Fer­rari shuns Cal­i­for­nia for Portofino

New 199mph 2+2 road­ster to re­place un­der­whelm­ing Cal­i­for­nia T


BE­ING GEN­ER­OUS, YOU might say that the Fer­rari Cal­i­for­nia of 2008 on­wards is far from our favourite prod­uct to have slipped through the gates at Maranello. To call it the mod­ern-day equiv­a­lent of the Mon­dial would be a touch harsh, but even so it’s never looked like a thor­ough­bred Ital­ian su­per­car and the cur­rent ‘ T’ ver­sion doesn’t drive as well as its sta­ble­mates – or most of its rivals. There is hope, then, that its re­place­ment, the Portofino, will be far more wor­thy of the badge so many pay so much for.

Cer­tainly, first im­pres­sions are good. It ac­tu­ally looks like a Fer­rari for one thing: there’s a hint of F12 mixed with 488 GTB about its nose and a pair of tightly tucked-in hips ahead of the rear arches. Fer­rari’s de­sign team has also man­aged to re­move much of the bulk that blighted the Cal­i­for­nia’s back end with the roof down. With the roof (still a metal, fold­ing af­fair) raised, there’s more of a ju­nior-f12 look about the car.

Be­ing 2017 and Fer­rari hav­ing an F1 team, aero­dy­nam­ics make it into the press bumpf, which says ‘the out­side edge of the head­light hides an in­no­va­tive air in­take which vents into the front whee­larch and ex­its along the flank to re­duce drag’.

Sit­ting on an all-new, lighter chas­sis with a body-in-white Fer­rari claims has been re­designed with weight re­duc­tion and tor­sional rigid­ity in­creases in mind – al­though no numbers to back this up have been re­leased. The Portofino is also equipped with the com­pany’s lat­est chas­sis tech. This in­cludes the E-diff 3 elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled rear lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial, which has been adopted with the firm’s F1-Trac sta­bil­ity-con­trol sys­tem. It’s also the first Fer­rari GT to be fit­ted with elec­tri­cally as­sisted power steer­ing, re­sult­ing in steer­ing that’s seven per cent quicker. The mag­ne­torhe­o­log­i­cal dampers have been up­dated, too, and now fea­ture

Fer­rari’s de­sign team has man­aged to re­move much of the bulk that blighted the Cal­i­for­nia’s rear

dual-coil technology to help re­duce body roll.

Be­hind the new nose lies a fur­ther evo­lu­tion of the twin­turbo V8 that’s part of the same engine fam­ily as the 488 GTB’S unit. Ca­pac­ity re­mains at the same 3855cc as in the Cal­i­for­nia T, but new pis­tons and con­rods have been in­stalled and there’s also a new air in­take and a new ex­haust sys­tem to re­duce losses and im­prove throt­tle re­sponse.

Vari­able boost man­age­ment is still em­ployed and has been fur­ther honed to de­liver an op­ti­mised level of torque de­pend­ing on the gear se­lected. Peak power of 592bhp along with 560lb ft of torque rep­re­sent 39bhp and 3lb ft in­creases over the Cal­i­for­nia T ( both fig­ures are gen­er­ated only in seventh gear). A tenth has also been shaved from the old car’s 3.6sec 0-62mph time, with max­i­mum speed lifted 3mph to 199mph.

Be­ing the least ag­gres­sive Fer­rari you can buy, the in­te­rior re­fresh has fo­cused on com­fort. There’s a new in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and steer­ing wheel, and 18-way ad­justable front seats that in­clude back­rests de­signed to im­prove legroom for the rear ‘+2’ seats.

Mak­ing its de­but at this Septem­ber’s Frank­furt mo­tor show, the Fer­rari Portofino will go on sale later in 2017, but as evo went to press, no price had been con­firmed.

Above right: in­te­rior will re­flect the fact that this is a more laid-back Fer­rari model, and gets new in­fo­tain­ment and highly ad­justable seats. Right: Portofino shows el­e­ments of F12 in its ag­gres­sive front-end de­sign; note the air in­takes along­side the head­lights, de­signed to help re­duce drag

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