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The new Ferrari Portofino - the Italian GT par excellence on the stand at Frankfurt

The new Ferrari Portofino - the Italian GT par excellence on the stand at Frankfurt

Ferrari Portofino is the new V8 GT  set to dominate  its segment thanks to a perfect combination of outright performance and versatility in addition to a level of driving pleasure and on-board comfort unparalleled on  the market. Capable of unleashing a massive 600  cv and  sprinting from  0 to 200 km/h in just 10.8 seconds, the Ferrari Portofino is the most powerful  convertible to combine the advantages of a retractable hard  top, a roomy boot and  generous cockpit space complete with two rear seats suitable for short trips.

The new car, which takes its name, Portofino, from one of the most charming villages on the Italian Riviera, an eponym  for stylish elegance, is the most versatile model  in the range.  A Ferrari designed  to be driven every day that also effortlessly converts from an authentic 'berlinetta' coupé to a drop-top capable of delivering a unique Ferrari soundtrack and superb driving pleasure  even in day-to-day situations.

The retractable hard top (RHT) has been completely redesigned and can now be opened or closed in just 14 seconds on the move at lower speeds, making the car even more practical. Careful modelling of the RHT housing now allows the luggage compartment to hold two cabin trolleys with the roof down and three with the roof up. Ideal for any occasion, the Ferrari Portofino represents the perfect combination of design, performance and technology.

The Ferrari Portofino is significantly lighter with the adoption of new components featuring innovative designs made possible by the use of cutting-edge production techniques. This, combined with a 40 cv higher power output than the California T, has resulted in a significant hike in performance and a corresponding drop  in emissions. Vehicle dynamics benefit from the introduction, for the first time on  this model, of electric power steering, the 3rd generation electronic differential (E-Diff3) and the latest  evolution of the electronic suspension control  system (SCM-E) integrated with Premium 9.1 ESP.

ENGINE

Starting with the V8 power unit, which has won the outright International Engine of the Year award  for two consecutive years in 2016 and 2017, Ferrari's engineers  worked on several different fronts to deliver a power output of 600 cv at 7500  rpm, the equivalent of 156 cv/l, introducing new mechanical components as well as specific engine management software.

Maximum mechanical efficiency is guaranteed by the use of high-resistance aluminium alloy pistons and con rods with innovative geometries and specially-shaped  high- tumble intake manifolds. Combustion is optimised across the engine's rev range by an ion-sensing system with adaptive ignition and multi-spark functionality.  Losses in the intake have been reduced by new more linear high- and low-pressure air ducts while the all-new exhaust system benefits from a single-piece exhaust header.

Mechanical efficiency is further optimised by a variable-displacement oil pump that reduces hydraulic power requirements by up to 30% compared to a conventional pump. The adoption of a new intercooler to simultaneously minimise fluid-dynamic losses and increase air cooling also contributes to the engine's performance.

The Portofino's engine continues Ferrari's zero turbo lag tradition, with instantaneous throttle response in under 1 second. This is the direct result of  the adoption of innovative solutions such as: a flat-plane crankshaft, which, with its compact size and lower rotating mass, improves fluid-dynamics; compact turbines with a low moment of inertia and  twin-scroll technology that reduces the interference between the exhaust pulses from different cylinders and increases the pressure; and a single-cast exhaust manifold with equal length pipes to optimise the pressure waves.

The Ferrari  Portofino features Variable  Boost Management, a  control   software developed by Ferrari that adjusts  torque delivery to suit the gear  selected. As the car goes  up  through the gears  (from  3rd   to 7th),  the amount of torque delivered  by the engine  increases  all the way up  to 760  Nm.  This has  allowed  Ferrari to adopt longer gear ratios in the higher gears, which helps keep fuel consumption and emissions  down on  the one  hand, while adopting different torque curves through the rev range  in the lower gears for a feeling of strong, continuous pick-up.

In line with long-standing Ferrari tradition, every single Prancing  Horse  engine  has  its own  particular  soundtrack that  makes   it  unique.  This  is  also  true  of  the  Ferrari Portofino.

Aside  from  a  new  exhaust  line,  electronically-controlled  by-pass   valves  have  been adopted in a first for Ferrari, delivering improvements in actuation speed and precision. The  new  valves  guarantee that  the  soundtrack changes   in  line  with  the  various situations in which the car is used:

  • Ignition: the valve stays closed to deliver a muted, moderate sound
  • Comfort Manettino  position:  the valve opens   to a  moderate degree  to produce a marked, recognisable sound that still will not be out of place  in an urban context and on longer journey
  • Sport position:  the valve opens  and  produces a  sportier,  more  seductive sound from the lowest engine speeds  all the way up to the red line.

