- Published On: 12 March 2018
- 4 min read
This is Ferrari’s replacement for the California is here and we get behind the wheel.
The Portofino is a 2+2 GT with a clever folding hard-top and it replaces the California. This car is the new entry point to the Ferrari range. The Portofino is sexy, seductive, and in this exclusive shade of ‘Portofino Rosso’, is simply stunning. The car’s overall design features lots of aerodynamic elements too, but the treatment is subtle. There’s an air curtain beside the L-shaped headlights and there’s the minutest of ridges at the rear end to aid downforce at the back. There is a prominent vent at the sides to channel air from the wheel arches along the body sides. The roof is a metal unit and opens and closes in 14 seconds and at speeds up to 40kph. Compared to the California, this car is lighter and marginally more space efficient. The car has a purposeful fastback appearance to it, and with the roof down, it looks like an open-top GT. It even has a useable boot.
The Portofino’s new chassis is 35 percent stiffer than the California’s, according to Ferrari and overall weight is down by 80kg. The steering is also now electro-mechanical and not from a hydraulic unit. The engine is a 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 from the California T but it’s been completely reworked. In this car, it puts out 600hp.
The cabin is a comfortable place to be in, the front seats are high quality. There’s a fairly slick, new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which comes with Apple CarPlay. And like all Ferraris, there are lots of controls on the steering. There’s a huge catalogue of options too. There’s also a manually retractable wind deflector but you can’t make use of it when the rear seats are occupied. At the back, there’s more legroom now, but it is still really a tight fit for adults.
Ferrari claims a 0-100kph time of 3.5sec and 0-200kph time of 10.8sec. There’s a good amount of mid-range torque and the engine is quite responsive. There’s a deep bassy note and brash racketcloser to the redline that sounds properly fulfilling. Power is channelled via a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox, with column-mounted paddles, that respond to downshifts with real speed and vigour. Auto mood is not as responsive as we’d have liked though. The new electric steering’s very direct and our only grouse is that it doesn’t weight up as well. In the right spaces though, this Ferrari exhibits incredible handling and is eager to be flicked into fast corners. For everyday use, ride quality is great, while not entirely supple and cosseting, it’s enough to keep you quite comfortable. The body tends to shudder a bit over really bad lumps and bumps.
Ferrari will look at launching the Portofino in India around Rs 3.5 crore (estimated, ex-showroom), that is before you option your car up. The Portofino is sexy, fast and sharp and is a relatively easy Ferrari to live with. And, on a good day, you have the option of putting the roof down too.