The Ferrari Portofino is the new V8 GT set to dominate its segment thanks to a perfect combination of outright performance and versatility in addition to a level of driving pleasure and on-board comfort unparalleled on the market. Capable of unleashing a massive 600 cv and sprinting from 0 to 200 km/h in just 10.8 seconds, the Ferrari Portofino is the most powerful convertible to combine the advantages of a retractable hard top, a roomy boot and generous cockpit space complete with two rear seats suitable for short trips. The new car, which takes its name, Portofino, from one of the most charming villages on the Italian Riviera, an eponym for stylish elegance, is the most versatile model in the range. A Ferrari designed to be driven every day that also effortlessly converts from an authentic ‘berlinetta’ coupé to a drop-top capable of delivering a unique Ferrari soundtrack and superb driving pleasure even in day-to-day situations.
The retractable hard top (RHT) has been completely redesigned and can now be opened or closed in just 14 seconds on the move at lower speeds, making the car even more practical. Careful modelling of the RHT housing now allows the luggage compartment to hold two cabin trolleys with the roof down and three with the roof up. Ideal for any occasion, the Ferrari Portofino represents the perfect combination of design, performance and technology. The Ferrari Portofino is significantly lighter with the adoption of new components featuring innovative designs made possible by the use of cutting-edge production techniques. This, combined with a 40 cv higher power output than the California T, has resulted in a significant hike in performance and a corresponding drop in emissions. Vehicle dynamics benefit from the introduction, for the first time on this model, of electric power steering, the 3rd generation electronic differential (E-Diff3) and the latest evolution of the electronic suspension control system (SCM-E) integrated with Premium 9.1 ESP.
Starting with the V8 power unit, which has won the outright International Engine of the Year award for two consecutive years in 2016 and 2017, Ferrari’s engineers worked on several different fronts to deliver a power output of 600 cv at 7500 rpm, the equivalent of 156 cv/l, introducing new mechanical components as well as specific engine management software. Maximum mechanical efficiency is guaranteed by the use of high-resistance aluminium alloy pistons and con rods with innovative geometries and specially-shaped high-tumble intake manifolds. Combustion is optimised across the engine’s rev range by an ion-sensing system with adaptive ignition and multi-spark functionality. Mechanical efficiency is further optimised by a variable-displacement oil pump that reduces hydraulic power requirements by up to 30% compared to a conventional pump. The adoption of a new intercooler to simultaneously minimise fluid-dynamic losses and increase air cooling also contributes to the engine’s performance.
One of the Ferrari Portofino’s most impressive features is that it is significantly lighter than the California T. To achieve this, the Prancing Horse engineers worked extensively on every aspect of the car. All the body-in-white and chassis components were redesigned and integrated to an even greater extent. The A-pillar, for example, now consists of just 2 pieces compared to 21 different components in previous models. Modern production technologies, most notably sand-casting which allows the creation of hollow components, allowed designers to create innovative forms that are lighter. These technologies also improved body stiffness by 35% while weld lengths on the body-in-white and chassis are 30% shorter than in the previous model, enhancing assembly quality still further. The bodywork and external components have been rationalised in the same way and an example is the new retractable hard top which has been completely redesigned, including the movement mechanism, with a reduction in weight compared to the California T’s.
The car’s vehicle dynamics were optimised by working on its suspension set-up through the introduction of stiffer springs (+15.5% at the front and +19% at the rear) and by adopting the latest evolution of the magnetorheological damping system (SCM-E) to guarantee superb ride comfort. The Magnaride system has been uprated with dual-coil dampers to improve the precision and speed of adjustment of the magnetic field as well as a new ECU (Gen3) which implements control algorithms developed by Ferrari, in particular those relating to vertical dynamic control of road input frequencies. The result is improved body control and reduced roll, enhancing the sporty driving feeling, particularly when the Manettino is in ‘Sport’ mode. In ‘Comfort’ mode, on the other hand, ride comfort is superior to the previous model on rough or uneven road surfaces. The adoption for the first time on this type of Ferrari model of the third generation electronic rear differential (E-Diff3) also improved lateral performance parameters, thanks to the combined action achieved by integration with the F1-Trac traction control. This level of integration of all the electronic vehicle dynamics controls ensures that the car is easier to drive and handles even better in low grip situations, making it more versatile. The Ferrari Portofino is the first Prancing Horse GT to boast Electric Power Steering which plays a pivotal role in the feel of the car in the driver’s hands.
The Ferrari Design Centre-penned Portofino is an aggressively-styled car with a two-box fastback configuration – unprecedented in a coupé-convertible with a retractable hard top – that adds extra sleekness to its silhouette, lending it a sportier character without impinging on its elegance and dynamism. As is always the case in Ferrari, the aerodynamic development process involved every single area of the car and its development, from the initial layout choices to the management of the flows involved in heat dissipation, and the definition of every single detail of the underbody and bodywork. The Aerodynamics department and Ferrari Design collaborated on a day-to-day basis on the latter in particular. The development process focused principally on aerodynamic efficiency with a particular emphasis on cutting drag which is pivotal to both pure performance, and on keeping fuel consumption and emissions down. This goal proved challenging as Ferrari’s engineers had to guarantee improved engine heat dissipation (as power output was boosted by 40 cv) which could have resulted in an increase in Cd over the previous model. Nonetheless, they managed not just to dissipate the increased heat energy without increasing radiator dimensions but also to achieve a drag (Cd) figure of 0.312 – an improvement of 6% over the previous model.
While the Ferrari Portofino’s exterior exudes a stylish compactness and instantly marks out its GT vocation, its cabin too has also been carefully designed and developed. The Ferrari Design team pinpointed certain specific essential requirements, the foremost of these being formal and functional coherency between the car’s exterior and its interior, weight reduction and creating more space for occupants. Seen in plan view, the cockpit’s symmetrical arrangement and the improved rear seat space are clear. The dashboard architecture in particular features two shells, which incorporate all of the technical components, and a bridge which visually connects the instrument panel area with the central tunnel which, itself, was clearly conceived to act as a divider between driver and passenger. One signature characteristic of any Ferrari car is the meticulous care lavished on the selection of the materials, trims and assembly procedures. The Ferrari Portofino’s sporty yet elegant character highlights these aspects of the creative and design processes demanded to hone every last detail, marrying high-tech elements and materials with manual assembly and handcrafted finishes. The seats are also the product of a special research study and have an innovative magnesium structure. Different density padding and an ultra-compact seatback profile mean that there was more space to devote to the rear seats than in the previous model.
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