Ferrari’s new Portofino M sports edgier styling, more power, and an eight-speed gearbox
Ferrari’s first new model after its COVID-19-era close has landed, and Maranello sticking to what works. The Portofino M is a massaged version of Ferrari’s entry grand tourer, the retractable-hardtop, V-8-powered Portofino.
The clearest evidence of this consistency is the engine underneath the Portofino M’s hood, a twin-turbo, 3.9-liter member of the family that powered the California T back in … wait for it … 2016. The engine also appeared, with a 47-cc boost in displacement, in the 488 GTB and 488 Spider. Despite the 20-hp bump over a regular Portofino—an increase achieved thanks to new cam profiles—this flat-plane-crank powerplant is a tried-and-true recipe for Ferrari.
The biggest mechanical change for the Portofino M, however, is the eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic linked to that 612-hp V-8. The Portofino uses a seven-speed unit; for the Portofino M, Ferrari snagged the eight-speed box from the 986-hp SF90, changing its character slightly with longer ratios in higher gears and the addition of a mechanical reverse gear (the SF90 uses one of its three electric motors to fulfill that function).
The most relevant side-effect of the new gearbox, for most Portofino M owners, will be the driving experience at lower speeds. When cruising through the swanky streets of Monaco, for instance, drivers in slow-moving traffic should enjoy the Portifino M’s smoother operation thanks to tweaks in the gearbox’s clutch torque control. The car will also treat its occupants—and surrounding admirers—to a distinct exhaust note thanks to new exhaust line geometry; Ferrari’s removed the rear silencers and used an oval design for the bypass valves to enhance the V-8 soundtrack.
Naturally, Ferrari sent the Portofino M to the gym to make sure that these mechanical upgrades would be noticeable by envious bystanders. The easiest way to tell a regular Portofino (left) from a Portofino M (right) is the vent immediately in front of the front wheel wells.
Designers blistered the air intakes next to the Portofino M’s grille as well as exaggerated the outlets framing the rear bumper:
Ferrari redesigned the rear air diffuser to be separate from the bumper, allowing buyers to spec a carbon-fiber unit instead of the regular glossy black blades.
Ferrari hasn’t yet announced pricing, but expect even the least expensive Prancing Horse model to carry an appropriately exclusive price. The 2020 Portofino’s had a $215,000 MSRP, so we expect at least that for the new M. First deliveries are slated for next summer.