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Ferrari Portofino sprints in from $398,888 BOCs

California dreaming: The Ferrari Portofino has been built from the ground up to replace the outgoing California T convertible.

New V8 Portofino hard-top convertible to play conquest role for Ferrari in Aus


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22 Feb 2018

FERRARI’S Portofino retractable hard-top convertible races into Australian showrooms this week from $398,888 plus on-road costs and the company’s local chief says the all-new model will lure new buyers to the iconic brand.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the Portofino in Byron Bay this week, Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth said the new model will play the role of conquest vehicle for the Italian brand.

“We expect that at least 70 per cent (of buyers) will be new to Ferrari,” he said.

“It’s our vehicle that we get most of our conquest clients from. It’s the entry point to Ferrari ownership.”

Mr Appleroth said that the popularity of the Portofino will stem from its varied usability, with the Maranello brand sharpening the performance of the vehicle over the California T it replaces, while emphasising ride comfort, versatility and practicality.

He said that he expected the Portofino to be the single most popular variant in the Ferrari range.

“It will probably be number one in its individual model.

“Overall the (three-variant) 488 is higher … we have 488 GTB, 488 Spider, 488 Pista, but individually the Portofino will probably be number one.”

At $398,888 plus on-roads, the Portofino checks in $11,000 under the $409,888 California T, with Ferrari using the same pricing structure as the 812 Superfast which resigns more features to the options list, lowering the starting price and allowing owners to tailor options to suit their individual needs.

Mr Appleroth said the order books are currently full for the next 12 months, adding that he expected that number to increase once prospective buyers can see and drive the car for themselves.

Under the bonnet, the Portofino retains the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8, with power boosted by 29kW/5Nm over the California T for a final output of 441kW at 7500rpm and 760Nm from 3000-5250rpm.

Increases to the outputs were due to changes including an all-new exhaust system, electronically controlled bypass valves, variable-displacement oil pump, new intercooler and Ferrari’s Variable Boost management software, which adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected and thus allowing for different torque curves through the rev range and taller ratios on high gears.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via a carry-over seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while stopping power comes courtesy of carbon-ceramic brakes measuring 390mm by 34mm at the front and 360mm by 32mm rear.

The increase in output has helped shave 0.1 seconds off the zero to 100km/h sprint, which now takes just 3.5s, while reaching 200km/h takes 10.8s. Top speed is 320km/h.

Consuming an average of 10.7 litres per 100km, the International Engine of the Year-winning V8 also emits 245 grams of CO2 per km.

Maranello engineers have focused on making the Portofino lighter than the model it replaces, while increasing body rigidity and stiffness.

The new aluminium chassis has been redesigned to include fewer components than before, and modern production technologies such as sand casting, which allows the creation of hollow components, further reduces weight.

Body stiffness has increased by 35 per cent, while weld lengths have been reduced by 30 per cent.

Magnesium alloy has been used in the seat construction, and the new retractable hard-top folding roof has been designed with weight reduction in mind. The new roof takes 14 seconds to fully open or closeThe result is a kerb weight of 1664kg, making the Portofino 80kg lighter than the California T.

To sharpen handling, spring stiffness has increased by 15.5 per cent at the front and 19 per cent at the rear, and the latest iteration of Ferrari’s Magnaride damping system has been adopted to optimise ride comfort.

Weight distribution for the front-engined 2+2 coupe is divided 46/54 per cent front/rear.

The third-generation electronic rear differential has been implemented into the Portofino for enhanced grip and vehicle control, while electric power steering has been adopted for the first time in a Ferrari GT car, which it says leads to improved responsiveness and natural feedback and assistance.

Aerodynamic efficiency was a key factor in determining the exterior design of the Portofino, and as such has resulted in a 6 per cent reduction in drag coefficient.

Stylistically, Maranello’s latest offering gets redesigned, more aggressive headlights, a number of aerodynamic touches including a large front splitter and aggressive rear diffuser, and larger intakes on the sides of the front fascia.

The Portofino rides on 20-inch alloy wheels shod in 245/35 front and 285/35 rear Pirelli P-Zero rubber.

Inside, the Portofino gains a 10.25-inch touchscreen display, dual TFT instrument cluster displays on either side of the analogue tachometer, a more compact seat design for greater rear legroom and multifunctional steering wheel, while 18-way adjustable electric seats are available as an option.

At 292 litres, boot space has increased by 52L over the California.

Ferrari has reduced noise and wind intrusion into the cabin, with an 8dB cut in noise levels, and 30 per cent reduction in air flow over the body when the roof is down, thanks to a new wind deflector.

First deliveries of the new Portofino are expected to commence in the third quarter of the year. It is the third new vehicle released by the Prancing Horse brand in the past year, following the 812 Superfast and GTC4Lusso.

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