The sun has set on the Ferrari California T and a new V-8-powered grand tourer has arrived to carry its torch. In August, Ferrari revealed the sharper, more defined Portofino to replace the California T. Now the car's made its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
We use adjectives such as "sharper" because, well, look at it. The Ferrari Portofino certainly remedies the softer looks of the Ferrari California T that, whether Ferrari will call it one or not, is the entry-level vehicle to the brand. Ferrari decided on a two-box fastback configuration for the Portofino, something rarely seen in a hard-top convertible. Does it work? Oh yes, it does. The results are a sleeker shape that Ferrari says is also more aerodynamic than the California T. The design also brings Ferrari's most humble model in line with the Italian sports car maker's current design motif; we see plenty of 812 Superfast here, and that's a good thing in our eyes.
The Ferrari Portofino is powered by the marque's 3.9-liter turbocharged V-8 engine, though don't mistake it for the outgoing unit in the Ferrari California T. Ferrari has outfitted the engine with new pistons and con-rods, plus a new intake system is onboard. These tweaks, combined with a new engine calibration, provide 40 additional horsepower over the California T for a grand total of 592 hp on tap. With the extra power, a sprint from 0-62 mph happens in 3.5 seconds.
Additional engineering improvements include a one-piece-cast exhaust header to eliminate turbo lag and a variable boost management system to provide optimal torque in every gear. Really, the Ferrari Portofino and California T are related only in the segment they serve. The Portofino rides on a new chassis, which Ferrari says provides unspecified "significant weight savings" but an increase in torsional rigidity.
Purists may be upset to read the Ferrari Portofino also moves to electric power steering, but the marque promises it's for the better. The steering ratio has been reduced by 7 percent with the electric setup and steering should be even more responsive than the California T. Plus, Ferrari says it plays quite well with the Portofino's third-generation electronic-rear differential and updated damping system.
Of course, this is still a grand tourer, not a hardcore sports car. Comfort is amplified with 18-way electrically adjustable seats that provide greater leg room over the California T and a new wind deflector to further reduce airflow by 30 percent in the cabin. One doesn't purchase a Ferrari grand tourer with the possibility of ruffled hair upon arriving at a destination. Additionally, there's a 10.2-inch touchscreen unit, a new air conditioning system, and steering wheel.
As we bid farewell to the Ferrari California T, we await the dawn of the Portofino.
For more from the Frankfurt Motor Show, head to our dedicated hub.