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Ferrari Portofino: 10 facts about the California T's replacement

Ferrari has unveiled the Portofino, the California T's replacement and entry-level offering, at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Here is what you need to know, including just how fast it is and what's new.

The expression 'soft Ferrari' is a bit misleading, but those who buy the California T are really asking for exactly that. Think something fast and desirable, but also moderately practical and comfortable on long journeys. Now that is the job of the Portofino.

Named after a village in the Italian Riviera, the Ferrari Portofino can transform from 'berlinetta coupe' to drop-top in a matter of seconds, while delivering a V8 bark, supercar pace and rear seats. So what else is worth knowing, you ask? Allow us to elaborate now that almost all details have emerged.

1) Ferrari Portofino: What is it?

An affordable Ferrari. Okay so no Ferrari is affordable, but the 2+2 Ferrari Portofino drop-top is an entry-level car that replaces the California T. It was unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

2) Ferrari Portofino: Does it look good?

If you like how the Ferrari 812 Superfast looks, then yes, because the Portofino shares similar coupe proportions, L-shaped lights and an aggressive backend with meaty exhausts. Truth be told, we find the elegance a little refreshing compared to some of the more recent Ferraris.

3) Ferrari Portofino: What about roar power?

The Ferrari Portofino is powered by the same 3.8-litre V8 engine as the California T, but it now delivers an extra 39bhp for a total of 592bhp at 7,500rpm. As for torque, you get 560lb/ft (760Nm) from 3,000 to 5,250rpm that is sent to the rear wheels. No complaints here.

4) Ferrari Portofino: How is it more powerful?

Firstly, there is a variable-displacement oil pump that is said to reduce hydraulic power requirements by 30 per cent, while a new intercooler increases the level of cooling for the engine and a new exhaust helps with exhausty things. All help boost the horsepower. Throttle response is said to be better, too.

5) Ferrari Portofino: Does it feature Variable Boost Management?

The Ferrari Portofino does, indeed, which means torque is reduced in lower gears to ensure the power is delivered effectively and without (as much) loss of grip. That and Ferrari's E-Diff3 electronic limited-slip differential mean it will be easier to maximise on a road (if you have a death wish) and track.

On a related note, the Portofino is the first Ferrari to feature electronically-controlled by-pass valves that can control the level of exhaust noise. At ignition, it is closed for a moderate sound, while Comfort Manettino opens it a little for a bit more noise and Sport will upset the neighbours.

6) Ferrari Portofino: Is it a bit fat?

The Portofino is 80kg lighter compared to the California T, which is a significant difference (1664 vs 1744kg). Yet despite going on a diet, clever production techniques such as 'sand-casting' have allowed for a 35 per cent stiffer body, which means it will be better in the corners.

7) Ferrari Portofino: Fast, then?

0-124mph (200kmh) takes 10.8 seconds and 0-62mph (100kmh) is dispatched in 3.2 seconds, making it one-tenth of a second faster than the California T and one-tenth slower for the all-wheel drive (but also heavier V12-powered) Ferrari GTC4Lusso.

The Portofino's top speed, meanwhile, is somewhere beyond 199mph (320kmh) and it can stop from 62mph to standing in just 34 metres, thanks to 390mm carbon-ceramic brake discs at the front, 360mm at the rear and multiple bitey calipers.

8) Ferrari Portofino: What about the electric roof?

By completely redesigning the retractable hard top roof, Ferrari has enabled owners to store two 'cabin trolleys' in the boot with the roof down and three with it up. Opening and closing the roof can be done at low speeds, as opposed to stationary, and the process takes 14 seconds.

On the subject of air, a new wind deflector is said to reduce noise when you are enjoying open-top motoring. A new infotainment system and steering wheel are also new additions.

9) Ferrari Portofino: Can I get anyone in the back?

Maybe a Jack Russell or two if you are lucky, but humans with legs may want to travel in something else. With that said, Ferrari has redesigned the front seats to generate more space for the rear ones, so it should be a little easier to cope with. Or you can just get more shopping back there.

10) Ferrari Portofino: How much does it cost?

Unfortunately Ferrari is yet to reveal how much the Portofino will cost, but as the entry-level car it is going to undercut everything else before you start faffing with extras. We expect a price of around £160,000.

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