To my Portofino, with love…

If ever I were to write a love letter to a car, the Ferrari Portofino would be the one. It serenaded me with its Ferrari V8 engine and made my eyes water with those classic Maranello curves. Whether I was driving along country lanes or cruising the coastline, the Portofino was the consummate supercar.

It started with a glance; that moment my eyes set upon your Rosso Portofino skin. Your design harks from the Ferrari 458 Italia, the F12 and the 812 Superfast, some of the most beautiful Ferraris in existence. So it was no wonder I felt a flutter in my heart every time I saw you.

Your cabin smelled of sweet expensive leather and felt so soft to touch. In every direction I looked I was reminded of the privilege that is driving a Ferrari, whether it was the Portofino red stitching on the headrests or the chrome lettering on the dash. Your name will forever be etched on my heart.

With the roof up your cabin was cosy and quiet with only a whisper of wind noise behind my ears. I could easily see where we had been when I looked over my shoulder and where we were headed to on our next adventure. When your roof folded down with that silky fluid mechanism I was able to enjoy every glorious Ferrari element one on one. Although your cabin did get a bit cold from the swirling breeze, I was thankful for the heated seats to keep me warm on our top down drives together.

My dearest Portofino, our time together was all too brief; I will never forget you.

The beating heart of the Ferrari Portofino is a turbocharged 3.9 litre V8 engine. It produces 441kW and 760Nm of torque between 3,000 and 5,250rpm and will take your breath away from 0-100km/h in just 3.5 seconds and on to 200km/h in just 10.8 seconds and a maximum speed of more than 320km/h if you happen to have access to a racetrack with a long straight.

The official combined fuel consumption is 11.7L/100km and for my brief romantic sojourn with the Portofino I used 16.3L/100km, which is about the same amount as the Mercedes-AMG C63S I drove earlier in the year.

Stopping the Portofino is just as dramatic thanks to the 390 mm x 34 mm front and 360 mm x 32 mm rear carbon ceramic breaks that pull you up in just 34 metres from 100km/h.

The way to the Portofino’s heart is through the slick F1 dual-clutch transmission, 7-speed gearbox and transmission that sends all of that power to the rear wheels. But even on hard acceleration from a standing start there was little loss of traction from the rear wheels. Like other Ferraris I have driven I found the accelerator to be sensitive.

You communicate with the Portofino through your hands on the Cavallino emblazoned steering wheel. There may be many controls to master here, but your fingers quickly get used to where they all are. The Portofino has large column mounted gear selectors that are easy to find when you are charging up and down the gears on those spirited drives.

On the steering wheel mounted Manettino you can select from the three drive modes of the Portofino; Comfort, Sport and ESC off. Comfort mode was my preferred selection because in Sport mode there was too much resonance from the exhaust in the cabin and I found this annoying.

The ride in the Portofino is comfortable even in Sport mode and although you do get bumpy road mode, I didn’t feel the need to use it when I was driving the Portofino, such was the quality of the ride. The power adjusted seats are very pleasant also and after a couple of hours driving the Portofino I was able to get out without the groan associated from usually driving in a supercar. In fact it felt like I could drive all day in the Portofino without any problems at all. This is testament to the design thought that has gone into the Portofino seats.

Although the Portofino is all supercar on the outside on the inside its controls are easy to use as any other car I have driven. The 10.25 inch touchscreen gives you access to sat nav and media options and there is the added bonus in my Portofino of a passenger display ($9,501 option), which is also a touchscreen. The passenger can view the driver’s telemetry, car setup information and they can also select the media being played from here.

The voice control on the Portofino worked well for making calls and you could also set a destination using it while driving. However I didn’t have much luck doing this because the friendly voice control assistant didn’t understand what I was saying very well.

The driver’s dash has two adjustable digital screens either side of the prominent taco in the centre. The left hand side screen is adjusted by using the roller switch behind the steering wheel to display various infotainment options. The right hand screen is adjusted using the knob next to the cruise control knob to the right hand side of the dash and display information including engine temps, tyre pressures and temps and a digital speed read out, trip summaries and vehicle dynamics setup summaries. Like the GTC4Lusso I drove earlier this year, the Portofino only has standard cruise control and it is a bit hap hazard to use.

There are few storage cubbies in the cabin including a shallow, but long one in the doors. Under the arm rest is an OK sized cubby with one USB port and one 12V outlet. Under the central arch is a flat area for phone storage that is covered in a suede-like material to stop your phone from moving around and there also a slot to store your key here as well. I would suggest you use this slot because if your Portofino is running and you remove the key from the car the horn sounds and there is a message on the driver’s dash that the key is no longer in the car.

The Portofino is a 2+2 convertible and I could just fit my children in, with very little room to spare. There are two ISOFIX and two rear tether child seat restraint points in the back, but in reality I do not think you would fit a full-sized car seat in there due to the roofline and the lack of leg room. Another downside was my children’s heads were under the rear windscreen and with the roof down they complained about the buffeting from the wind.

It’s probably for the best that you don’t take the children on your weekend getaway as you will need the extra space in the back seats for your luggage anyway as the boot size is limited thanks to the hard top folding roof. It also goes without saying that adults would not fit comfortably in the back seats thanks to the small amount of head and leg room on offer.

What the Portofino lacks in active safety measures like blind spot assist or lane keep assist, it makes up for with driving technology including F1-Trac traction control system and third generation electronic differential control. You do get front and rear parking sensors as standard and my Portofino came with the optional front and rear parking camera ($9,981). Passive safety features include driver and passenger front airbags and retractable side airbag on the door panel for head protection.

Every new Ferrari comes with the standard factory three-year warranty along with a seven-year free maintenance programme. The full factory warranty can be extended for a further two years and, from the vehicle’s 6th to 12th year; owners can stipulate the New Power warranty which provides cover on all major components.

If you really want maximum enjoyment out of your Portofino you are going to have to drive it on the track, but if you do so keep in mind there are some provisos in order to maintain your warranty. Ferrari only endorses Ferrari Dealer run track days which are of a non-competitive nature. Before undertaking these track days a pre-track inspection must be performed by an Approved Ferrari service centre so the Manufacturer warranties are not compromised.

The Ferrari Portofino is the entry level model of the Ferrari range and starts at $403,888 plus on-road costs. Options that are now included ‘as standard’ on Australian Portofino cars include the Scuderia Ferrari Shields and full electric seats. As tested my Portofino was $542,602 plus on road costs and some of the options included were more than $35k worth of exterior carbon fibre pieces and $20,500 for the Rosso Portofino colour. If you want to fall in love with the Portofino for yourself visit your preferred Ferrari dealer.

Pros Cons
Gorgeous exterior design Exhaust resonance in Sport mode
Fragrant, soft leather interior Lack of room in the rear seats
V8 engine performance Lack of boot space

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.