ARCHITECTURE AND WEIGHT REDUCTION

One  of the Ferrari Portofino's most impressive features is that it is significantly lighter than the California  T. To achieve this, the Prancing  Horse engineers  worked extensively on every aspect of the car.

All the body-in-white  and  chassis  components were redesigned and  integrated  to an even greater extent. The A-pillar, for example, now consists of just 2 pieces compared to 21  different components  in  previous  models. Modern  production  technologies, most notably sand-casting which allows  the creation of hollow  components, allowed designers to create innovative forms that are lighter.

These  technologies also  improved  body  stiffness by 35% while weld  lengths on  the body-in-white  and  chassis  are  30% shorter than in  the previous  model,   enhancing assembly quality still further.

The bodywork  and external components have been rationalised in the same way and an example  is  the  new  retractable  hard   top which  has   been   completely  redesigned, including  the movement  mechanism,  with a  reduction  in  weight compared  to  the California T's.

The car's  interior was also  subject to meticulous research. The structure of the seats was completely redesigned and  constructed in magnesium alloy to cut weight and  the new air conditioning system is more compact and efficient. All these solutions combine to lighten the car yet simultaneously improve occupant comfort.

Other  areas   on   which   weight  was   shaved   off  were  various   components  of  the electronics and engine. The result is that the car is 80 kg lighter than the California T.

VEHICLE DYNAMICS

Much  honing  was also  done  on the both the Ferrari Portofino's basic  running gear and its components and their electronic control systems.

The car's vehicle dynamics  were optimised by working on its suspension set-up through the introduction of stiffer springs (+15.5% at the front and +19% at the rear)  and  by adopting the latest evolution of the magnetorheological damping system (SCM-E) to guarantee superb  ride comfort. The Magnaride system has been  uprated  with dual-coil  dampers to improve  the precision  and  speed  of adjustment   of  the  magnetic  field  as   well  as   a   new  ECU  (Gen3)   which implements control algorithms developed  by Ferrari, in particular those relating to vertical dynamic control of road  input frequencies.

The  result is improved  body  control  and  reduced roll,  enhancing the sporty driving feeling, particularly when the Manettino is in 'Sport' mode.  In 'Comfort' mode,  on  the other hand, ride  comfort is superior  to the previous  model  on rough or uneven road  surfaces.

The  adoption  for  the  first time  on  this  type  of  Ferrari  model   of  the third generation  electronic  rear  differential  (E-Diff3)  also  improved   lateral performance  parameters,   thanks   to   the   combined   action   achieved    by integration with the F1-Trac traction control. This level of integration of all the electronic vehicle dynamics  controls ensures  that the car is easier to drive and handles  even better in low grip situations, making it more versatile.

The  Ferrari  Portofino is the first Prancing  Horse  GT to boast  Electric Power Steering which plays a pivotal  role in the feel of the car in the driver's  hands. Steering wheel responsiveness has been improved  with a smooth, natural feel to the assistance and feedback, while re-centring of the wheel is dynamic and consistent with the speed of the car when the manoeuvre is being executed.

Lastly, thanks to the steering wheel's dynamic  performance and  its integration with the E-Diff3, the steering ratio (steering wheel angle/wheel angle)  has been reduced by 7%.

STYLE AND AERODYNAMICS

The Ferrari Design Centre-penned Portofino is an aggressively-styled car with a two-box fastback configuration - unprecedented in a coupé-convertible with a retractable  hard  top - that adds  extra  sleekness  to its silhouette, lending  it a sportier character without impinging on its elegance and dynamism.

As is always the case in Ferrari, the aerodynamic development process  involved every single area  of the car and  its development, from the initial layout choices to the management of the flows involved in heat dissipation, and  the definition of every single detail of the underbody and  bodywork.  The Aerodynamics department and  Ferrari Design collaborated on a day-to-day basis on the latter in particular.

The development process  focused  principally  on aerodynamic efficiency with a particular emphasis on cutting drag which is pivotal to both pure performance, and   on  keeping  fuel  consumption  and   emissions   down.   This  goal  proved challenging   as  Ferrari's  engineers   had   to  guarantee improved   engine   heat dissipation (as power  output was boosted by 40 cv) which could  have resulted in an increase  in Cd over the previous  model.   Nonetheless, they managed not just  to   dissipate  the  increased    heat  energy   without   increasing   radiator dimensions but also to achieve a drag (Cd) figure of 0.312  - an improvement of 6% over the previous model.

A subtle interplay  and  juxtaposition  of  concave  and  convex  surfaces  lends  a sense  of  three-dimensionality  to the body,  yet also  creates an  impression of great naturalness  which  can  be  seen  in the way the flows needed  to increase aerodynamic efficiency were optimised.

