The California is dead, long live the Portofino!

Launched in 2008, the Ferrari California is the company’s only convertible grand tourer. At first powered by a naturally aspirated V-8, it received a twin-turbo unit in 2014, when it was redesigned and rebadged as the California T. Come 2017 and the drop-top was once again upgraded, this time around gaining more significant changes on the outside. The nameplate was again modified, which comes at no surprise given that the facelifts of both the F12berlinetta and FF brought new names into dealerships. The California was renamed the Portofino, and it’s now more powerful than ever.

While the California name was rather familiar and dates back to the late 1950s, the Portofino is a brand-new nameplate for the Italian firm. But much like California, it was also borrowed from a geographic area, this time around from the Italian town of Portofino. Ferrari explains that this name was selected because the city has become " internationally synonymous with elegance, sportiness and understated luxury." It may take a while to get used to seeing this name on a Ferrari, but needless to say, it’s more than appropriate for the redesigned California. Keep reading to find out why.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari Portofino.

Official video

Exterior

2018 Ferrari Portofino High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Just like the 812 Superfast and GTC4Lusso, the Portofino gained a bunch of aggressive lines and new features that enhance aerodynamics.

Just like every other Ferrari in the lineup, the grand tourer remains recognizable compared to the outgoing model, but features an almost completely redesigned body. Just like the 812 Superfast and GTC4Lusso, the Portofino gained a bunch of aggressive lines and new features that enhance aerodynamics.

Up front, we can still find the three-vent configuration in the bumper and the sleek headlamps, but all these features sport significant modifications. While the California T had vertical headlamps, the Portofino gained more horizontally oriented units shaped like a boomerang. The full-LED lights also hide an innovative air intake at the outside edges, which draw air into the front wheel arch and exits along the flank to reduce drag.

2018 Ferrari Portofino Exterior High Resolution
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2015 - 2016 Ferrari California T Exterior High Resolution
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Ferrari Portofino Ferrari California T
The new front end is rounded off by a new engine hood that has a big, raised section at the center.

Below, the main grille is wider and features two horizontal slats instead of three. The vertical bars are also larger and more noticeable, giving the nose a sportier look. The larger intakes on each side also reduce drag. The side vents have also been redesigned, while the apron received a black-painted splitter that’s more aggressive than before. The new front end is rounded off by a new engine hood that has a big, raised section at the center. The rearward oriented vents are still there, but they have been reshaped for optimized airflow.

Similar changes are visible around the sides. While the California T’s beltline and character lines are still there, Ferrari reshaped the crease that adorns the front fenders and doors, as well as the side skirts, which are now also black for a striking accent with most light paint colors. The rear haunches appear to be identical to the California T, but that’s actually a good thing as it’s one of the convertible’s sexiest features.

2018 Ferrari Portofino Exterior High Resolution
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2015 - 2016 Ferrari California T Exterior High Resolution
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Ferrari Portofino Ferrari California T
Combined with the larger vertical fins, the new diffuser makes the Portofino look like a full-time race car from behind.

Changes are equally significant around back. Just like the other new Ferrari we saw recently, the Portofino sports a more cohesive design. The taillights have been moved closer to the outer edges of the fascia and are better integrated into the design thanks to the wider spoiler. The latter now extends from one corner to the other instead of being shorter than the cars width. The license plate recess is smaller and more subtle, which gives the bumper a more modern look. Finally, the new diffuser is more aggressive and sticks out of the body by several inches. Combined with the larger vertical fins and the new exhaust pipes, it makes the Portofino look like a full-time race car from behind.

2018 Ferrari Portofino Exterior High Resolution
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2015 - 2016 Ferrari California T Exterior High Resolution
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Ferrari Portofino Ferrari California T

With the roof up, we can notice a few small changes. For starters, the top sits just a tad lower toward the rear of the door, where the window is noticeably smaller. The quarter window is a bit longer though, giving the car a sleeker look when the top is up. There’s no word as to how long it takes to put the hardtop on, but we do know that the California T needed around 14 seconds. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.

