Ferrari Portofino – Maranello’s Junior GT in SA

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Never again will the ‘entry’ level Ferrari GT car be called a hairdresser’s car.  Say hello to the Ferrari Portofino; the replacement for the California T, and the new entry model into the Ferrari brand stable – revealed this past week for the first time on South African soil.


The California was often criticised as being too girly, too soft.  The California T rectified that somewhat, but the design always seemed a little more Maserati than Ferrari.  The Ferrari Portofino will not be subject to any confusion – it’s a Ferrari through and through.  488-aping headlights immediately display the family link, whilst vents behind the front wheel bear a remarkable resemblance to body parts of the LaFerrari.  Unmistakeable round taillights are as Ferrari as they come.


In concept though, the Ferrari Portofino remains true to the ethos of the California and Cali-T.  It’s a front-engined, rear wheel driven hard top convertible, with space for up to four passengers – though Ferrari is very sure to stipulate “for short journeys”.  It’s a proper GT car, meant to cross countries in speed and style – and the name suggests as such.  Named after the town of Portofino, one of Italy’s most beautiful towns synonymous with elegance and luxury; the launch colour of the new GT is also a tribute – Rosso Portofino.


As for performance, the Ferrari Portofino is powered by an upgraded version of the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 found in the California T, featuring new pistons and con-rods and a new intake system design.  The result is 441kW at 7500rpm and 760Nm from 3000 to 5250 rpm.  Top speed is in excess of 320km/h, whilst the mandatory 0-100km/h sprint is dispatched in just 3.5 seconds, and 0-200km/h takes 10.8s.


The upgraded engine is assisted by the reduced weight of the Ferrari Portofino, which is both lighter and more rigid than the chassis of the California T.


Amongst the technology the Ferrari Portofino comes equipped with, is the third generation electronic rear differential (E-Diff3), F1-Trac ESC, and magnetorheological dampers.  Additionally, the Portofino features electronically power assisted steering – the first Ferrari GT in this segment to do so.


As for interior comforts, a new 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system is paired with the passenger display.  A new air conditioning system is said to improve comfort with the roof both up and down, and the 18-way electronically adjustable front seats feature a redesigned backrest to improve rear legroom.  A wind deflector reduces air flow within the cabin by 30% when the roof is down.


Though the white, left-hand drive Portofino displayed above is the official launch unit in SA, officially the right hand drive units will arrive towards the end of 2018, with a retail price starting at R4 543 000 before options.


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