Ferrari is set to replace their entry-level California T roadster with a new model that adopts a new nameplate. Like the predecessor, the new 2018 Ferrari Portofino is named after a geographical location but this time in the automaker’s native Italy; the model is named “Portofino”, after a coastal town in the Mediterranean Sea in Northern Italy. I understand that Ferrari selected the name because the seaside town is synonymous with sportiness, elegance and ultimate luxury. Like the California T, the Portofino is a front-engine, rear-drive roadster. It still retains the California T’s retractable hardtop. Compared to the California T, the Portofino is more powerful, lighter and thus quicker.
2018 Ferrari Portofino Exterior
The model is easily recognizable as a Ferrari; actually, it is more recognizable than the predecessor. The grille looks wider and has two horizontal slats while its vertical bars look larger making the snout look sportier. Surrounding the grille are horizontal full LED headlights with a boomerang shape. The headlight clusters hide wisely designed air intakes on the outer edges which channel air onto the front wheel arch which then exits on the sides, a move that greatly reduces drag. The apron flaunts a more aggressive, black-painted splitter. The engine hood has been redesigned and features a huge, elevated center-section. The vents on the hoods have been revised for better airflow.
The flanks feature revised creases and side skirts while the rear haunches are identical to those of the California T. There is also black accenting to enhance the model’s looks.
At the rear, the model’s taillights have been pushed closer to the edges, a design Ferrari is using on its new models. The rear also features a wider spoiler that stretches from corner to corner. There is new, more aggressive diffuser which protrudes from the body. The exhaust tips are also new while its vertical fins have been enlarged making it rear profile look like that of a dedicated racer.
The retractable hardtop is almost identical to that of the California T.
The Portofino is 180.55 inches long, 76.29-inches wide and 51.88 inches tall.
Although not radical, the cabin of the Portofino features a number of upgrades. Compared to the California T, the Portofino features a modified dashboard. On the passenger side of the dash is a new, thin screen to enable the passenger to access the infotainment system. Designers also enlarged the main display screen to 10.2 inches below which are duo consoles for knobs and buttons; the new screen is clean devoid of any buttons. The controls that were placed around the display are now incorporated in one of the consoles. The steering wheel has also been revised while the instrument cluster has been tweaked to look sportier.
The model’s front seats are 18-way power adjustable; they feature a new design for the backrests which improves rear passengers’ legroom. The Ferrari Portofino also features an upgraded air conditioning system. There is a new wind deflector that reduces airflow into the cabin by a whole 30% when the roof is dropped; this helps to minimize aerodynamic noise.
Buyers will have an option to customize the interior of the roadster for an extra cost; a service offered by the automaker’s customizing division.
Engine and performance
Tucked under the Portofino’s belly is a 3.9 L V-8 powerplant that spits 592 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. This is a whopping 40 hp better than the California T. Torque has however improved by a meager 4 lb-ft. The increased power output translates to a better performance with the model needing only 3.5 seconds to strike 50 mph on its way to a 199 mph top speed. In comparison, the current California T needs 3.6 seconds to strike 60 mph and has a maximum speed of 196 mph.
Transmission duty is accorded to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic system.
The 2018 Ferrari Portofino becomes the first Ferrari as well as the first GT to use Electric Power Steering (EPS) which helps to reduce steering ratio to enhance responsive steering without losing stability. It also features the automaker’s 3rd-gen electronic rear differential (E-Diff3) that integrates a F1-Trac system for better control and mechanical grip when cruising at high speeds. Ferrari has also paired dual-coil suspension with magnetorheological damping system to help reduce body roll as well as enhance shock absorbs for a better ride comfort.
Other adjustments include revised Variable Boost Management that varies torque delivery to go with the gear selected. The exhaust system geometry is also modified; it features a single-piece-cast header to help reduce losses and facilitate transmission without any turbo lag.
Price and release date
Ferrari is set to showcase the model at the Frankfurt Auto show which will be held from September 12. Pricing details are not available but I think it wise to assume the Portofino will be more expensive than the California T. The latter has an MSRP of $206,473; I think the Portofino will attract in excess of $220,000.
Like its predecessor, the 2018 Ferrari Portofino will compete with the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster.