I really like using the words ‘entry-level’ and ‘Ferrari’ in the same headline. They sound weird together, but it’s genuinely a thing that exists, like “wheat-free bread” or “sexy Dalek.” Ferrari’s newest bottom-of-the-line car replaces the California, and is a very handsome 598 horsepower V8 2+2 called the Portofino.
Both the car and the launch color of the car (a red that’s somehow different from other Ferrari reds called Portofino Russo) are named after the popular tourist-destination coastal city, Portofino, Italy.
The Portofino is a hard-top convertible GT (meaning it has two little almost-vestigial rear seats, so it’s not a roadster) that’ll get you from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. It’s got almost 40 hp more from its 3.8-liter turbo V8 than the old entry-level Ferrari, the California T, and it weighs less, too. Oh, and the engine has new con-rods, pistons, and intake system design. Torque is up to 560 lb-ft (400 Nrp), and that torque delivery is managed by Ferrari’s Variable Boost Management system.
It’s got a slight rearward weight bias (46/54), and is, according to Ferrari, “the first GT in the range to be fitted with EPS (Electric Power Steering).” It’s also got such advanced tech as Ferrari’s third-gen electronic rear differential, and the suspension system is equipped with some impressively long adjectives:
The magnetorheological damping system (SCM-E) has been uprated with dual-coil technology which helps reduce roll while simultaneously improving absorption of road surface unevenness.
Magnetorheological refers to that magical magnetic ‘smart fluid’ stuff. I’m told you’re not supposed to drink it.
The retractable hard top is interesting because when up it’s a two-box fastback as opposed to a more usual three-box coupé design. The design is aggressive without looking like a cartoon monster, and I think it’s very nicely proportioned, especially with the top up.
One detail I especially like on the interior is that little narrow LCD display in front of the passenger. From what I can tell, it seems to be a touchscreen to let the passenger control the music, climate, see some of the dash information (speed and other fun stuff?) and the nav system. That’s a great idea, and works especially well in a cockpit-style interior/dashboard like this.
It’s set to be shown at Frankfurt next month; pricing hasn’t been announced, but since this is Ferrari’s entry-level model, how bad could it be, right? Probably barely more than a Honda Fit, I bet. Right?