What started life as the Ferrari California and more recently became the Portofino is now the Portofino M. The M stands for Modificata. It is evolutionary, not revolutionary; the biggest change comes from the powertrain. Power still comes a 3.9-liter turbocharged V8, but peak output is bumped up 20, from 591 to 611 horsepower, which comes at 7,500 rpm. Peak torque holds steady at 561 lb-ft between 3,000 – 5,750 rpm.
To achieve this, Ferrari changed the cam profiles and increased lift. Moreover, a sensor was added to the turbocharger to more precisely measure how quickly it’s spooling. Having this information allowed engineers to increase peak turbo speed by 5,000 rpm. Finally, Ferrari developed a new exhaust system. As much as anything, these changes came to meet a new emissions standard in Europe.
More significant, in many ways, is a new eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle. This is a gearbox, which also includes the differential in the casing. It is a wet-clutch box that uses longer gear ratios than the one used in the SF90. The main benefits include smoother low-speed operation as well as lower engine speeds while cruising, thanks to the eighth gear. Ferrari claims that results in improved fuel economy and easier operation in town.
But c’mon, this is a Ferrari! And, yes, the new Portofino is also quicker. 0-62 mph more or less stays the same at 3.5 seconds, but keep your foot in it and 0-124 mph improves by a full second, now taking just 9.8 seconds. And if you’re foot is heavy, perhaps you’re feeling racy. In that case, a fifth element was added to the Manettino. In addition to Wet, Comfort, Sport, and ESC-off modes, you now have Race. Seems fitting enough.
When it comes to the corners, the Portofino M largely carries over from the outgoing model. Hardware like the double-wishbone front and multilink rear remains. But software was updated; you now get Side Slip Control, which better controls the attitude of the car in a corner using individual brakes and torque management. Essentially, you get a better safety net while on the track, as this feature is in race mode only.
Ferrari kept it conservative when it came to styling changes. There’s a new air vent around the wheel arch of the car, included to reduce coefficient of drag. And the front Grill has new aluminum slats. In back, designers cleaned up the rear of the car, thanks, in part, to the aforementioned new exhaust, which takes up a little less space. Finally, the rear diffuser is new, as well.
Sit inside and you’re met with a very familiar scene to the outgoing Portofino, replete with fine leathers, brushed aluminum, and, of course, an infotainment screen. Ferrari does now offer heated and ventilated front seats as well as a neck warmer, if it’s cooler, but your still want the retractable hardtop down. And, yes, even Ferrari needs to keep up with the Jones’, you can get both Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Finally, what is a new car without new safety? The Portofino M can be had with adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, emergency braking, and other such systems.
Expect the Portofino M to land on our shores in the summer of 2021 with a price tag of around about $245,000. If you happen to get your hands on one, expect jealous neighbors soon after.
Based on the Portofino and the careful changes made here, we have a hard time not believing it will be great. But we’ll share more once we get behind the wheel.
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