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Words: Shubham Choukse
Portofino is a small fishing village in the metropolitan district of Genoa in Italy, famous for its fishing harbour and long association with celebs from around the world. Normally, this is not the kind of information you’d see on our website. After all, we are all about The Thrill of Driving, aren’t we? So what exactly is a sleepy coastal town doing here? It so happens that another bunch of Italians in another part of Italy has decided to call their newest product by the same name as this little town. Say hello to the new Ferrari Portofino Convertible. This new GT car, which was unveiled by the iconic Italian supercar maker ahead of its official launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, will replace the gorgeous California T.
However not all of the California T will be discarded for the Portofino draws power from the same 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8, albeit with new pistons, con rods and a brand new intake design. Changes have also been done to the exhaust system. As a result of these changes the unit not puts out 591bhp, a 39bhp jump over what the unit produced in the California T, and 750Nm of peak torque. Although the torque is the same as what is on offer in the California T, in the Portofino it is managed entirely by the Variable Boost Management system as seen on the 488 GTB, thus reducing any turbo-lag to insignificance, irrespective of which gear the vehicle might be in. This also means better efficiencies leading to lower consumption, and therefore emissions. But far more importantly, this engine propels this GT car from a standing start to 100kmph in a mere 3.5 seconds.
Although pegged as an entry-level Ferrari, the Portofino isn’t short on equipment. It gets Ferrari’s E-Diff3 (third generation electronic limited-slip differential) with integrated F1-Trac system. The E-Diff3 varies torque going to each of the rear wheels depending on situation and requirement. The new electronic power steering system improves steering response without compromising on stability. The new adjustable magnetic dampers, which Ferrari calls by the complicated name of magnetorheological damping system or SCM-E, not only improve dynamics and responsiveness but also ride quality.
On the design front the car has clearly followed Ferrari’s new design language and taken cues from the 812 Superfast that we drove last month and the 488 GTB. With new vertical LED headlamps, a wider radiator grille, larger air dams and a sculpted bonnet, the Portofino looks much more aggressive than the California T. And new design details such as the small intake vents at the outer edges of the headlights channel the air to exit through the wheel arches which reduces reduce the drag, and hence improves the aerodynamics, performance and efficiency of the car.
A GT car, even if it is a Ferrari, has to be comfortable in order to make ‘Grand Touring’ possible. And the Portofino checks this box too, it comes in a 2+2 seating configuration with 18-way electrically adjustable seats and a new backrest design that boosts legroom for rear seat passengers. It also gets a new air-conditioning system and a new 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
We are super excited with this new reveal from the Italian marque and can’t wait for September to arrive when we will get to see this gorgeous vehicle in the flesh. Next stop, Frankfurt.