Ferrari’s new Portofino convertible calls into Singapore



New Ferrari Portofino drops into Sentosa, for its Singapore debut. Hard-top convertible priced from S$855,000 without COE/options

SINGAPORE

Ferrari’s latest model has wafted into Singapore: The new Portofino convertible enjoyed a seaside debut at Sentosa FOC on April 26, 2018.

At an exclusive beach party event, more than 200 attendees, including Ferrari owners, prospects and VIPs, witnessed the launch of the new car. The guests of honor included Italian Ambassador to Singapore,  Raffaele Langella, and chief executive of Ferrari Far and Middle East, Dieter Knechtel (second and first from the right, respectively).

The Portofino is named after a particularly picturesque town near Genoa on Italy’s northwest coast, as we reported at the model’s announcement in August last year.

As the replacement for the outgoing California model, it’s a 2+2 hard-top convertible, and at S$855,000 without COE/options, currently the least expensive car in Ferrari’s lineup. First deliveries are expected in Q3 this year.

Notably, it’s some S$65,000 cheaper (or less expensive, rather) than the outgoing California T model.

In comparison, the V8-powered, two-seat sport coupe, the 488 GTB, is S$955,000 without COE, while the current range topper is the V12-endowed 821 Superfast at S$1.42-million without COE.

Like the California, the Portofino is aimed baptising new buyers into the Ferrari brand, with a more accessible set of driving dynamics and less extreme ergonomics.

It’s also a key model in Ferrari’s boosted unit sales – it’s on track to hit its self-imposed unit cap of 9,000 units in 2018, having enjoyed 7,398 units delivered in 2017.

“With California, we launched a car that became highly successful, it was one of the most successful cars ever for us. It brought a lot of new customers to the brand – 70 percent of California buyers worldwide were new to Ferrari. So it was very successful, for bringing in more people. With Portofino, we can expect a similar effect to happen,” says Mr Knechtel.

The Portofino is a clean sheet design, so it looks considerably sharper and matches the 488 and 821 with the Ferrari corporate look. New underpinnings and material improvements mean an 80kg weight loss.

While its image might be laid back, its performance is still full-blooded Prancing Horse.

The engine is an improved version of the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 from the California T, with 40hp more for 600hp in total, and that gives the car a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds, with a 320km/h top speed.

Ferrari enjoyed a superb 2017 in Singapore, selling 39 units here. In the ultra-lux market, Aston Martin sold 29 units, Lamborghini 18, and Rolls-Royce 25.

It’s still just a third of the 10-year high, 92 units in 2011, but luxury car sales were devastated by the Great ARF Hike of 2013 (aka Tiered ARF). The F12 Berlinetta for example, saw price increases of more than a quarter-million dollars.

Mr Knechtel notes that sales have recovered somewhat since then. While they’re not back to their pre-tax-hike highs, the Portofino may help Ferrari find new ground.

 

“Singapore has been relatively stable, we are still number one in the market, with a 40 percent market share. We are happy with what we are doing, but we do have some way to go and I believe with Portofino we can reach a new market here too.”

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Derryn Wong
Has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. Is particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.