Get out of town and the Portofino comes into its own, with that extraordinary engine firing you up the road with a snarl and crackle from the quad exhaust snaps as you change up, though Comfort or Sport mode doesn't make a huge difference to the ride, gear changes or exhaust noise. For a turbocharged engine, the throttle response feels instantaneous and the power delivery is seamless and alarmingly abundant. At almost 1.7 tonnes, the Portofino is an immensely quick motor car, but it's also top-of-the-class stable as the stability electronics and the clever electronically controlled limited-slip differential work to keep the steering calm and the chassis planted on the road. Those carbo-ceramic disc brakes, too, are immensely powerful, though they squeal at low speeds and the pedal response is inconsistent until you are on it like jam on toast.
This is the second-ever Ferrari with electronic power steering (the F12 was first) and for the most part the system is precise with decent on-centre response, but it feels artificial, occasionally imparting too much torque on turning in and not giving an entirely accurate picture of the available grip. Fabrizio Toschi, Ferrari test driver says the polished roads of the Southern Italy launch location did the car no favours in this respect and we'll take him on trust, but certainly the Jaguar system in the F-Type gives more feedback.
All in all, however, the Portofino is absurdly easy to drive and live with and you need to keep reminding yourself that this is a 200mph sports car capable of carrying, well, two adults and two very small children and luggage. Ferrari has learned from its California customers, but the red cars from Maranello continue to perpetuate a predominantly male driving appeal and I don't think that's going to change until it produces its new SUV. For all that, however, Portofino, while rare, absurdly expensive and a bit weird to look at is a hugely likeable car. Give Portofino a go, girls, you might seriously like it.
Engine: 3,855cc, 90-degree V8 turbocharged
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch, rear wheel drive via electronically controlled differential.
Power/Torque: 600PS (592bhp) @ 7,500rpm, 760Nm (560lb ft) at 3,000rpm
Top speed: 199mph
Price as tested: £166,180 see text.