Although Ferrari’s California T is still raking in big profit thanks to large sale figures, the company’s plans to update the entire lineup include the big GT car as well. Built as an upgrade to the first-gen California, the California T doesn’t feel like it needs a replacement, but Ferrari obviously feels otherwise. Meet the Ferrari Portofino, the official successor of the California T. It’s named after a small fishing village in Italy, and on looks alone, it’s one of the most beautiful things the manufacturer from Maranello has ever created.
The front end is obviously inspired by the 812 Superfast, but because it doesn’t have to carry a large V12, it’s not as bulky. I would call it beautifully sculpted, with an elongated hood that slopes downwards all the way to the shark-grille opening. The headlights are aggressive, and somehow much better than the 812 units. The two large hood inserts look cool but are completely functional as Ferrari claims. The rear end is also more similar in nature to the 488 than it is to the last California T. As amazing as Ferrari’s coupes are, there’s just something special about that iconic Ferrari styling wrapped in a GT convertible body.
The interior has been updated too, but if you’ve ever driven a Ferrari built in the last five years or so, you’ll be familiar with it instantly. The materials used are better and the fit and finish are superb. Ferrari has brought their quality control to German-levels of perfection, something that would have been unimaginable just ten years ago. The seats are comfortable but immensely supportive, and you sit nice and low in the car. It may be a GT car but it feels like a nimble little sports car from behind the wheel. There’s definitely some magic going on here.
The chassis underneath is completely new, it’s both lighter in weight and stiffer in rigidity. The turbocharged V8 up front develops 592 horsepower, all of which are sent to the rear wheels alone. The modern E-Diff 3 electronic rear differential control provides incredible traction through the corners, though it can lock both wheels for some hooligan action if you’re in the mood for drifting. The sprint to 62 mph takes just 3.5 seconds, and flat out it will top 200 mph. That’s right, a convertible GT car will top the 200 barrier. What a time to be alive.
As a road car, the Portofino just might be Ferrari’s best proposition. It’s just as fast and capable on the public roads as a 458 or even an 812 Superfast, but with a lot more comfort and luxury. The top-down experience is an event on its own, but when you combine it with nimble Ferrari chassis, a screaming V8, and a name as evocative as “Portofino”, it’s a recipe destined for success.