Fer­rari’s new Portofino

An ‘ap­proach­able’ Fer­rari de­signed to be used ev­ery day? That’ll be the new Portofino.

Esquire (UK) - - Contents - By Will Hersey

The in­te­rior has taken a leap for­ward and much work has been done on up­grad­ing its us­abil­ity, but to any­one who sees this as the cuddly Fer­rari, it’s also bru­tally, dev­as­tat­ingly, life-chang­ingly fast

Some peo­ple will try to tell you this isn’t a “real” Fer­rari. You’ll recog­nise them from the urge to run away af­ter just a few min­utes in their com­pany.

The rea­sons they’ll give will have some­thing to do with the new Portofino — which re­places the Cal­i­for­nia T as Fer­rari’s “en­try-level” all-rounder — be­ing com­fort­able, adapt­able, flex­i­ble and easy to drive. That it is de­signed for en­joy­ment, has a con­tractable roof that trans­forms it from a coupé to a “spi­der” in 14 sec­onds, can fit hu­mans (al­beit small ones) in the back seat and has a boot that can hold three cabin trol­leys with the roof down and can fold and adapt to take skis or golf clubs, if you’re that way in­clined.

That it is just as ca­pa­ble of nau­sea-in­duc­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion as it is of re­laxed pootling, prefer­ably while driving along ocean-side boule­vards wear­ing a flail­ing neck­er­chief and guf­faw­ing loudly at noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar. To most of us, of course — the ones who don’t mem­o­rise en­gine dis­place­ment sta­tis­tics — these sound un­can­nily like at­tributes.

It’s longer, lighter, lower and more pow­er­ful than its pre­de­ces­sor, with a de­lib­er­ately more ag­gres­sive look that also points to its sharper dy­nam­ics and im­proved 3.85-litre V8 en­gine. The in­te­rior has also taken a leap for­ward and much work has been done on up­grad­ing its us­abil­ity, but to any­one who sees this as the cuddly Fer­rari, it’s also bru­tally, dev­as­tat­ingly, life-chang­ingly fast. On the limit it may not match the Fer­rari flag­ships, but why should it? And how many own­ers will care? To cre­ate a su­per­car ca­pa­ble of wear­ing so many hats so well is im­pres­sive enough.

Fer­rari says that 85 per cent of the Cal­i­for­nia Ts it has sold are used ev­ery day. It’s hard to imag­ine a day of the week when you wouldn’t find an ex­cuse to drive this one, too.

Roof up (top right), or roof down, the Fer­rari Portofino main­tains its im­pec­ca­ble lines

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