It looks like Ferrari’s long-running California has finally developed an expiration date. Ferrari just presented the all new Portofino, a twin turbo hardtop convertible successor to Ferrari’s red headed step child.
The California first hit the streets in 2008 with a 4.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 that was good for 453hp. With that, you could get either a 7-speed dual clutch tranny or a 6-speed manual. Combine all of this with the front engine rear wheel drive layout and a hardtop convertible and it was a recipe that gave you a grand tourer with a decent amount of performance. The California even owned the title of ‘most aerodynamic Ferrari ever’ from 2008 to 2012. And yet even with all that going for it, the California was universally hated on by purists. It wasn’t sporty enough. Apparently, a top speed of 193mph just isn’t enough for some folks.
Ferrari put a band-aid on the problem when they introduced the California T in 2014. With a new 3.9-liter bi-turbo engine, the T now sported a massive 552hp and 557lb-ft of torque. On top of the engine swap, the T also received a slew of other modifications, including a slight exterior restyling. It was enough to stave off the haters for the time being, but now it’s time to shut them up permanently.
Stepping in to do so is the new Portofino. Keeping the same Layout as the California T, the Portofino is essentially a California on steroids. The chassis is said to be lighter, although Ferrari hasn’t stated by how much. Ferrari says, “Thanks to the extensive use of modern production technologies, all the chassis and body-in-white components have been redesigned with a consequent reduction in weight despite an increase in torsional rigidity.” Lighter yet stiffer sounds good. They also completely changed their retractable hard top, shifting to what is called a two-box configuration. This means only two panels, giving it the Portofino a shorter roof line reminiscent of a true fastback.
To manage the larger dimensions of the new top, Ferrari designed a wider rear end with a new design that ‘underlines the car’s sporty stance.’ The top is also full of new features, mainly being you can now lower and raise it while traveling at a slow speed. Once the top is reclined you get a glimpse into the all new interior of the Portofino. Leather as far as the eye can see, as well as an eye catching 10.2″ touch screen display mark a new era of ‘entry level’ comforts. Ferrari assures us there are many new features that aren’t apparent from photos, particularly an 18-way-adjustable seat. I didn’t even know you could move a seat that many directions. Ferrari also increased the rear ‘leg’ room, presumably making it easier to fit your golf clubs. For other comforts, the Portofino get’s a new AC system as well as an upgraded wind deflector. 30% better wind buffeting at speed? Sure, why not.
What marks the biggest difference comes in form of the
kind of new engine. The 3.8-liter V8 is not all that different than the engine found in the T, but it does have better metrics all around. That means more power and better efficiency. Power has crept up another 40-some odd horsepower, giving the Portofino nearly 600 ponies on tap. The turbo’s don’t just add peak power either, boosting torque up to 560lb-ft. This gives the lighter and more powerful Portofino a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed just shy of the magical 200mph mark. Just what everyone needs for their road trip to Spain.
The Portofino has also taken a substantial jump into the modern world when it comes to electronics. The car features Ferraris F1-Trac package with an electronic rear differential for good measure. The big shocker was the transition to an electronic power steering system. EPS has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years, but it will be interesting how it is received in this type of car. “The result is an even more dynamic, responsive car that also delivers superior ride comfort.” Ferrari’s way of saying it’s better than the California T in every aspect.
No official release date has been announced for the Portofino, but it shouldn’t be long now. The $200,000 ‘entry level’ Ferrari is set to have its official debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, which is just a few weeks away.