The Portofino, like its extra export-market-savvy style identify, is all-new. The automobile’s styling is also characteristically dressy, but it surely indisputably makes for a significantly better proportioned and visually interesting automobile than the California was once. With the roof up, there are even sun shades of the Daytona in regards to the Portofino’s recumbent silhouette.
Underneath the attentively creased physique panels, in the meantime, there’s a body-in-white that’s directly lighter and 35% extra inflexible than the California’s. The automobile’s suspension has been stiffened, its magnetorheological adaptive dampers retuned and its guidance machine each quickened and converted from hydraulic energy help to electromechanical.
Under the bonnet, a reappraisal of induction and exhaust design of the automobile’s three.Nine-litre, 90-degree, flat-plane-crank, twin-turbo V8, in conjunction with the adoption of a few new internals, conjures an extra 38bhp of top energy. The Portofino’s V8 is atypical some of the newest force-fed equivalents for the reason that exhaust facets of its cylinder heads are the outer ones, and so its turbos are fastened low and huge somewhat than within the configuration that Audi and Mercedes-AMG name a ‘hot V’.
Ferrari says it experimented with each layouts however this one applications perfect in each the Portofino and 488, and delivers much less exhaust again force and a decrease centre of gravity than the opposite would. And whilst Ferrari might most effective have liberated 4lb feet of extra torque right here, for the reason that it has additionally stored 80kg within the automobile’s kerbweight, this automobile trumps Aston Martin’s similarly new DB11 Volante on energy to weight ratio by way of greater than 75bhp-per-tonne.
Remember when Maranello’s thought of an infotainment machine got here with a two-inch-wide monochrome show strip and navigation directions more difficult to observe than the pondering at the back of Donald Trump’s global business coverage? How issues trade. The Portofino’s driving force will get the acquainted duo of 5in color tool presentations flanking the central analogue rev-counter (which stay just a little busy and unintuitive), and the passenger will get their very own widescreen touch-sensitive show too (even though most effective as a £3300 possibility).
But the entire assortment is ruled by way of a 10.3in central show that carries navigation mapping you’ll be able to simply browse; that presentations routes that you’ll be able to simply observe; and that in most cases collects virtual consoles for the automobile’s variously configurable techniques that make mastering them uncharacteristically simple. For a convenience-minded GT automobile, that’s now not a foul get started.
Here’s every other wonder: at ease leather-based seats with extendable cushions which, truthful’s truthful, are indisputably much less of a steep drop to get into than a 488’s. The Portofino’s cabin stays some way off the extent of Mercedes-AMG or Audi for perceived high quality, but it surely provides little as much as both McLaren or Aston Martin.
The Portofino’s exhaust, in the meantime, has an electronically managed bypass valve, making it louder or quieter relying at the force mode you’ve decided on at the acquainted ‘manettino’ transfer. It stays quietish in ‘comfort’ mode, till you utilize greater than about 50% throttle – however makes a gorgeous, brash, brassy racket should you interact ‘sport’. The engine revs to a tremulous 7500rpm; it has an enormous swell of mid-range torque; and it responds crisply all the time and feels strangely modern in its energy supply for a extremely wired turbo. It’s at all times a minimize neatly above an AMG or Audi V8 for dramatic persona, in different phrases. Very Ferrari. But is it very grand tourer? Perhaps now not.
The gearbox, too, provides additional impetus to the slowly coagulating sense that the automobile’s id is reasonably muddled, and completely at odds with itself. The twin-clutch unit is at its perfect whilst you’re moving gears manually the usage of the column-mounted paddles, when it thunks every up- and down-shift via with actual pace and vigour. But it’s unconvincing whilst you simply go away it in ‘auto’ mode, incessantly timing its shifts with irritating hesitancy, feeling a slightly clumsy on step-off and when manoeuvring, and refusing to creep as you carry off the brake pedal. In a mid-engined supercar, all of the ones quirks are simple to forget. But in a grand tourer, easy ease-of-use issues a lot more.
In conventional Ferrari conference, the Portofino has 3 using modes which variously configure its powertrain, dampers, guidance and balance keep an eye on – but it surely additionally has a separate ‘bumpy road’ suspension override button so to have lots of the techniques set for maximum driving force engagement however the dampers set to comfortable. Suffice it to mention, the automobile has obtrusive, common want of that ‘bumpy road’ button.
The Portofino’s journey too simply turns into jittery and stressed on a vaguely undulating floor in ‘sport’ mode. It calms down just a little whilst you dial down the suspension, however by no means fairly avoids a clunk or fidget for lengthy sufficient, no matter kind of street you’re on, to effectively create the straightforward long-striding charisma of a correct GT automobile. There’s a slightly of physique shudder, too, over the worst, sharpest lumps and bumps.
The automobile’s dealing with additionally is helping to rob it of the breadth of talent had to make it appear fitted to any adventure; stress-free, every now and then, in addition to thrilling. The new electrical guidance’s very direct – infrequently much less so than is a 488’s – and whilst it has weight, doesn’t organize that weight cleverly sufficient to provide you with one thing to push in opposition to because the entrance wheels chunk. There’s nearly no stability-minded ‘dead zone’ to the Portofino’s rack across the straight-ahead, and so it calls for as a lot of your focus at the dual carriageway as a 488 would.
Away from there there’s higher information. Ferrari’s habitually efficient lateral physique keep an eye on and improbable dealing with reaction is really in proof in the way in which you’ll be able to so readily flick the Portofino into speedy corners. The automobile’s on-throttle dealing with stability has evidently been taken to new heights by way of that energetic diff – to the purpose, then again, that the entire dynamic combine now turns out a slightly over-seasoned. There’s no use for homeowners to fret: the steadiness controls paintings neatly to make the automobile really feel incisive however obedient after they’re energetic, and there’s numerous a laugh available with them on. But Ferrari’s exceptional aspect slip keep an eye on oversteer-tamer isn’t fitted right here – and with out it, you simply by no means really feel sufficiently comfy with the automobile’s guidance tempo, or have the arrogance you’d want within the predictability of the rear axle, to be vulnerable to get caught into that ultimate layer of the using enjoy.
Ferrari Portofino 2018 review | Autocar