All told, while the California T was by no means dated, I have to give Ferrari credit for redesigning the exterior after only three years on the market. With both the 812 Superfast and GTC4Lusso almost brand-new, it’s a good decision because it keeps the entire lineup fresh. And it’s the kind of thing you expect from an automaker such as Ferrari.

Exterior Dimensions

Length (Inches) 180.55
Width (Inches) 76.29
Height (Inches) 51.88
Weight distribution 46-54% front/rear

Interior

2018 Ferrari Portofino High Resolution Interior
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The cabin also received its fair share of upgrades, but don't look for anything radical.

The cabin also received its fair share of upgrades, but don’t look for anything radical. Save for some nips and tucks here and there, the interior layout is very similar to the California T. The most obvious modifications lie in the dashboard, which has an almost fully revised lower section. The passenger side includes a thin screen that gives the occupant access to the infotainment system, while the main screen is significantly wider, now measuring 10.2 inches. Below there are two consoles for buttons and knobs, with the smaller one actually incorporating the controls previously placed around the display.

Ferrari also revised the steering wheel, which has redesigned controls, and the instrument cluster, which has a sportier looking hood and new displays. We can also see changes on the driver side controls, as well as new trim for the A/C vents.

2018 Ferrari Portofino High Resolution Interior
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There's also a new wind deflector which, when the top is dropped, cuts air flow inside the cabin by 30%.

The 18-way adjustable seats have a new backrest design that enhances legroom for rear passengers, while the new air conditioning system improves comfort both with the top up or down. There’s also a new wind deflector which, when the top is dropped, cuts air flow inside the cabin by 30% and also reduces aerodynamic noise.

As usual, the Portofino is available with a wide range of upholstery colors and materials, extra carbon-fiber elements, and almost infinite options from Ferrari’s customizing division. All you need for that is a big wallet.

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2015 - 2016 Ferrari California T Interior High Resolution
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Ferrari Portofino Ferrari California T

Drivetrain

2015 - 2016 Ferrari California T High Resolution Drivetrain
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Note: Ferrari California T engine pictured here.

The V-8 suffered many modifications, including new pistons and conrods, and a new intake system design.

Not surprisingly, the Portofino hides the California T’s turbocharged, 3.9-liter V-8 engine under the hood. The twin-turbo unit was introduced in 2014 and it has since prompted Ferrari to use forced induction in other models too.

For the Portofino, the V-8 suffered many modifications, including new pistons and conrods, and a new intake system design. The geometries throughout the exhaust system have also been revised, with the new one-piece-cast exhaust header reducing losses and helping the drivetrain send power to the wheels with zero turbo lag. The reprogrammed Variable Boost Management adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected, enabling the Portofino to offer even higher levels of acceleration in all gears and lower fuel consumption compared to the California T.

The V-8 now cranks out 592 horsepower, a 40-horsepower increase over the California T.

But is it more powerful? Yes it is. The V-8 now cranks out 592 horsepower, a 40-horsepower increase over the California T. Torque has also gone up, but the current 561 pound-feet rating is only four pound-foot higher. Naturally, the Portofino also performs better. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 3.5 seconds, while top speed is rated at 199 mph. By comparison, the California T needs 3.6 clicks and tops out at 196 mph. Granted, these gains are far from huge, but they’re pretty solid for the extra 40 horsepower.

Of course, these improvements are also the result of new technology. Specifically, the Portofino gained Ferrari’s third-generation electronic rear differential (E-Diff3), which has been integrated with the F1-Trac system, thus improving both mechanical grip and control at high speeds. The Portofino is also the first GT to use EPS (Electric Power Steering), which reduces the steering ratio by seven percent for even more responsive steering without a trade-off in stability. The magnetorheological damping system (SCM-E) has been upgraded with dual-coil technology which helps reduce body roll and improves absorption of road surface unevenness.

Overall, the Portofino should be more dynamic and responsive than the California T, while delivering superior ride comfort at all speeds.

