by Nadia Michel
Imagine a Sunday drive in a red Ferrari convertible: sun on your face, wind in your hair, an exotic aural symphony heightening your senses as you balance throttle with traction, slinging from corner to corner in a flawless communion of mechanics and dynamics. Well that’s exactly what I had the pleasure of doing on a recent early morning road trip that began, and ended, in buzzy Beirut by way of picturesque Naqqoura, a scenic beach town near Lebanon’s southern border. Except it wasn’t Sunday, it was Saturday, and the day of the week doesn’t matter a jot in this Ferrari, as it can do Monday to Friday as skilfully as the weekends. It’s the kind of car that can take you from racetrack to gritty, crowded city roads without any glitches and in total comfort.
UNLIKE REGULAR FERRARIS THAT HAVE MORE SINGULAR PURPOSES, THIS ONE’S MISSION IS A HIGHLY COMPLEX ONE.
The Portofino is the replacement for Ferrari’s now retired entry-level California T. But entry-level is a misleading term, especially when we’re discussing a car that costs upward of 215,000 USD without tax. And, unlike regular Ferraris that have more singular purposes, the mission of the Portofino is a highly complex one. In a way you could say it needed to embody the philosophy of opposites attracting. You see, coupé customer and the cabriolet customer are normally very different people but the Ferrari Portofino aims to attract both given its a retractable hardtop convertible. It also needs to be a sportscar that has the dynamism and excitement you’d expect of a product from Maranello, while offering the versatility, refinement and convenience you’d require of an everyday driver.
And I can tell you it does all of that and more. Not only is the Portofino incredibly comfortable and surprisingly luxurious, it’s also got all the tech you’d expect of a big German automaker, including a 10.2-inch central command screen, and small rear seats for whenever you need to squeeze in a couple of kids or small adults. There’s even a decent sized boot, for those weekend getaway essentials.
But as with any Ferrari, the crown jewel of this car is its engine – a 3.9-litre twin turbo V8 that can propel you from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and on to 200 km/h just 7.3 seconds later. That may sound fearsome from afar, but from within, any trepidation melts away faster than you can say hold on. And at the end of the day, what I discovered was that this isn’t just a Ferrari for all sexes, it’s a Ferrari for all seasons.