With the cutting-edge tech Ferrari stuffed inside of it, why shouldn't it?
Automakers like BMW and Audi are starting to dip their toes into more exotic build methods, signaled by the former’s new Cluster Architecture technology and the cutting edge chassis featured on the latter's new A8. But a company like Ferrari has doing that forever. With prices for an entry level Portofino starting over $200,000, one would reasonably expect it to feature the latest in lightweight chassis technology that the Prancing Horse can muster. And one would think right. New on the California T’s replacement is a chassis that’ll change the game for future Ferraris.
That's not just because of what it’s made out of but because of how it’s built. Like other cars in this segment, Ferrari uses an aluminum structure to cut weight while maintaining rigidity. However, engineers also made a huge effort to cut down on the number of parts they used to reduce complexity, increase stiffness, and of course reduce weight. One of the most notable improvements can be seen on the Portofino’s A-pillars. On the California T, these were made up of 21parts but the Portofino only requires two. Speaking to Autocar, Ferrari technology chief Michael Leiters acknowledged that the supercar manufacturer plans to use the engineering from the Portofino to style all mainstream Ferraris.
The Prancing Horse’s move to simplify its products makes a lot of sense, especially as it's lineup is poised to get heavier and more complicated with the addition of hybrid drivetrains. It also helps smooth and speed up the build process, a boon to a typically low-volume manufacturer that’s trying to raise its production cap to new heights. That’s probably why Leiters was happy to announce that, “the technology [in the Portofino] will also be carried over for use in future models.” The advantages to this approach to building a car are not to be understated, with the Portofino seeing its structural rigidity increase by 35% and weight drop by 80 kg (176 pounds) over the California T while the number of parts Ferrari had to use dropped by 40%. Not too shabby.