+2 convertible GT sports car, the Portofino (named after a picturesque town in Genoa, Italy) replaces the current California T model, and is significantly improved compared to its predecessor. Pricing information for Singapore isn’t available yet, but the car is expected in Singapore in the first quarter of 2018, and we think it should be very close to California T’s $905,000 without COE price tag.
Charming, small-town name aside, the Portofino is much better looking than the California, it adopts the new, more aggressive design language seen on the 488 and 812 models, and is a big step away from the more restrained styling of previous models like the California and 599 GTB.
The wide-spaced lights are elongated, like on the 812, and the car is both wider and longer than before. Aerodynamics took a big role in shaping the car’s appearance, with the dark-coloured aero bits on the lower edges of the car’s body, plus numerous vents such as on the bonnet, front air intakes and next to the headlights. The most dramatic change are semi-open aero ‘slashes’ behind the front wheels, no doubt helping to smoothen airflow around the turbulence-prone wheel sections.
Ferrari notes the Portofino emphasises a more streamlined fastback shape with its rear roofline more raked, even more so than the California, emphasising its role as a front-engined, rear-wheel driven sport GT.
Maranello also claims an all-new chassis for the car, which thanks to new production methods will allow for ‘significant’ weight savings, despite an increase in strength/torsional rigidity.
The 3,855cc twin-turbo engine from the California T has been carried over with some evolution. The conrods, pistons, intake, and exhaust system are all new, while tuning tweaks have been done, adding 40hp and 5Nm of torque for a total of 600hp and 760Nm of torque, made at a lower 3,000rpm compared to 4,750rpm previously. With a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds and top speed of 320km/h, it shaves 0.1 seconds from former and adds 4km/h to the latter.
Drivers will get a helping hand in maximising the car’s performance, with an electronic rear differential (E-Diff3) integrated with the operation of F1-Trac (traction control), while there’s also a new electronic power steering system with a quicker ratio. The SCM-E magneto-rheological active system, like on the California, handles suspension duties.
Occupants will also enjoy greater comfort this time around, with a new 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment display, new air-conditioning system, redesigned seats and a wind deflector that is claimed to cut cabin wind by 30 percent.
Initial data from JATO Dynamics suggests a similar kerbweight to the California T’s 1,730kg, with the Portofino being wider and lower, but confirmed figures will only be seen at the car’s debut in the upcoming Frankfurt Motorshow in September.