According to the motoring press, although Frankfurt Motor Show at the end of September brought some spectacular concept cars, the new and very glitzy Ferrari Portofino was the real showstopper.
It is undoubtedly true that the mention of ‘Ferrari’ makes the eyes of keen drivers light up just about everywhere in the world. The noise of their engines on ignition, the classic, bold shade of red and the immediately recognisable logo make all Ferrari models something to aspire to. Wherever a Ferrari is parked, people gather round and now with smartphone technology, everyone wants a selfie with a Ferrari.
Enthusiasts have been waiting for the Ferrari Portofino for some time. Maranello has teased its audience with small details about the car that it said would replace the California. We’ve had press releases and photos, but Frankfurt was the first opportunity we had to see the final product in the flesh, so to speak.
The first difference between the California and the new Portofino is that the latter has more power. In fact at 592bhp, it has 40bhp more than the California. It is also lighter and more aerodynamic than the California, but it also looks more aggressive and has some serious muscle. Let’s just say it does 0-62mph/100kmh in 3.5 seconds without breaking into a sweat. And, it has a top speed of around 199mph/320kmh.
Although the Portofino has the same 3.9-litre, turbocharged V8 engine as the California, it has a host of new features that make it much more capable than the California, including pistons, co rods and an engine management software system.
Added to this, the Portofino is much more dynamic thanks to the introduction of electric power steering, a third generation electronic differential and the latest evolution of an electronic suspension control system integrated with Premium 9.1 ESP. Its lighter weight means it saves on fuel consumption, although that is hardly something the Ferrari driver worries about excessively; if you drive one of these supercars, you don’t expect much fuel economy.
Other features that distinguish it from the California include a new design for the retractable hard top as well as the seat structure. These are also part of the weight-shedding plan. However, from the outside, the Portofino doesn’t look like a slimmed down California T.
It’s styling is fairly aggressive, with a two-box fastback configuration, a large central radiator grille and larger bonnet vents to cool the engine. Ferrari boasts that it is designed to be “driven every day”, and there will be some who will do just that, although it is hardly the car for the school run or the supermarket shop.
We’ll let you know when we are going to add the Ferrari Portofino to our luxury car inventory, but until then, why not try out the Ferrari California.
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