Cross an item off our bucket list because we drove a Ferrari Portofino over the weekend and it was every bit as spectacular as we might have hoped. A drop-top GT of considerable versatility, the new model takes both its name and inspiration from one of Italy’s most beautiful port towns. Going one step further, the car’s striking launch colour, Rosso Portofino, is likewise dedicated to the popular Italian town. To slip behind the wheel of this sporty stunner is to feel the ultimate thrust of power and style at your fingertips. More than a dream come true, this was a dream we never wanted to wake up from.
As Ferrari’s newest V8 GT, the Portofino strikes an exceptional balance between sportiness, comfort, and sophistication. Making full use of an all-new chassis and modern production technology, the car comes in lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, the legendary California T. Under the hood is a V8 turbo engine, naturally, which features new pistons and con-rods, a new intake design system, and upgraded geometries throughout the exhaust system.
Upon turning the key of this lean and luxurious GT, that V8 engine roars to life by way of its unmistakable soundtrack. Thanks to new features like a onepiece-cast exhaust header and Variable Boost Management software, the car produces impeccable throttle response, adaptive torque delivery, swift acceleration with zero lag, and better fuel economy than the outgoing California T. Put it all together and the car generates a whopping 600 cv and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds flat.
To further improve upon things like handling and aerodynamics, Ferrari piled in the technological upgrades. That includes a third-generation electronic rear differential, which has been integrated with the F1-Trac to establish better mechanical grip and control. The Portofino is also the first GT in the range to host Electric Power Steering, which reduces the steering ratio by 7% and delivers better responsiveness without making sacrifices to stability.
Ferrari GTs are just as advanced on the surface of things as they are under the skin and the Portofino is no exception. From its slightly elongated configuration to its large radiator grille opening to its horizontal LED headlight assembly, the car delivers an impeccably sleek aesthetic. Concealed by the outside edge of each headlight is an innovative air intake, which blows into the front wheel-arch and exhales along the flank. Around the back, the taillights have been purposefully spread further apart so as to conceal the retractable hard-top (RHT).
Inside, comfort and convenience reigns supreme, especially when you keep the carry load to two passengers or less. Features include a sharp infotainment system with 10.2″ touchscreen display, along with a new A/C system, new steering wheel, and 18-way adjustable seats with new backrest designs. That’s joined by an upgraded wind deflector, which reduces interior airflow by up to 30% when the top is dropped, while furthermore cutting down on aerodynamic noise.
Suffice it to say, we were completely excited to take this red beauty for a spin. As if heeding an unspoken request, the weather was downright glorious during the weekend, and perfect for driving with the top down. Of course, no amount of bad weather would’ve stopped us from making full use of our temporary loaner, and loving every minute of it.
As we mentioned above, our particular model came in the classic exterior shade of Rosso Portofino. Providing the perfect contrast was an interior dressed in Nero, i.e. the brand’s signature black. The cabin was also decked out with special stitching and embroidered logos, all of which are available to customers for a premium. Additional upgrades included chromed edges on the front grill, aluminium brake calipers, diamond-cut forged wheels, a dual-mode shock absorber system, foldable rear seat backrest, electrochromic exterior mirrors, carbon fibre on the air-ducts, steering wheel, LEDs, under door covers, and front spoilers, a hi-fi stereo system, full electric seats, front and rear parking cameras, passenger display, and an adaptive front light system. Whew! That was one luxurious mouthful.
Upon slipping into the plush front seats, we turned the key and listened as the V8 Turbo came roaring to life. Our next move was to drop the retractable hardtop, which descended smoothly and at the press of a button. Soon enough, we were coasting through Sydney, flanked by a warm breeze, gorgeous scenery, and the bumping bass lines of our music. Like a high-powered magnet, the Portofino drew virtually every eyeball within range.
On the outskirts of the city, we hit the open road and put the V8 Turbo engine to the test…within reason. Providing seamless acceleration, the Portofino reached 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, as promised. How do we know? Because we counted down with relish. All the while, the car delivered brilliant handling and responsiveness every time we shifted gears or hit a new stretch of road.
Sportiness and sophistication collide on the Ferrari Portofino GT convertible. Sleek and aggressive on the outside and indisputably comfortable within, it provides the kind of experience you could only hope for. Imagine owning the road and whizzing like the wind, all while wrapped in a proverbial blanket of luxury. That’s what it’s like to drive a Ferrari Portofino for the weekend.