Ferrari Portofino UK review: Italy’s super-GT tested

The Ferrari formerly known as California T?

The cynical would certainly claim that the name change to Portofino disguises the fact not much has actually been done. Yet that’s not Ferrari’s style; the Italians like to have a fiddle around with things. As well as let’s face it they have actually had sufficient time– the Cali T showed up back in 2014.

Superficially much has been rollovered: the very same base engine as well as gearbox, suspension design and also a similar framework. And the same values, this being the everyday Ferrari, one of the most functional, with the most significant boot, four seats and also a folding difficult top. Ticks a great deal of boxes, and still occupies the entry-level bounding horse position regardless of the late Sergio Marchionne once firmly insisting in an interview that this was the incorrect automobile to be the beginning Ferrari. Triggered fairly a stir at the time. The various other prancing equine fits on the platform with him ended up being very still.

What has 5 years of messing brought us?

Detail adjustments that together add up to something instead rewarding. Take the chassis. The whole body-in-white was revamped and also far better incorporated, the outcome being a 35 percent increase in structural rigidness. That’s massive, although I can’t see why Ferrari assumed making the old Cali’s A-pillar from 21 different items was ever before a practical concept. It’s currently just two.

Consider it as rationalisation. The suspension components are shown the outward bound Cali T Handling Speciale, however the software that manages them is from the 488. Spring tightness is up 15.5 and also 19 percent front and also back respectively, total weight is down 80kg. That’s an actually excellent drop. It’s the very first Ferrari GT to have electric power steering (that’s 7 percent sharper now), the aerodynamics are 6 percent much better (0.31 Cd drag factor) as well as the air disadvantage system impacts 20 percent more air, yet is 8 decibels quieter. I have actually never ever thought of Ferrari as information fanatics in any type of area except engines, however there you go.

As well as what concerning the engine itself?

Still a 3.9-litre twin turbo V8. Power is up 40bhp to 592bhp, yet it’s cleaner, much more gas effective. On paper. In truth we averaged about 17.5 mpg over the course of 300 miles of blended driving, which ain’t that grand when the insurance claim is 26.4 mpg. Way that despite 80 litres of gas on board you’re mosting likely to be looking for your following stop after around 250 miles. OK, 300-350 if you’re travelling French autoroutes.

What’s it like to use?

The engine is not the most effective thing about the Portofino. Or rather one particular aspect allows it down. No issues about the rate or the action. This is a very, extremely rapid car. Possibly faster than it requires to be to fulfil its drop-top GT function. 62mph in 3.5 secs, 124mph in 10.8 secs, and the engine– in regular Ferrari fashion– reacts even more like it’s supercharged. OK, step on it at 1,500 rpm as well as you’ll discover lag, but over 3,000 rpm you get instantaneous, neck-wrenching velocity.

So what’s the issue?

The sound. There’s no tune or tune from this flat-plane crank V8. It’s simply a level blare. As well as we know how much Ferrari likes a little volume. With the roofing down it’s usually simply annoyingly intrusive. Keep it comfortably mode and the exhaust valve is suggested to remain shut as long as you don’t provide it excessive throttle. Yet that’s a little bit like attempting to drive a Toyota Prius around in electric-only mode. Theoretically possible, but just if you creep far from traffic control at 2mph. Even in Comfort, the exhaust is too throttle/rev delicate. A car like this needs a richer, mellower engine note. Yes, even if it’s a Ferrari.

Put the roofing up?

Tried that. Quieter, yet the sound isn’t anymore enjoyable. Takes 14 seconds to raise/lower as well as it can be done at approximately 25mph, which is a brand-new function. In the Cali T you had to be fixed. Say thanks to the Portofino’s stiffer chassis– as well as the revamped bootlid which leaves the taillights still as the bootlid yawns available to ingest the roofing system.

Does it help the handling, also?

Let me put it this way: I didn’t anticipate to such as the Portofino. The Old Cali T was a bit breakable, never felt effectively keyed into the tarmac, had a great front end, however the back was less well controlled. The stiffer chassis has actually created a much better system for the suspension to function from. It’s the ride quality and also absence of scuttle shake– or any type of shake, certainly– that strikes you first. It feels extremely together (and also this in spite of those stiffer springtimes). Not a mild, cossetting vehicle, but a lot far better than in the past in terms of assistance, precision, comfort. A greater than halfway convincing cars, yet tranquil over the harsh things also.

The guiding is quickly, but Comfort has a little slack around the straightahead so feels much less hostile simply off centre than Sport. You can’t separately select modes, but the three-position manettino is refreshingly easy. Various other problems: the transmission rises upshifts when you’re billing, yet is or else kicked back as well as smooth, as well as the brakes are nice underfoot. The Portofino is much better tuned and also incorporated than the Cali T, so much more trustworthy when you’re going hard, much better natured when you’re not and much more capable all the time. Best comfortably setting as well as making use of the paddles than Sport and also bumpy road dampers, I reckon.

Exactly how is it inside?

A little bit pinched. If you’re a budget, phone or rear seat guest that is. None have that much area to have fun with. A quick reference for the front seats though, which have been revamped around a magnesium alloy structure that has actually made it possible for commendably slim seat backs, providing guests in the back some knee area.

There are new controls on the steering wheel, so the wipers as well as lights are much easier to operate and also although the seats are rather wide across the beam of light, they’re also well shaped. Keep the home windows up and also you will not require to fiddle around with the inelegant wind deflector, yet it has to do with time Ferrari established some kind of system like Merc’s Airscarf to blow hot air on the back of your neck. But this is a Ferrari: certainly it’s more important (rewarding) to focus on the carbon: ₤ 1,440 alone for the carbon cupholder. For your just as light-weight drink.

Other choices are just as funny, from ₤ 2,400 for Apple Carplay to ₤ 9,997 for the 20in two tone wheels you see here to ₤ 3,360 for the screen that tells the passenger exactly how quick you’re actually going. The matte paint? Flat beige (sorry, Aluminium Opaco) is ₤ 18,670, assisting drive the ₤ 166,251 price of the typical Portofino to ₤ 245,167 here.

What regarding opponents?

Easy, Bentley Continental GTC and also Aston DB11 Volante. The Bentley’s out on the convenience flank, the Aston holds the middle ground, the Ferrari is the sportster. All three are good-looking devils. I never utilized to think the Ferrari was, but the rear deck has actually been shaped as well as decreased into a better position, as well as the car looks extra cohesive than before. And drives by doing this, also.

This could sound outrageous, however although much boosted this is still another Ferrari for Ferrari proprietors, rather than a vehicle that’s mosting likely to nick sales from various other brands. It’s a four-seat convertible that’s even more vocal than it needs to be. Maybe that’s simply me, but in a 488 the noise is appropriate, right here it’s exaggerated. And also the Portofino doesn’t need that excess. The framework has found out just how to settle, it has to do with time the exhaust did too. Still, the best 4 seat drop leading Ferrari of the contemporary era, yet it still lacks the course and also elegance of a 250GT SWB Spyder or 275 GTB Spyder. That’s where Ferrari needs to be attracting its inspiration from. Possibly next time.



3855cc V8 twin-turbo, 592bhp @ 7500rpm, 560lb feet @ 3000-5250rpm
7spd twin clutch, RWD
0-62mph in 3.5 sec, 0-124mph in 10.8 sec, 199mph max,
26.4 mpg, 245g/km carbon dioxide