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Ferrari Portofino: life after California

Published: 12 September 2017

► Ferrari Portofino revealed
► It’s the new California
► 0-62mph in 3.5sec, flip-top roof

The new Ferrari Portofino is here, replacing the California T. It’s the V8-powered coupe-convertible destined to make its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.

Named after the Italian port town, the Portofino is a step on from the California cabrio, using a 600 horsepower derivative of the familiar 3.9-litre V8 mounted up front to devastating effect:

  • 0-62mph 3.5sec
  • Top speed 199mph
  • Maximum power 592bhp @ 7500rpm
  • Peak torque 561lb ft @ 3000-5250rpm

The Ferrari Portofino is based on a new, all-aluminium architecture, which Maranello claims 'features a significant weight saving over the California T it replaces,' despite being much stiffer.

Ferrari Portofino: revealed ahead of Frankfurt motor show 2017

The kerbweight is not yet known, but we expect to hear more about the lightweight construction in the run-up to the IAA Frankfurt auto show.

The turbocharged V8 is based on the same 90-degree lump in the California T, and displaces 3855cc. But a series of upgrades liberates an extra 40 horsepower: pistons and conrods are new, and the intake and exhaust systems are overhauled to improve how the V8 breathes.

It's turbocharged - sigh - as was its predecessor, but Ferrari vows 'zero turbo lag.' They would say that, wouldn't they, but it's true that we've been impressed by how little delay the blown Ferraris now generate - and the noise is improving, if still lagging behind the sonic highs of the 458 Italia.

Ferrari Portofino: the specs lowdown

Following the California's pioneering layout, the Portofino is again a 2+2 coupe-convertible deploying a folding hard top and a twin-clutch transmission. It's a Ferrari with a very specific purpose, capturing conquest buyers new to the brand - and a higher proportion of women than for its sports cars.

A lot of attention has been lavished on the cabin, designed to make it quieter and more comfortable for boulevardiers. There's a new 10.2-inch infotainment system powered by touch, 18-way electrically adjustable seats and a claimed 30% drop in wind buffeting with the roof down, thanks to a fresh design of wind deflector.

Inside the new Ferrari Portofino cabin: a 2+2 cockpit

Those rear seats are occasional pews for kids or adults 'suitable for short trips,' says Ferrari. And the colour? A very eponymous Rosso Portofino...

Ferrari vows this is a practical kind of GT, 'with a roomy boot and generous cockpit space.' We'll know for sure in a few days' time when we see it at the motor show.

Ride, handling, performance of the Ferrari Portofino

The Portofino naturally takes full advantage of the latest Ferrari handling tricks and electro nannies. There's the third-generation of the brand's e-diff, which is designed to maximise traction and grip through corners, while electric power steering is claimed to cut fuel consumption yet not rob feel at the wheel.

Magnetorheological dampers are standard, now packing twin-coil technology to improve ride comfort when cruising, yet offer steel-like grip and body control when charging.

Note also the aero management of the Portofino: without recourse to ugly spoilers or wings, Ferrari says it has reduced drag and improved aerodynamics through careful body sculpting and channeling of the passing airstream.

Is it a looker in the traditional Ferrari mould? Be sure to sound off in our comments below...

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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