Portofino - the

everyday Ferrari

Ferrari Portofino, 2019, side
Ferrari Portofino, 2019, front
Ferrari Portofino, 2019, front, static
Ferrari Portofino, 2019, rear, static
Ferrari Portofino, 2019, rear
Ferrari Portofino, 2019, side, static
Ferrari Portofino, 2019, interior

ANYONE just uttering the word Ferrari immediately conjures up images of a superfast, gorgeous looking, expensive sports car.

They are vehicles that offer the ultimate in terms of performance, that are exhilarating to drive and well worth their expensive price tag.

Yet even with the vast experience of making such super cars for more than seven decades Ferrari don't always quite get it right.

The California T arrived 10 years ago as the grand tourer to have but it was never quite the soar away success the Italians had hoped for with its rather soft and wallowy ride - more suited to Americans and their roads.

But that's certainly all changed with the arrival of its successor - the Portofino - which is not only the most stylish and best looking drop-top grand tourer now in the market it's far more refined.

The Portofino is loaded with all the latest technology and offers a far more superior performance than the California T ever provided.

The key technical changes are not only an extra 38bhp added to the 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbo to give it 600bhp but it has far more all-round body rigidity with stiffer suspension, special stronger dampers plus a new lighter chassis using more aluminium, an electromechanical steering set up plus a new sophisticated valve system.

The Portofino is 35 per cent lighter than its predecessor with 80kg shaved off and with a much improved seven-speed automatic gearbox complete with the obligatory paddles on the steering wheel for manual changing.

It's super sports car to suit all tastes and it also looks more elegant but still typically Ferrari.

Nevertheless, the key twin features are that it remains an exhilarating and thrilling car to drive but with increased comfort it's now more practical and versatile to be used as an everyday car.

This means the Portofino is not the kind of super sports car to be just brought out for weekend or special occasion drives but to be enjoyed on a daily basis.

It's so easy and comfortable to drive, whether trundling through busy city streets or motoring through the countryside.

Even so this car is all about outright performance and yes it will zip from 0 to 62mph in just over three seconds, has a wicked claimed top speed of 199mph if you should dare on a race circuit somewhere yet throughout it retains excellent road holding and is really rigid with the hard roof down.

Having driven the new Portofino two of the perhaps lesser known pleasing aspects - apart from excellent straight-line acceleration - are the large amounts of mid-range torque and the smoothly sweet (and swift) gear changes up and down.

The column mounted paddle shifts are what most drivers will probably use and they need only the slightest of nudges to operate - which comes with a lovely little rasping exhaust note too.

Alternativel, push the automatic button down on the centre console and let the mechanics do the work and again drivers won't be disappointed. Such is the car's excellent torque it will, on deccelerating, pull away again in seventh gear from as low as 25mph.

The Portofino has all the latest electronic gizmos on board making it far more sophisticated than the old California T.

There's an extremely practical and easy-to-use 10-inch multi-touchscreen with all the usual amenities such as Apple CarPlay, sat nav and the like.

In typical sports car fashion the driver will find almost all the controls on the steering wheel, such as starter button, suspension setting, and although the actual steering wheel is slightly bigger than one would expect it does allow a clear view to the two speed/rev counters on the dashboard.

For such a comprehensively kitted out sports car everything a driver needs is within reach and vision so concentration cannot stray - an important factor for such a potent car.

The front seats offer far more all round lumbar support - the two rear seats are still really for small children - while pushing the button to both raise and lower the hard-top roof only takes about 14 seconds and can be done up to 30mph.

The Portofino, like all Ferrari cars, is about driving and in this case getting that roof down and enjoying open-top motoring.

The result is so enjoyable and enthralling- and then there's the sound.

At the push of a button, the quad exhausts come alive emitting a truly brassy sound and also change the driving modes from comfort to sport.

Driving the car is of course exciting and the Portofino has excellent stability when cornering and negotiating twisty country lanes - far more than the old California T.

And on the economy front, the official fuel return is rated at 26.4mpg with emissions of 245g/km.

Naturally, there's a price to pay for all this excitement, technological sophistication and sheer performance but at £168,390 it's good value for money, especially for those looking for an outstanding super sports car with the famous prancing horse logo.

Added to this factor is that it remains a practical and versatile everyday sports for those wanting such a car and a Ferrari in particular - they won't be disappointed.


FERRARI has taken the wraps off its new 296 GTB supercar which comes with a V6...

Read more View article

FERRARI has taken the roof off its 1,000 horsepower SF 90 Stradale to produce...

Read more View article

THE latest race-inspired special series model from Ferrari has been revealed...

Read more View article