The most affordable – as in six-figure affordable – Ferrari is no longer the California T. Enter the new Portofino, which might seem like a facelift of the previous generation, but is instead so much more.
While it’s considered the entry-level model, when it comes to Ferrari this is a serious understatement – the first modern California appeared back in 2008 and was changed with the California T, as in turbocharged, in 2014. Now the droptop’s latest iteration drops the American name altogether for Portofino, a little city located in northwest Italy. We’re dealing with a new generation, because underneath he sharper design lies an all-new and way lighter chassis. Ferrari is still holding some of its detail cards close – we’re probably going to hear all about it when it debuts in front of the public during the Frankfurt Motor Show – so we don’t know exactly how lighter the Portofino is. What has perspired is the lower weight and better torsional rigidity have been accompanied by a biturbo V8 engine tweaked for even more power than before.
It comes with 40 horsepower above the predecessor’s rating, with the award-winning 3.9-liter unit packing 600 hp (441 kW) at 7,500 rpm – though torque has only soared by 5 Nm (4 lb-ft) to 760 Nm (560 lb-ft) from 3,000 rpm. In terms of design we can see new headlights, a pronounced F1-style nose, larger grille and bigger air intakes in the bumper. There are also new, small air intake vents on the outside edge of each headlamp, Ferrari saying they are used to lower drag. On the side the new roof flows longer into the rear decklid to achieve a fastback appearance, while at the back among the more obvious changes we see the taillights become exactly that – on the California they were actually part of the trunk.
Moving inside, the differences subside – the general appearance and layout is about the same, with button placement being quite traditional for a Ferrari. The Portofino does sport a new 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment display and there’s also a brand new passenger display integrated into the dash – the dial display mounted between the vents on the T has disappeared as well. With more power and lighter stance, the Portofino now needs just three and a half seconds to reach 62 mph (100 kph), topping out at 199 mph (320 kph)+. Ferrari also fits its third-gen electronic rear differential, an electric power steering system for better grip and control, as well as 7% sharper steering ratio.