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Ferrari Portofino 2018 revealed ahead of Frankfurt

The California T's 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 has been worked over, now producing 441KW/760Nm in the new Portofino.
Justin Hilliard
GoAutoMedia

24 Aug 2017 • 4 min read

Ferrari has unveiled the successor to its entry-level California T model, with Australian deliveries of the Portofino coupe-convertible set to commence in the third quarter of next year.

While the Portofino is powered by the same front-mounted 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine as its predecessor, outputs have been boosted to 441kW of power at 7500rpm and 760Nm of torque from 3000-5250rpm.

These figures are up 29kW/5Nm over the California T grand-tourer, which also sent power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The 2+2-seat Portofino sprints from 0-100km/h in just 3.5 seconds, an improvement of 0.1s, while its top speed is more than 320km/h, an increase of at least 4km/h.

Engine improvements are due to a different intake system, as well as new pistons and con-rods. Additionally, the software in the engine control unit (ECU) has been recalibrated.

A new, one-piece cast exhaust header has improved the turbo's throttle response, while the bent eight's soundtrack has been further amplified.

'Variable Boost Management' limits the amount of torque available in each gear, with the full 760Nm whack only on tap when the seventh ratio is engaged, but Ferrari claims this improves in-gear acceleration and fuel efficiency.

The Italian manufacturer has added its third-generation electronic rear differential – dubbed 'E-Diff3' – which combines with its 'F1-Trac' traction control system to offer better mechanical grip and control at the limit.

Additionally, electric power steering (EPS) makes its debut, creating more responsive steering by decreasing the steering ratio by seven per cent with no loss of stability.

Bodyroll has been reduced due to an uprated 'magnetorheological' damping system – named 'SCM-E' – which features dual-coil technology that also improves absorption of road surface unevenness.

Riding on an all-new chassis, the Portofino is lighter than the 1720kg California T, which Ferrari says is "thanks to the extensive use of modern production technologies". 

The two-piece retractable hardtop (RHT) has a new lightweight design and can be raised or lowered at low speed. The two-piece retractable hardtop (RHT) has a new lightweight design and can be raised or lowered at low speed.

The new model has a front/rear weight distribution of 46/54, but an official kerb weight figure has not been released yet. Despite being lighter, torsional rigidity has been improved, too.

Fuel consumption continues to be rated at 10.5L/100km on the combined cycle test, while carbon dioxide emissions were tested at 245g/km of CO2.

Designed by the Ferrari Design Centre in collaboration with aerodynamics experts, the larger Portofino measures in at 4586mm long (+17mm), 1938mm wide (+28mm) and 1318mm tall (+2mm).

Aggressively styled with its two-door fastback configuration, the Portofino’s signature design element is its retractable hardtop (RHT), which is complemented by a large front grille opening and full-LED headlights with air intakes.

The two-piece RHT has a new lightweight design and can be raised or lowered at low speed.

Inside, a 10.2-inch touch multimedia system, 18-way electrically-adjustable front seats and a passenger display feature, as do a new air-conditioning unit and steering wheel.

Inside the Portofino, there's a 10.2-inch touch multimedia system, 18-way electrically-adjustable front seats and a passenger display feature, along with a new air-conditioning unit and steering wheel. Inside the Portofino, there's a 10.2-inch touch multimedia system, 18-way electrically-adjustable front seats and a passenger display feature, along with a new air-conditioning unit and steering wheel.

Furthermore, a new wind deflector decreases air flow in the cabin by 30 per cent when the RHT is stowed, helping to reduce aerodynamic noise on the move.

The Portofino is named after the Italian town, which is a tourist destination that "has become internationally synonymous with elegance, sportiness and understated luxury," according to the carmaker.

As such, the latest Ferrari's hero paint colour is dubbed 'Rosso Portofino', yet another homage to its namesake.

Order books for the Portofino will open when local pricing and specification are revealed in the first quarter next year. The California T is currently priced from $409,888 before on-road costs.

The Portofino will make its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

Will the Portofino become another Ferrari all-time classic design? Tell us what you think in the comments below.