Possibly the most gorgeous hardtop convertible on the market

It was a bumper 2017 for Ferrari. The Italian marque moved a record number of cars globally - selling in excess of 200 units in Australia alone. Now the Prancing Horse is looking to new horizons in 2018, launching the brand new Portofino at a lavish celebration in Byron Bay last week.

Dinner on the water at Elements of Byron Resort & Spa.

Dinner on the water at Elements of Byron Resort & Spa.

VIP customers and media were treated to feast of sensorial delights at the newly-renovated Elements of Byron Resort & Spa, with the new "baby" in the Ferrari lineup being the centrepiece of the evening.

A replacement to the California and California T, the Portofino is set to quickly become the best-selling Ferrari globally. Much like its predecessor, the Prancing Horse expects many of the sales will be new to the brand, with in-house figures estimating that around 70% of California buyers were conquests for Maranello. 

The top down Portofino's Grey Grigio Titanio paintwork sparkling under the lightwork.

The top down Portofino's Grey Grigio Titanio paintwork sparkling under the lightwork.

While the Portofino might be powered by a heavily revised version of the California T‘s 3.9-litre turbocharged V8, Ferrari has been unequivocal in its assessment of the new model as "all-new," with a raft of changes across the board.

A new chassis and throughly revised interior headline proceedings, while the revised drivetrain pumps out 441kw - an increase of 9kw - with a 0-100kmh launch time of 3.5-seconds and top speed of 320kmh. That's up from the California T's 0-100kmh launch of 3.6-seconds and top speed of 316kmh, impressive considering the price adjustment (which we'll get to soon).

The Bordeaux interior beset amongst several interior upgrades from the California T.

The Bordeaux interior beset amongst several interior upgrades from the California T.

Mechanicals aside, the Portofino really shines on the eye with gorgeous lines front to back giving it bona fide credibility as one of the best looking models to roll off the Maranello production line in recent memory. The new model remains a hardtop convertible, something Ferrari says actually makes it two cars: a sleek yet elegant coupe with the roof on and a fast-paced drop-top with it down. 

But the two areas it sets itself apart are the addition of "eyelashes" above the headlights - borrowed from the 488 - and the two wavy buttresses sitting behind the rear headrests that give the car shape top-up or top-down. Both espouse Ferrari class, with the headlights splicing in the aggressive elements of the famed 488, while the two rear buttresses are the key to the Portofino's balance of beauty; roof on or off.

Top up or down, the Portofino is sight for sore eyes.

Top up or down, the Portofino is sight for sore eyes.

As the sun set and the mood moved from dinner on the water at Elements of Byron - chosen specifically as a seaside destination similar to the eponymous Portofino, Italy - to the actual reveal of the new model, the excitement was palpable. Of course, none other than Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth was on hand for the unveiling, with guests kicking on into the night under the shadow of the elaborate lightwork focused upon the Portofino's Grey Grigio Titanio paintwork.

Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth with the all-new Portofino.

Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth with the all-new Portofino.

For Ferrari, it's a lifestyle - but the famous marque isn't all lavish launches at upmarket destinations. Now in its 71st year of production, the brand is intent on growth, an growth in numbers. Beyond the Portofino, the Prancing Horse will also roll out three new standalone dealerships in Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast in 2018.

And with the Portofino priced at $398,888 (before on roads), some $20,000 cheaper than its predecessor, clearly the brand's growth only looks to continue.

Expect Portofino deliveries to commence early in Q3 of 2018. For more information, head to Ferrari.com.