Ferrari has announced its new "entry level" convertible ahead of its public debut at next month's Frankfurt Auto Show. The 591-horsepower, 200 mph, twin turbo, V8-powered Ferrari Portofino is lighter and quicker than the California T it replaces, with a similar price tag north of US$200,000.

Named for a picturesque village in Genoa, Italy, the Portofino expands on the California's turbocharged V8 with new pistons, conrods, intake and exhaust designs to pull out an extra 39 horses and four more pound-feet for a total of 561. That's in top gear, anyway – like the California, the Portofino uses a variable boost system that reserves full power for seventh gear on the paddle-shift transmission.

Still, it'll be no slouch, hitting 62 mph (100 kmh) in 3.5 seconds and offering a top speed "over 320 km/h" (199 mph) that should do the trick in most situations.

The chassis gets an upgrade too, becoming lighter and stiffer thanks to "extensive use of modern production technologies." And if you take it to the limits in cornering, you'll be aided not only by the active magneto-rheological suspension damping that made the California such a huge step-up in handling, but by a third generation electronic rear differential and electronic power steering system.

In terms of looks … Well, if we're being perfectly honest, the Portofino really doesn't look much different to the California T. Here, take a look at them:

Everything's been reshaped, from the more boomerang-shaped headlights to the lower air channels behind the wheel arches, to a pinching in at the waist of the door line and the faintest hint of a spoiler-style upward angle at the back. But the changes are so subtle and the overall proportions so similar that you'd have to be a boffin to spot the difference at a glance, if it wasn't for the lurid "Rosso Portofino" paint job.

The interior marks it very much as a driver's car. Everything from paddle shift to drive mode selectors and headlight/wiper controls are built right into the steering wheel, and there's a feisty-looking yellow analogue tach in behind the feisty-looking yellow prancing horse on the center of the wheel.

A 10.2-inch touch screen handles multimedia, and a separate sliver of touch screen on the passenger side allows extra access to media and navigation, while also giving your passenger a separate "performance" readout that presumably allows them to complain about the driver's poor behavior with more advanced statistics than usual.

There are two back seats, but even Ferrari says they're really only suitable for "short trips" – calling shotgun will be of utmost importance in group driving here.

The public gets its first chance to see the Portofino when it debuts at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, and while no price has been announced yet, it's expected to be somewhere close to the California T's US$200,000 for those lucky enough to get to the front of Ferrari's waiting lists.

Source: Ferrari

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