Ferrari California to take a bow, Portofino primed to be Prancing Horse’s new baby GT

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Yesterday, Ferrari dropped news of the new V8 GT in its line-up, the Ferrari Portofino. The new car’s name takes inspiration from one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, renowned for its charming tourist port and, over the years, has become internationally synonymous with elegance, sportiness and understated luxury. There’s even a new colour, Rosso Portofino, dedicated to this town.

Ferrari’s award winning Engine of the Year remains, the familiar blown V8 now with several new components and specific calibration of the engine management software, resulting in 590hp and 760Nm and a sprint of just 3.5 seconds. The Ferrari Portofino is the most powerful convertible to combine the advantages of a retractable hard top, a roomy boot and generous cockpit space plus two rear seats suitable for short trips.

All aspects of the 8-cylinder’s efficiency have been honed with the adoption of new pistons and con-rods, and a new intake system design. The geometries throughout the exhaust system have also been revolutionized. The new one-piece-cast exhaust header reduces losses, an important factor in ensuring Ferrari’s characteristic throttle response with zero turbo lag. These improvements, combined with the Variable Boost Management which adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected, enable the Ferrari Portofino to offer even higher levels of acceleration in all gears and lower fuel consumption compared to the outgoing model.

The Ferrari Portofino’s all-new chassis features a significant weight saving over the California T it replaces. 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.

Vehicle dynamic characteristics have also been completely revised and benefit from the introduction of new technological solutions. For the first time on this type of Ferrari model, the third generation electronic rear differential (E-Diff3) has been adopted and integrated with the F1-Trac, improving both mechanical grip and the control of the car on the limit. The Ferrari Portofino is also the first GT in the range to be fitted with EPS (Electric Power Steering). This allowed the engineers to reduce the steering ratio by seven per cent for even more responsive steering without a trade-off in stability thanks to the integration with the E-Diff3. The magnetorheological damping system (SCM-E) has been uprated with dual-coil technology which helps reduce roll while simultaneously improving absorption of road surface unevenness. The result is an even more dynamic, responsive car that also delivers superior ride comfort.

The Ferrari Design Centre-penned Ferrari Portofino is an aggressively-styled car with a two-box fastback configuration – unprecedented in a coupé-convertible with a retractable hard top – that adds extra sleekness to its silhouette, lending it a sportier character without impinging on its elegance and dynamism.

Close collaboration between the Aerodynamics department and Ferrari Design has ensured maximum efficiency in the development of the surface treatment. Starting with the front, the form of the large radiator grille opening, that stretches from edge to edge of the carefully contoured nose, is underscored by a new full-LED headlight assembly with a more horizontal shape. The outside edge of the headlight hides an innovative air intake which vents into the front wheelarch and exits along the flank to reduce drag.

The tail design underlines the car’s sporty stance which has been further enhanced by placing the tail lights futher apart. This elegant solution cleverly conceals the rear volume housing the all-new RHT which features a more lightweight design and can be raised or lowered at low speeds.

There was also a particular focus on board comfort which is guaranteed by a slew of new features, not least an infotainment system with 10.2” touchscreen display, a new air-conditioning system that improves occupant comfort both with the top up or down, a new steering wheel, 18-way electrically adjustable seats with a new backrest design that boosts legroom for rear seat passengers, and the passenger display. All occupants will particularly appreciate the new wind deflector which, when the top is dropped, cuts air flow inside the cabin by 30% and also reduces aerodynamic noise.

The Ferrari Portofino will make its world debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September.

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mm

From supercar spotting on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Won has moved onto the realms of motoring journalism since 2011. He has a keen eye for automotive photography, a penchant for fast cars, and the occasional hunger for munching corners.

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