2021 Ferrari Portofino M First Look: M Is for More


For better or worse, we’ve called the Portofino an everyday Ferrari—a very good, but not great, car from Maranello. That’s less of a criticism and more an observation of the real purpose of the entry-level Ferrari drop-top. We have already found it to be fast, elegant, refined, and luxuriously equipped—it’s faint praise only when you consider the other prancing horses in the stable. And with the 2021 Portofino M, Ferrari is refining the formula even further.

M stands for modificata, or modification, signaling an evolution of the existing model. Consider it a mid-cycle refresh. The real news here is that the Portofino M adopts the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission from its fixed-top Roma sibling, a unit that debuted in the incredible SF90 Stradale. The Portofino M uses variable boost management to match torque output to the gear selected, limiting maximum torque to only the top two gears.

More power? That too. The Portofino M again cribs notes from the Roma and adopts the same 612-hp tune from its twin-turbo V-8 engine, a 20-hp bump over the current Portofino. The flat-plane crankshaft engine once again displaces 3.9 liters, with the increased power provided by new cam profiles and a higher limit on the turbocharger’s maximum revs.

A particulate filter is fitted on Euro models but doesn’t cause a change in output, per Ferrari. The exhaust system is also revised, with the two rear silencers axed to reduce backpressure. The bypass valves are also tweaked. Ferrari claims both changes improve the exhaust note, something we’ll be very happy to investigate further.

Control over the driving experience is provided by a five-position “Manettino” drive mode switch that, for the first time on a drop-top grand tourer, offers a “Race” mode. It “maximizes driving pleasure,” according to Ferrari.

On the styling front, the changes are subtle and evolutionary. There’s a new air vent mounted high on the front bumper to reduce drag. It also serves to match the design of the car’s side scallops. The grille slats are a new design, too, with contrasting faceted tips. And the tail is tucked, as well, since it doesn’t have to accommodate those rear silencers anymore. Additionally, the rear diffuser gets a new design that can be optioned in carbon fiber.

We don’t know the official pricing for the model in the United States. That said, look for the Portofino M to hit our shores next summer.

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