At the edges  of the large central radiator grille are two side air intakes for the intercoolers, while the two vents in the bonnet are larger and  further apart to evacuate  heat  from   the  engine  compartment  without  impacting  occupant comfort with the top down.

The front of the car  is also  underscored by a new headlight assembly  with a more  horizontal development which is designed  to follow the crest line of the front wheelarches. Half-hidden at the outer edges  of the headlights are highly innovative aerodynamic "air curtain"-type intakes which vent into the front of the wheel  housing  to increase  the evacuation  of  air  coming  from  the wheel spokes and wheelarch  and channel  it along the scooped sides, thereby reducing drag created by the wake from the front wheels.

Great attention was also focused  on the way in which the surfaces  of the car's flanks catch the light, creating a marked  "chiaroscuro" effect and  thus breaking up  the mass.   Meticulous  modelling   of  the curved  profiles  and  tauter lines underscore the car's  design.  A crease  line runs  from  the edge  of the bonnet along  the front wheelarch  and  across  the door.  The result is a slender  but well- defined  belt-line which  underscores the elongated  muscle  of the upper  front wheelarch  and  the new air extraction fin, cleverly located to relieve the pressure inside the wheel housing  via a clearly visible vent.

The  trimaran  design  of  the  tail underscores the  impression of  solidity  and breadth given by the rear stance. This elegant solution enabled the designers  to skilfully sculpt the volumes in order  to cleverly conceal  the rear volume housing the RHT. The tail lights, which  are  now  further apart rather than part of the boot lid, incorporate all of the optics to save weight.

Here,   too,  great  attention   was   focused   on   the  delicate  parameters  that influence the detachment of the air flow from the upper  bodywork.  The profile where the rear screen meets the rear spoiler has been optimised both in terms of volume  and  detail. The position  of the tail lights meant that the spoiler,  and thus the controlled flow detachment region,  could  be extended, cutting overall drag.

INTERIOR

While the Portofino's exterior exudes a stylish compactness and  instantly marks out  its  GT  vocation,  its  cabin   too  has   also   been   carefully  designed   and developed. The Ferrari Design team pinpointed certain specific essential requirements, the foremost of these being formal and functional coherency between the car's exterior and  its interior, weight reduction and  creating more space for occupants.

Seen in plan view, the cockpit's symmetrical arrangement and the improved  rear seat space  are  clear.  The  dashboard  architecture in  particular  features two shells, which incorporate all of the technical components, and  a bridge  which visually connects the instrument panel area with the central tunnel which, itself, was clearly conceived to act as a divider between driver and passenger.

One signature characteristic of any Ferrari car is the meticulous care lavished on the selection of the materials, trims and  assembly  procedures. The Ferrari Portofino's sporty yet elegant character highlights these aspects of the creative and  design  processes demanded to hone  every last  detail, marrying  high-tech elements and materials with manual assembly and handcrafted finishes.

The  seats  are  also   the  product  of  a  special   research   study  and   have  an innovative   magnesium  structure.   Different  density   padding   and   an   ultra- compact seatback profile mean  that there was more space  to devote to the rear seats than in the previous model.

The optional 18-way adjustable electric seats ensure  that even longer  journeys are  exceptionally  comfortable  and  relaxing.   Aside from  longitudinal seat and backrest adjustment, the seat height and angle can also be adjusted, as can the side  cushions   and  the central and  lumbar  regions  of  the backrest. The  new Comfort button on  the side of the front seats brings  up  on  the infotainment display  the controls  for  the  adjustable-length  seat  cushion   (which  provides under-thigh support  for  even taller drivers),  seat and  backrest side  and  back support air cushions  and heated seat.

In  line  with  Ferrari's   other  GTs,  the  Portofino's   HMI  (Human-Machine- Interface) includes  an instrument panel  and  dual TFT displays arranged around the rev counter in a generous  circular  anti-glare binnacle  on  exactly  the same axis as the multifunctional steering wheel.

The passenger has  an optional dedicated capacitive display.  Directly linked to the main screen,  it provides all information relating to car speed,  rpm and  gear engaged. Lastly,  the infotainment  system  functionalities are  controlled via the 10.25" touchscreen located at the centre of the dash  within easy reach  of both driver and passenger.

One  of the contributors to improving  in-car comfort is the impressive progress made  in the efficiency of the air conditioning system with a 20% increase  in air capacity and  a contemporaneous reduction of 8dB in noise levels. Lastly, when the top is down,  the new wind deflector cuts air flow over the body  by 30%: -

17% over  the head  and  -40% over  the chest. This  results in  an  appreciable reduction in aerodynamic noise in the cabin.

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