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Future models - Ferrari - Portofino

Frankfurt show: Ferrari reveals 441kW Portofino

Drop-top gorgeous: Ferrari’s new Portofino 2+2 convertible will be launched in Australia in the first quarter of 2018.

Ferrari moves from California to Portofino with all-new entry level convertible

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Ferrari logo24 Aug 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

FERRARI has revealed a more powerful, faster and more elegant entry model, the Portofino, which it plans to present to the public at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

Sitting on an all-new lightweight platform and named after one of Italy’s prettiest seaside towns, the new open-top 2+2 V8 grand tourer replaces the California T that was originally launched in 2008 and given a makeover in 2014.

The rear-wheel-drive Portofino has been confirmed for Australia where it will be formally launched in the first quarter of 2018, with first customer deliveries expected in the third quarter.

Ferrari says the new chassis is not only lighter than the platform of the California but also more rigid, thanks to what it describes as “extensive use of modern technologies”.

The company is yet to reveal the extent of the weight savings over the California T which tips the scales at 1730kg.

The combination of lower mass and a more powerful version of Ferrari’s renowned 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 snips a tenth of a second from the 0-100km/h sprint time, down from the California’s 3.6 seconds to 3.5s. Top speed is 320km/h.

The front-mounted engine now boasts 441kW of power at 7500rpm – up 29kW from the previous iteration – and 760Nm of torque from 3000rpm to 5250rpm – up 5Nm – thanks to extensive changes that include redesigned pistons and conrods, a new intake system and a one-piece exhaust header that reduces exhaust losses.

Ferrari claims the Portofino is the most powerful convertible to combine a retractable hardtop, roomy boot and 2+2 seating.

The announcement from Maranello makes no mention of transmission which probably means the California’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be carried over.

Despite weight savings, the Portofino’s fuel economy is unchanged from its predecessor’s, at 10.5 litres per 100km.

Ferrari says the chassis has been completely revised for improved dynamic performance while improving ride comfort.

The magnetic ride control dampers that adjust according to driving style now have dual coils to reduce bodyroll while soaking up more road unevenness.

Other chassis changes include electric power steering (EPS) for the first time in Ferrari’s GT class, along with a third-generation electronic differential (E-Diff3) that works with the F1-Trac system to improve both mechanical grip and control of the car on the limit.

The Portofino is a little bigger than the California in most dimensions at 4486mm long (+17mm), 1938mm wide (+28mm) and 1318mm tall (+2mm).

The Portofino’s styling – done in-house at the Ferrari Design Centre – is unmistakeably evolutionary, but every element has been redesigned for a more aggressive, sharper appearance.

The new full-LED headlights are more horizontal to give the Portofino a wider appearance, while the grille with its black slats is bigger than before, now sitting above a black-finished aerodynamic splitter.

The tail-lights are also wider apart, again to give a more planted appearance.

A newly designed folding hard-top is said to be lighter and capable of being raised or lowered at low speeds.

Inside, the emphasis has been on more comfort and connectivity. Gains include a 10.2-inch infotainment system, an improved air-conditioning system, a redesigned steering wheel, 18-way electrically adjustable seats with a new space-saving backrest design that improves rear-seat space.

A newly designed wind deflector is said to cut air flow in the cabin by 30 per cent while also reducing noise.

Pricing for Australia is yet to be announced, but we would expect it to be not dissimilar to that of the California T which goes for $409,888 plus on-road costs.

In Australia, Ferrari has sold 113 vehicles in the year to date, up eight units on the same period of last year, according to VFACTS. This makes it second on sales volume in the $200,000-plus sportscar category, behind Porsche’s 911 with 288 sales.

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