Ferrari has been quite busy, as one would expect when you have nearly a year-long birthday celebration. Ferrari’s 70th anniversary also sees the launch of a new Ferrari, the Portofino.

It was often a hot topic whether the old entry-level Ferrari cabrio, the California, was a proper Ferrari or not. I mean, sure, it is one of the best-selling models in the brand’s history and did introduce a lot of new market segments to the prancing horse, but the Cali and the Cali T were always a bit too…soft, too boulevardier. But with the new one, things have moved away from California and closer to Maranello.

The Portofino (it’s near impossible to say that name without an accent) is visibly a much sharper car, a ‘proper’ Ferrari now. It’s a convertible that you can hoon around in on a track if you want to, what with Nürburgring testing being a part of Ferrari’s testing regime nowadays. The aggressive looks are thanks to the work of in-house design guys Centro Stile and give the Portofino a sporty coupe silhouette when the hard-top roof is in place.

It’s not just a cosmetic job. Ferrari has used an all-new aluminium chassis using a newly developed manufacturing technique which reduces the complexity of the process while improving torsional rigidity and also cutting weight. In total, this one is 80kgs lighter than the Cali T.

There are new bits in that award-winning 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 too, including improved pistons and con rods, while also working on the engine management software. The result is a hike in the outputs with the Maranello unit now producing a max 590bhp and 760Nm of torque. That monstrous torque being available through a wide enough rev range, 3000 to 5250rpm. It’s clever too, using Ferrari’s Variable Boost Management for a turbo unit that can mimic the behaviour of a naturally aspirated engine.

One of the most Ferrari-esque specs on the Portofino however, is that it gets an electronic differential – E-Diff3 – which like other Ferraris is integrated with the traction system to offer face-distorting turn-in grip. This is also the second Ferrari to get fully electronic power steering after the 812 Superfast, and word has it that it works just fine.

On the surface, there’s a surprising number of aero elements considering it’s basically a convertible sportscar-cum-grand tourer. The Portofino sports air-intakes either side of the LED headlights which vent into the front wheelarches and the airflow then exits along the side of the body for less drag. All of that while still looking beautiful, thanks to Ferrari’s design director Flavio Manzoni for working in aerodynamics into Ferrari’s evolving aesthetics.

The car will be shown in the flesh at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.


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