Ferrari Portofino: The Supreme 591 Horsepower Entry Level Model

Nicholas Cooksey goes to Dubai to drive Ferrari’s new 591 horsepower entry level model.

The Ferrari Portofino, we are officially told, is NOT a replacement for the highly successful California. But everybody talks like it is.

The California was the best-selling Ferrari ever made. It was touted as the Ferrari designed for daily use, and opened up the brand to a whole new audience able to pay $200,000 for the entry level model.

The California was named after America’s most populous state. The Portofino is named after a particularly picturesque Italian village. So how does it compare…

It’s slightly lower, slightly wider, and slightly longer than the California, and much more beautiful – which is saying a lot because the California was very beautiful indeed.

The Portofino is also lighter and faster. It has an aluminium chassis that uses 12 different alloys, weighing 80kg lighter and 35% stiffer than the car it replaces… or doesn’t replace.

There’s slightly more space in the back seats than the California (5cm – big deal!), and there’s relatively good boot space in the back – yes, the engine is in the front of this particular Ferrari.

I was delighted to be able to test it on some long empty roads where there were no speed cameras to spoil my fun.

The engine is a refined monster, Ferrari’s fantastic 591 bhp 3.9-litre twin turbo V8 which is good for 561 torques from 3,000 to 5,250rpm.

  • It will take you from zero to 100 kph in 3.5 seconds!
  • It will take you from zero to 100 kph in 3.5 seconds!
  • It will take you from zero to 200 kph in under 11 seconds!
  • Its top speed is 320 kph!
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I was delighted to be able to test it on some long empty roads where there were no speed cameras to spoil my fun. I can confirm that this car is blisteringly fast – and the engine sounds fantastic.

Ferrari arranged a great road trip which included stunning locations. We stopped for a photo opportunity, and a coffee, at Hatta Dam which is surrounded by vast and craggy mountains making for breathtaking views.

The Portofino has a power-folding hardtop that can be opened and closed at speeds up to 40 kph, though its more comfortable to operate this at slower speeds as otherwise there’s a hefty drag.

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There’s a 10.2in HD touch-screen, with Apple CarPlay, and the air con is more efficient and quitter than in the California. It’s interior looks and feels like luxury, as you would expect from a car costing this much.

Last, but not least – its Formula 1 inspired steering wheel is the sexiest steering wheel of any car I’ve ever driven.

Thanks to the overall usability of this car, this is the Ferrari which owners will likely drive far more frequently than any other in Ferrari’s model range, and it comes with seven years’ servicing included.

For more information: Euro Motors Tel. +973 1775 0750

Starting Price: BHD 95,000

Nicholas Cooksey is the publisher of Arabian Magazines and Digital Group, Gulf Insider Media, and a jury member with the Middle East Car of the Year Awards (MECOTY).

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