Ferrari Portofino Ferrari California T
Engine V8 – 90° V8 – 90°
Overall displacement 3,855 cm3 3,855 cm3
Horsepower 592 HP @ 7,500 RPM 552 HP @ 7,500 RPM
Torque 561 LB-FT @ 3,000-5,250 RPM 557 LB-FT @ 4,750 RPM
Top Speed 199 mph 196 mph
0 to 62 mph 3.2 seconds 3.6 seconds

Prices

Pricing for the new Ferrari Portofino is not yet available, but it’s safe to assume that it will cost more than the outgoing California T. With the latter priced from $206,473, expect the Portofino to fetch at least $220,000 before options.

Competition

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster

2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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When it comes to grand tourers, there’s no better firm to go to than Aston Martin. Sure, the current Vantage may be a bit old and on its way to a full redesign, but the V12 S Roadster still has what it takes to give the Portofino a run for its money. The aggressive, supercar-like looks, the lush interior, and the massive engine are as appealing as they get and performance figures aren’t bad either. Rated at 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque, the Vantage S Roadster isn’t as powerful as the Ferrari though, and this become pretty obvious when you look at the 0-to-62 mph sprint, which is rated at 3.9 seconds. But while the Aston Martin is nearly a half-second slower, top speed is superior at 201 mph. Priced from a little over $200,000, the Vantage S Roadster is in the same ballpark.

Read our full review of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster.

Maserati GranCabrio

2018 Maserati GranTurismo
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2018 Maserati GranTurismo
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The GranCabrio is also pretty old and received fewer updates compared to the Vanquish. However, Maserati’s latest update was introduced for the 2018 model year and brings just enough new features to keep it fresh. The Italian grand tourer remained largely the same design-wise, but the bumpers, front grille, side vents, and diffuser have noticeable upgrades. The same goes for the cabin, which sports new high-fashion stitching for the seats, a revised center console, a new 8.4-inch infotainment screen, and a Harman Kardon premium audio system. Unfortunately, the 4.7-liter V-8 carried over unchanged, so output is still rated at only 454 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of twist, significantly below the competition. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes around 4.6 seconds, making the GranCabrio the slowest of the pack. On the other hand, it’s also the most affordable with a sticker set under the $150,000 mark.

Read our full review of the Maserati GranTurismo.

Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

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2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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if you’re not a stickler for front-engined layouts, the Porsche 911 Turbo and its rear-engined configuration provides a pretty solid package. Actually, you can’t go wrong with it if you’re looking to buy the fastest grand tourer available. Updated for 2017, it gained a number of revisions inside and out, but the most important upgrade is under the hood, in the form of a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter flat-six that cranks out 580 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque in Turbo S spec. Equipped with the PDK transmission and the Sport Chrono package, the Turbo S Cabriolet needs only 2.9 seconds to hit 60 mph and tops out at an amazing 205 mph. It’s by far the most potent car in this comparison and it’s not as expensive as the Ferrari and Aston Martin, retailing from $203,000.

Read our full review of the Porsche 911 Turbo.

Conclusion

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While the GTC4Lusso and the 812 Superfast took me by surprising with their significant exterior updates, the Portofino is far from shocking. And no, that doesn’t mean the update is bland, it’s just that I was kind of expect Ferrari to do an almost complete redesign. And needless to say, the Portofino has what it takes to keep Ferrari enthusiasts excited. The exterior is aggressive and stylish, the interior gets new tech, while the V-8 engine boasts more power and delivers enhanced performance. Ferrari’s lineup is finally complete, with all four models updated over the last 18 months. All Maranello needs now is a successor to the LaFerrari!

  • Leave it
    • * No match for the incredible Porsche 911 Turbo S
    • * Awkward name?

References

2015 - 2016 Ferrari California T High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the Ferrari California T.

2009 Ferrari California
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Read our full review on the Ferrari California.

Press release

The Ferrari Portofino is the new V8 GT set to dominate its segment thanks to a perfect combination of sportiness, elegance and on board comfort.

Ferrari has chosen a particularly evocative moniker for this exceptionally versatile drop-top car, referencing one of Italy’s most beautiful towns. Portofino is renowned for its charming tourist port and, over the years, has become internationally synonymous with elegance, sportiness and understated luxury. The launch colour of the new Ferrari has also been dedicated to this marvellous town: Rosso Portofino.

