Ferrari Begins Push For Cheaper Models With The Pretty Portofino

2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Frankfurt’s show floor lights gave us a new perspective on the new baby in the Ferrari lineup.

There are only so many modifications one can make to a name before it becomes tired, chewed up, and worn out—killed off by too many burdensome letters. The California T moniker wasn't quite there yet, having only gained the "T" to help buyers know that this Ferrari had two exhaust-driven spools helping it hit EPA targets, but somebody at the Prancing Horse apparently thought so because the California T’s replacement came with a new name to compliment the upgraded specs sheet.

In case Ferrari’s outlandish power outputs didn't seem to translate over well to the turbocharged engine, the Portofino’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 now makes upwards of 592 horsepower, up from the 553 ponies it previously made. Like a typical Ferrari, the driver has to bury the throttle deep, 7,500 RPM deep, to reach that level of output. Throw that twist to the rear wheels after rinsing it through the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and you get specs like 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds before the speedo quits moving and rests firmly at 199 mph. Ferrari also toiled to upgrade the Portofino’s driving dynamics over its predecessor in order to keep up with the natural rate of progress.

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Progress isn't the only reason, however. It’s also because the California T was reprimanded for bad handling and a Ferrari that handles poorly is as unpatriotic to Italy as cheddar cheese on margherita pizza or putting handcuffs on a speaker before their speech. Almost as enjoyable as driving the Portofino is the act of looking at it, something we did plenty of during the convertible’s Frankfurt reveal. With more striations and air inlets on the body, the Portofino proved to be the right way to taunt up-and-coming hypercar makers. After all, Mercedes and Aston Martin are just getting a start in the hypercar segment while Ferrari is already bored with that and looking into how it can branch into lower segments. For that task, the Portofino is far from shabby.

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