Ferrari Portofino M: a fresh start for the Prancing Horse
The upgraded drop-top GT is sportier than its predecessor, with more power and a new gearbox
Ferrari made history last week when the Portofino M became the first ever car to be premiered entirely online by the Italian marque.
The new drop-top, which is an upgraded version of the Portofino GT spider, marks a fresh starting point for the Prancing Horse and is the first Ferrari to be unveiled in the wake of the company’s temporary closure amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The “M” in its moniker stands for “Modificata”, which in Ferrari terms refers to cars that have undergone an evolution that has significantly boosted their performance.
The Italian marque says there is “no shortage of technical innovation” in the new Portofino. The most notable include a redesigned powertrain, a brand-new eight-speed gearbox, and a five-position Manettino dial that includes a Race mode - a first for a Maranello GT spider.
Those changes aside, the latest update of Ferrari’s Portofino GT Spider is a fairly “mild one”, says The Luxe Review, but “nobody really needs a second excuse to gaze upon one of the most beautiful two-seaters on the planet”.
How much will it cost?
The Portofino M is priced from €206,000 (£188,000), which is “just under £24,000 more expensive than the standard Portofino it will replace”, says Autocar. Deliveries will commence in mid-2021.
Engine and performance
The biggest changes to the convertible grand tourer are under the skin, with the power of the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 boosted to 612bhp (up from 592bhp). While that “gentle boost in power is always welcome”, the Portofino M “sprints no faster” than its predecessor, covering 0-62mph in 3.45 seconds and 0-124mph in 9.8 seconds, with a top speed of 198mph says Car magazine.
The eight-speed gearbox is completely different from the previous seven-speed version, however. By contrast to the SF90 Stradale’s eight-speed transmission, the Portofino M unit has longer gear ratios and gets a mechanical reverse gear. The new layout and integration of its components have also optimised the gearbox’s size and its installation in the car.
Meanwhile, the five-position Manettino dial, located on the steering wheel, is intended to make the new model’s handling and grip “even more accessible by extending the setting ranges further with the introduction of the Race position”, according to Ferrari.
The Manettino’s five positions and performance goals are: Wet (maximum stability and control); Comfort (normal use on dry roads); Sport (sporty driving); Race (maximises driving pleasure); ESC-Off (VDC and F1-TCS both deactivated).
Exterior and design
The Ferrari Styling Centre’s designers has made very precise, targeted adjustments to highlight the new model’s sporty character.
The wraparound front bumpers incorporate sculptural air intakes that lend an aggressive look to the front, and also feature a new air vent at wheel arch height in order to reduce the car’s overall drag.
At the rear, the new exhaust system has allowed the removal of the silencer assembly, making the Ferrari Portofino M’s tail more compact. The result is rear bumpers that are more streamlined and sculptural.
Inside the cabin
The Portofino M’s HMI (human-machine interface) centres on a digital cluster with dual thin-film-transistor (TFT) displays arranged around the analogue rev counter in a generous circular, anti-glare binnacle.
Located on exactly the same axis as the multifunctional steering wheel, this cluster allows the driver to interact with the car more easily and intuitively, both visually and physically, by delivering optimal driving feedback.
The infotainment system functions are controlled via the touchscreen located at the centre of the dash within easy reach of both driver and passenger. The system includes a full HD multi-touch capacitive screen with split view to allow different types of content to be viewed simultaneously. Both Apple Car Play and Android Auto are also available.
The passenger also gets an optional dedicated capacitive display on the dashboard that is directly linked to the main screen providing all information relating to car speed, rpm and gear engaged.
This 7in colour full HD and full touch display also allows the passenger to interact with the car’s on-board systems. They can, for instance, play music, view satnav information or select a new point of interest (POI), such as a restaurant, which is then automatically integrated into the route. “Essentially, the passenger becomes a co-driver,” Ferrari says.
2021 Ferrari Portofino M specifications
Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 Horsepower: 611bhp @ 7500 rpm Transmission: 8-speed automatic Drivetrain: Rear-Wheel Drive 0-62mph: 3.45secs 0-124mph: 9.8secs Top speed: 198mph