It was the year 2017 when Ferrari dropped the veil on the California T-replacement, the Portofino. Named after a ‘charming’ Italian village, this 2+2 GT Spider – a hardtop convertible in simpler words – was part of Ferrari’s starter pack. Put simply, it’s the beginner’s Ferrari.
You can no longer buy the Portofino, though. That’s because in 2020, the year when COVID-19 had the world on its knees, Ferrari brought out the heavily updated version of its entry-level V8 GT convertible. Dubbed the Portofino M – the letter M here stands for ‘Modificata,’ which translates to modified in plain English – this new version came with a couple of significant updates over the 2017 version. In short, it now gets more power, a new gearbox, minor exterior updates, and an additional ‘Race’ mode.
Many say that the 2021 Ferrari Portofino M is not a ‘proper’ Prancing Horse owing to its softer and more road-focused GT underpinnings. However, the very same elements make it an ideal choice for enthusiasts wanting to get a taste of Ferrari’s scintillating performance and emotions, but in a more livable package. The Portofino M fits the bills perfectly in that regard. Rivals include the likes of the Aston Martin DB11 Volante, Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, and more.
Ferrari Portofino M: 612-HP V8 Twin-Turbo Leads The Way
Unlike its fire-breathing mid-engined brethren, the Portofino M has a classic GT car configuration. A V8 engine sits at the front and the drive goes to the rear wheels. The V8 in question is a 3,855cc twin-turbo unit that belongs to the same family of Ferrari V8 that’s been voted ‘International Engine of the Year’ from 2016-2019.
In the Portofino M, the V8 motor churns out 612 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque – these figures are identical to the Roma’s numbers. The M’s power output marks an improvement of 20 hp over the Portofino, while torque is the same as before. More importantly, the Portofino M gets a new eight-speed dual-clutch (DCT) automatic gearbox that replaces the seven-speed DCT of the Portofino. The new eight-speeder is the same transmission that does duty in the much hardcore SF90 Stradale, but in this application, is a little less aggressive. The Portofino M’s gearbox has taller ratios in higher gears for smoother driving and better fuel efficiency.
Even though the Portofino M is projected as a soft GT cruiser, it’s no slouch. According to Ferrari, the Portofino M can clock 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. If you find a road long enough, it’ll nearly touch 200 mph (claimed top speed is 199 mph).
To rein in that kind of firepower, the Portofino M gets a raft of electronic aids such as Ferrari’s sixth-gen Slide Slip Control (SSC) system that controls the E-Diff, F1-TCS, SCM-E Frs (electronic suspension), and the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) control system. In addition to Wet, Comfort, Sport, and ESC-Off modes, the Portofino M also gets an additional ‘Race’ mode in the Manettino selector dial on the steering wheel. This is the first Ferrari GT Spider car to feature a five-position Manettino. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard fit.
Ferrari Portofino M Interior: Swanky, Exquisite, And Expensive
The Portofino M’s interior has a driver-focused approach, which is how it should be in a car with a Prancing Horse logo. There’s a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen in the center and a big analog tachometer that sits behind a three-spoke Ferrari steering wheel – there are five color options to choose from for the rev-counter. Body-hugging sport seats are standard, but you can have them in different colors and patterns. Since it’s a Ferrari, there are multiple upholstery/trim options on offer, obviously.
The front passenger can have an optional 7-inch HD touch display to access the infotainment system for music, navigation, and other stuff. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available, but they aren’t standard – these, reportedly, cost over $4,000! Ventilated seats with neck-warmers are also available.
Ferrari offers a raft of driver assistance systems with the Portofino M. These include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, Predictive Emergency Brake System, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beam, Traffic Sign Recognition, Surround View with 3D display, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. These are optional extras, though, so expect them to cost a bomb and then some.
Even though the Portofino M is projected as a comfy grand tourer, it’s not really ideal in terms of luggage volume or rear seat comfort. Blame the retractable hardtop for that. On the upside, it only takes about 14 seconds to open or close the roof.
2021 Ferrari Portofino M Price
In the States, the 2021 Ferrari Portofino M is priced at $226,000 (includes a $3,950 destination fee). That’s the base price, though. Add more options, and you’ll see its price climb faster than it accelerates. To give you an idea, the options alone are well worth over $100,000 to $150,000!
All said, it’s a Ferrari at the end of the day. You don’t buy one with your head. You buy it with your heart… and a deep pocket, of course.
Ferrari broke out the classic sports car for a drive around the Fiorano Circuit racetrack.
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