The term, “entry level” can carry quite a different meaning, depending on whether you’re talking about a subcompact hatchback or a new Ferrari.
So, don’t worry about shortcuts in comfort or performance with the debut of the new 2018 Ferrari Portofino. The replacement for the outgoing California model, if anything, is a significant upgrade.
“The object here was to come up with something that made no compromises,” said Enrico Gallieri, the exotic automaker’s chief marketing officer, as he prepared to lift the covers on the new hardtop convertible. That means, if anything, more performance as well as improved comfort.
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Rather than an upgrade of the old California, the new Ferrari Portofino is an essentially ground-up redesign. That starts with an all-aluminum chassis that is both 35% stiffer than the old car’s platform, yet about 175 pounds lighter.
The new Ferrari Portofino does have a few things in common with the California, notably a retractable hardtop that will be able to open or close while the vehicle is moving, albeit nowhere near its rated top speed of over 200 miles per hour. And to push it to that sort of number, the Ferrari Portofino will feature a more powerful, 3.9-liter V-8 capable of punching out 600 horsepower – 37 more than the California — and 560 pound-feet of torque.
That’s enough power to launch the two-seater from 0 to 100 kmh (about 62 mph) in 3.5 second, and to 200 kmh (125 mph) in 10.8 seconds. It also delivers the classically “unmistakable Ferrari sound,” Gallieri emphasized.
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Ferrari has also done some serious work on vehicle dynamics. The Portofino gets the marque’s E-Diff 3 electronic rear differential to help get all those prancing ponies down to the pavement. Meanwhile, the magnetorheological damping system has been upgraded to further reduce body roll. And in a move one might not have expected a few years ago, the new model gets electric power-steering.
The car’s overall look doesn’t stray much from the California’s styling. The LED headlights, grille and scoops are a bit more aggressive. From the rear, the look is more in line with other recent entries, such as the 488 GTB. As for the folding hardtop, Ferrari engineers appear to have been studying their origami, as there is now something close to a rear trunk for those who actually might want to take a suitcase along when they travel.
Inside, the new Portofino is in line with Ferrari’s goal of making its products useful as everyday drivers. “There was a particular focus on (on)board comfort,” the marque explains. There’s an upgraded HVAC system, for one thing, an new, 18-way power-adjustable seats with a notched backrest designed to provide some legroom for the occasional rear seat passenger. A new wind deflector design is said to reduce airflow inside the cabin by 30%, while also reducing wind noise. And the car gets a new, 10.25-inch touchscreen center display.
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Oh, and as for the name, the Portofino honors what was once a modest Italian fishing village on the Italian Riviera near Genoa that is now a popular tourist spot. A perfect place for a new owner, one could imagine, to drive off for a vacation.
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