IT’S wobbly lip time for me – the last moment I put fingertip to keyboard for The Sun on Sunday.
Relax, I won’t dissolve into 600 words of Oscar-acceptance speech gush and goo. It’s been the best job and I’ve loved every minute of it. Let’s park it there.
Instead, let’s get into something else — the Ferrari Portofino.
When I was recently granted a weekend loan of Ferrari’s new GT car — which replaces the controversial California — I did what any right-minded person would do. I took it to Southend.
Southend-on-Sea is the closest bit of coast to where I live. It’s brash, showy and unapologetically hedonistic. All the things I expected a Ferrari to be.
But I discovered there’s so much more to this car.
The Portofino churned up fuzzy feelings like a tsunami churns the seabed — if they could bottle the effect it would be a schedule A- controlled substance that teachers warn kids never to dabble with.
It’s hard to say where the intoxication comes from. Is it the 591 horses under the hood?
Probably not, I’ve driven more powerful cars which haven’t left me as weak-kneed. Top speed 199mph? Definitely not, you would need an airstrip to know how that feels.
I concluded it’s as simple as the fact I was driving a Ferrari — the car each and every one of us talk about as our “one day” car.
Even my gran, God rest her soul, could pick out a Ferrari in a car park.
It’s more than a car, it’s a work of art, it’s a muscular slab of history. And owning one grants entry into one of the world’s most desirable clubs.
Lamborghini doesn’t stir the same romance, mainly because we all know it’s owned by VW group.
The image of beefy German men in lab coats somewhat pours cold water over the dream of carpet-riding the sun-soaked Italian Riviera with Monica Bellucci sucking on your earlobe.
For context, this is Ferrari’s entry- level car, rivalled by the likes of the Aston Martin DB11. A glance at the spec sheet of my test car revealed it was worth a quarter of a million pounds with the optional extras.
For the detail junkies out there, the Portofino has a full alloy frame which has been simplified to the extreme in the name of weight reduction.
Ferrari is very proud of this, telling me how the California’s A-pillar was compiled of 21 components, but in the Portofino it’s just one.
The result is a ten per cent weight reduction, while rigidity is up 35 per cent. That gives you an idea of how much more capable it is both on fast roads and track.
The most impressive tech, however, are the MagneRide dampers.
These are filled with fluid and electromagnetic coils that can stiffen or relax the ride in milliseconds just by running a current through the liquid. Impressive stuff.
Then there’s the 3.9litre engine.
MOST READ IN MOTORS
Yes it has twin turbos doing the urgent work, but there’s a V8 thumping away behind to deliver a noise that sounds sweeter than a Pink Floyd album after a few Jamaican Woodbines.
Every. Single. Thing about the Portofino is special.
For me, this was the best car to finish on. Driving it was a dream, as was landing this job in the first place.
Thanks for reading. See you in the fast lane.
Price: From £164,426
Engine: 3.9l V8 twin turbo petrol
0-62mph: 3.5 seconds
Top speed: 199mph
Length: 4.6 metres
I DIG out the best car pics on Instagram each week, with a different theme. As I’ve reviewed a Ferrari today, I thought I’d go with a few of those. I’m @sunmotorsman.
Reader’s car of the week
HERE’S an extra-special reader car, sent in by Kent Thirley from Sawbridgeworth, Herts.
He says: “This Broadspeed GTS Works Race Car started life as a Mk1 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275cc.
“It was purchased by Broadspeed Engineering of Birmingham in 1965 and modified by Ralph Broad as a lightweight race car.
“The car competed in the 1966 British Racing and Sports Car Club season with Broadspeed Works driver John Fitzpatrick.
“In 1967, the Broadspeed GTS was sold to Tonio Hildebrand and raced in Holland at Zandvoort, and Zolder in Belgium until 1970.
“Now restored to its original factory specification, it will be making appearances at many 60th anniversary Mini events around the UK during the 60th anniversary year.”
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