2018 Ferrari Portofino High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Capable of unleashing a massive 600 cv and sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.5 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 plus two rear seats suitable for short trips.

The Ferrari Portofino’s all-new chassis features a significant weight saving over the California T it replaces. Thanks to the extensive use of modern production technologies, all the chassis and body-in-white components have been redesigned with a consequent reduction in weight despite an increase in torsional rigidity.

Engine

The renowned Ferrari V8 turbo, part of the engine family that was nominated International Engine of the Year in both 2016 and 2017, now punches out 40 cv more than the California T’s power unit thanks to the adoption of new components and specific calibration of the engine management software. The characteristic Ferrari V8 soundtrack has also been further enhanced and can be fully appreciated, particularly in top-down driving.

All aspects of the 8-cylinder’s efficiency have been honed with the adoption of new pistons and con-rods, and a new intake system design. The geometries throughout the exhaust system have also been revolutionised. The new one-piece-cast exhaust header reduces losses, an important factor in ensuring Ferrari’s characteristic throttle response with zero turbo lag. These improvements, combined with the Variable Boost Management which adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected, enable the Ferrari Portofino to offer even higher levels of acceleration in all gears and lower fuel consumption compared to the outgoing model.

2018 Ferrari Portofino High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Vehicle dynamics

The Ferrari Portofino’s vehicle dynamic characteristics have been completely revised and benefit from the introduction of new technological solutions. For the first time on this type of Ferrari model, the third generation electronic rear differential (E-Diff3) has been adopted and integrated with the F1-Trac, improving both mechanical grip and the control of the car on the limit. The Ferrari Portofino is also the first GT in the range to be fitted with EPS (Electric Power Steering). This allowed the engineers to reduce the steering ratio by seven per cent for even more responsive steering without a trade-off in stability thanks to the integration with the E-Diff3. The magnetorheological damping system (SCM-E) has been uprated with dual-coil technology which helps reduce roll while simultaneously improving absorption of road surface unevenness. The result is an even more dynamic, responsive car that also delivers superior ride comfort.

Design & Aerodynamics

The Ferrari Design Centre-penned Ferrari 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.

Close collaboration between the Aerodynamics department and Ferrari Design has ensured maximum efficiency in the development of the surface treatment. Starting with the front, the form of the large radiator grille opening, that stretches from edge to edge of the carefully contoured nose, is underscored by a new full-LED headlight assembly with a more horizontal shape. The outside edge of the headlight hides an innovative air intake which vents into the front wheelarch and exits along the flank to reduce drag.

The tail design underlines the car’s sporty stance which has been further enhanced by placing the tail lights futher apart. This elegant solution cleverly conceals the rear volume housing the all-new RHT which features a more lightweight design and can be raised or lowered at low speeds.

2018 Ferrari Portofino High Resolution Interior
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Comfort on board

There was also a particular focus on board comfort which is guaranteed by a slew of new features, not least an infotainment system with 10.2” touchscreen display, a new air-conditioning system that improves occupant comfort both with the top up or down, a new steering wheel, 18-way electrically adjustable seats with a new backrest design that boosts legroom for rear seat passengers, and the passenger display. All occupants will particularly appreciate the new wind deflector which, when the top is dropped, cuts air flow inside the cabin by 30% and also reduces aerodynamic noise.

The Ferrari Portofino will make its world debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September.

Technical Specification Summary

Engine
Type V8 – 90°
Overall displacement 3855 cm3
Maximum power output * 441 kW (600 cv) at 7500 rpm
Maximum torque * 760 Nm from 3000 to 5250 rpm

Weight and Dimensions
Length 4586 mm
Width 1938 mm
Height 1318 mm
Weight distribution 46-54% front/rear

Performance
Maximum speed >320 km/h
0-100 km/h 3.5 sec

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions**
Fuel consumption 10.5 l/100 km
Emissions 245g CO2/km

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