Portofino; not only a magical Italian village that has become a secret summer destination to famous movie stars and football players, but Ferrari’s entry level GT. Combining elegance with exclusivity and replacing the 10 year old California, the Portofino is their newest jewel. Lighter, faster and sharper than its predecessor, it is a tough contender in very competitive supercar bazaar.
Ferrari is one of the rare few companies that can still deliver that harmonious sweet note from a twin turbo V8 without making it sound like a cheap over tuned small block. The Portofino is also a great example that reveals Ferrari’s strength in not only delivering pointy precision and powerful machines, but also super comfortable and absolutely intoxicating ride sensations that push you to drive it every single day. Refined ride quality & authentic Ferrari driving experience are all what the Portofino has in store for you.
Even though the California and the Portofino share similar chassis length and engine, with the latter being heavily reworked to 591hp, the Portofino is a complete different car. 3.5 sec to reach the 1st hundred km/h with 700 nm of torque; this entry level GT is not to be overlooked. New lightweight retractable hard top, bigger boot, roomier seats and 80kg lighter makes it significantly quicker in a straight line.
As with most Ferraris in the new lineup, the gearbox is a seven-speed dual-clutch with paddles. Shift speeds are faster than before, and the downshifting response is nothing short of spectacular. Manual shifts can be a little punchy at some points, but in auto mode, the car is very smooth. The exhaust has an electronically controlled valve, making it quieter or louder depending on the drive mode you choose on the famous Manettino.
Ferrari really listened to its clientele when developing the Portofino, and made the interior more ergonomic, user friendly and way more convenient with additional side pockets to stash your mobile and personal belongings. Simpler yet still sexy, the dashboard benefits from the same lines of the super mighty Superfast. Comfy leather seats with extendable cushions makes it much easier to get in and out of the car. Seating position is beautiful to drive every day, and back seats are not bad either. The driver gets the familiar 5in color instrument displays flanking the central analogue rev-counter and the passenger gets their own widescreen touch-sensitive display too, again like the superfast.
Although the Portofino was never developed to compete in the Superfast territory, this piece of Italian art is fast with a capital F. The Portofino is the most versatile model in its range – a Ferrari designed to be driven every day and effortlessly converts from an authentic ‘berlinetta’ coupé to a drop-top in 14 seconds flat. Impressed by how easy it is to climb in and drive at normal everyday speeds without losing that sharpness, the Portofino amazingly retains the Image de marque that makes every kid smile and every adult dream.
By: Patrick G. Karam
Photoshoot by Steven Char.