The Ferrari Design Centre-penned Ferrari Portofino is an aggressively-styled car with a two-box fastback configuration – unprecedented in a coupé-convertible with a retractable hardtop – that adds extra sleekness to its silhouette, lending it a sportier character without impinging on its elegance and dynamism.
More than just good looks though, this is an everyday supercar – to prove the point, our Zeina Mokaddam got behind the wheel and took it on the streets of Kuwait City.
From first sight, the Portofino immediately looks every inch the nimble athlete – roof up or down, it looks the complete sporting GT. No compromises. Indeed, roof up, so neatly does the roofline blend in to the trunk that you’d be pushed to guess there’s a retractable roof only the flick of a switch away. This is no mean feat, and countless other marque’s failed attempts to achieve this spring to mind.
The power-folding hardtop is lighter than before despite being larger and beefed up. It can be opened and closed at speeds up to 40 kmh; but doing so is like opening a drag chute.
The body is sculpted and includes a plethora of slats, vents and intakes – all designed to drag hot air away from the engine and feed air to the intercoolers. Complex, and necessarily open, the Portofino is nonetheless fully 6 percent more slippery than the California T.
Add to this more power – 40 cv more; deduct the sizeable weight-reduction – around the mass of an averagely-sized man; plus, factor in a slight addition to maximum torque; and you’ve got a car that will take you to 200 kmh in 10.3 seconds (it launches hard), and onwards to more than 320 kmh.
The roads of Kuwait city were our canvas to put the Portofino’s chassis and suspension to the test. Ferrari claim the car’s lighter body is still 35 percent stiffer than before, and front springs are 15.5 percent firmer, 19 percent firmer in the back. It’s a sporting – but comfortable – ride ALL the time… adaptive damping sees to that.
Electrically assisted steering – only previously part of the 812 Superfast – is perhaps on its way to becoming the norm for all Ferraris. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s super-smooth and it centres well. The last one percent of feedback that you might be looking for doesn’t always appear – your heightened senses will be employed when the time comes make up for this.
Carbon-ceramic brake rotors are standard, and these offer reassuringly strong stopping power delivered in conjunction with a firm pedal feel.
Infotainment systems are a focus for both driver and passenger alike. In the Portofino neither is overlooked – as long as you select the optional touchscreen for your passenger to play with – then they’ll be able to modify navigation waypoints mid-journey.
The front seats, now with thinner – and magnesium – frames, are superbly supportive and wildly adjustable. They don’t provide enough rear leg-room for more than the briefest journey however.
Another Ferrari that’s really useable every day. This is becoming a habit for Maranello. The Portofino has picked up its predecessor’s – the California – ball, but such are its advances, it is now playing an altogether more enjoyable game.