Ferrari’s Portofino may be closely related to its California T predecessor, but the car is significantly different in that it introduces new construction methods that Ferrari plans to implement on future models.
The new construction methods have enabled the engineers to reduce weight and complexity of the chassis and body while increasing torsional rigidity. Specifically, weight is down 176 pounds while rigidity is up 35 percent.
A prime example of the new construction methods is the design of the A-pillar which consists of just two parts instead of 21 in the California T, Autocar has learned. For the whole chassis, we’re talking about a 40 percent reduction in the number of parts.
Reducing weight is the ideal strategy for performance cars because of the multiple benefits derived from it, such as improved acceleration, braking, handling and fuel economy. However, Ferrari has another reason to reduce the weight of its cars: offsetting the weight of hybrid systems to be introduced in coming years.
In the case of the LaFerrari, approximately 440 pounds is comprised by just the hybrid system. This weight was offset partially by the car’s lightweight carbon fiber monocoque chassis. However, Ferrari’s regular models use aluminum because of the material's relative ease when it comes to production and maintenance, despite it being heavier and less stiff than carbon fiber. That’s why Ferrari engineers needed to develop the new construction methods.
The next car to benefit from the new construction methods is likely to be the 488 successor due toward the end of the decade.