Ahead of an official debut in Frankfurt, Ferrari on Wednesday offered the motoring press and supercar fans alike the first glimpse of the Portofino, a much more focused and aggressive drop-top that will replace the California T when it goes on sale at the end of this year.
Say “goodbye” to the Ferrari California and “hello” to the Ferrari Portofino. After nine years in production, Ferrari is ditching its entry-level drop-top boulevard cruiser in favor of a model it claims is completely new from the ground up save for the powerplant which, though retuned to output a very impressive 447kW, is derived from the V8 twin-turbo that currently powers the California.
Though hugely popular with those that wanted a Ferrari tame enough for regular and secure use (thanks to its retractable hard top, 2+2 seating arrangement and comparatively generous trunk space), the California has always been a difficult car in Ferrari’s lineup and was originally conceived as a Maserati. However, as the chassis and engine became more and more complex, the company decided it didn’t fit the Maserati brand and it became a Prancing Horse instead.
To emphasize that the new car is a genuine Ferrari in terms of road-holding behavior, the company has chosen to give it a new name – Portofino (the name of an Italian village) that it hopes will further highlight the car’s European rather than US-focused driving and handling characteristics.
When the car is officially unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September, Ferrari will be more forthcoming with all of the car’s performance data. However, it has already confirmed that as well as having significantly more horsepower, a faster 0-100km/h time (just 3.5 seconds) and a 320km/h top speed, the car is much lighter and stiffer, has a clever electronic rear differential and the sort of suspension setup found in its much more ferocious 488 GTB.
All of which is enough for Ferrari to claim that when storage space, seating and its folding hard top are all taken into consideration alongside engine output, the Portofino is the most powerful vehicle of its kind on sale anywhere today. – AFP Relaxnews