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FERRARI SWAPS CALIFORNIA FOR PORTOFINO, A 600BHP CONVERTIBLE NOW ON SALE IN MALAYSIA.
From Daytona to California, Italian supercar manufacturer Ferrari is known to have an affinity for American names. But its latest launch sees the parent state of San Francisco and Los Angeles replaced by something much closer to home: the tranquil Italian fishing village of Portofino.
The new Ferrari Portofino made its way onto Malaysian shores via official distributor Naza Italia recently. Whether home or abroad, the convertible supercar has big horsehoes to fill as it replaces the California T, one of Maranello’s biggest commercial success as far as its front-engined rear-wheel-drive sports cars go.
Despite being the most affordable car in Ferrari’s catalogue, every moving bit beneath the Portofino’s slender frame is of unmistakable supercar quality. Under the elegant hood is the same 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 that propelled the California T, but uprated to produce a whopping 600bhp and 700Nm of torque. In a two-door car that weighs under
1.7 tonnes, that output is enough to launch the Portofino to 100kph from a standstill in just 3.5 seconds. Keep the throttle pressed and it will do 0-200kph in 10.8 seconds with top speed rated above 320kph.
The Portofino’s V10-rivalling performance owes to the expert power management of the seven-speed dual clutch transmission imbued with Ferrari’s Formula One powertrain expertise. Other electronic systems that are in place to help the driver maximise the Portofino’s potential safely include a new electronic rear differential (E-diff3) integrated with F1-trac, an electronic power steering (EPS) which is 7 percent more responsive and a magnetorheological damping system (SCM-E).
“The Portofino is going to be a game changer. It’s gotten more masculine (than the California), and in terms of usability, there’s more space. Also, the ground clearance is a bit higher so it’s nicer to drive,” said Damian Woo, National Brand Head of Naza Italia.
Other creature comforts that boost the Portofino’s usability as a daily sports car include a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 18way adjustable electric-powered seats and new wind deflectors that reduce intrusive air-flow by up to 30 percent during top-down driving. Speaking of which, the retractable roof folds away in just 14 seconds at the press of a button.
All of this tech, performance and signature Ferrari styling comes at a base price of RM948,000 before duties and customisation options.
“We are confident in the Portofino’s sales prospects. Pricewise, it is Ferrari’s entry model. The California T is already a good role model – it was a great success. It’s a journey for our clients to start with a car they can drive everyday like the Portofino followed by other models in the future,” added Woo.
Also present at the launch of Malaysia’s newest Ferrari was Datuk Samson Anand George, Automotive Group CEO of Naza Corporation Holdings. He shared Woo’s optimism about the Portofino, stating that “this incredibly versatile V8 GT (grand tourer) delivers sporty elegance, extreme performance, hightech innovation and lavish comfort in a combination that is ideally suited to our customers’ automotive desires.”
“We always we look forward to the liberty of a robust economy which will help us conduct our business better. Ferrari has got a strong following in Malaysia. It’s a niche market but for the last three years we’ve been growing and hopefully we will continue to grow this year,” he added when questioned about the brand’s business prospects amidst a fast-changing economic environment.
What better way to keep up than in a 600bhp Ferrari?