The new Ferrari Portofino M is a more hardcore version of the automaker's stylish grand tourer

FerrariFerrari Portofino M.
  • Ferrari recently unveiled the Portofino M in an online-only event that was a first for the Italian automaker and a requirement of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Portofino M is the latest iteration of Ferrari’s entry-level GT car – the “M” stands for Modificata.
  • The new Portofino enjoys a notable bump up in the output from its twin-turbocharged V8 engine: 612 horsepower, from 591.
  • There’s also a new drive mode – Race – and a new eight-speed gearbox coming to the drop-top Prancing Horse, whose design has been just slightly tweaked.
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Ferrari took the unprecedented step of revealing its Portofino M entirely online last week, a consequence of the global coronavirus pandemic tamping down some of the usual autumn hooplas around new vehicles.

Undaunted, Ferrari said that circumstances meant the Portofino M would symbolise rediscovery for Maranello. And while the Portofino M isn’t a radical departure for the Prancing Horse, the entry-level, grand-touring convertible has been upgraded in some notable areas.

Ferrari Portofino MFerrariFerrari Portofino M.

The big one is a bump up in horsepower for the 3.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V8, to 612 horsepower from 591 horsepower.

The M-for-modificata (meaning “modified”) action continues with a new eight-speed gearbox and the additional of Race mode to the famous manettino on the steering wheel. Ferrari said in a statement that this is a first for one of its GT car, and the addition is intended to provide owners with maximum driving excitement.

The eight-speed is notable because Ferrari said it enhances fuel economy, and the Italian automaker has been busy positioning its lineup to be better able to deal with future regulations that might challenge the brand’s embrace of horsepower — and its disregard for how much fill-ups are costing owners, or for whether the company is future-proofing its machines against global warming.

Ferrari Portofino MFerrariFerrari Portofino M.

Design-wise, Ferrari said the grille had been reworked and a new set of vents had been added to the Portofino M’s flanks, extending back from the front wheel arches.

Ferrari also stressed that the retractable hardtop means the Portofino M can live a dual life as a convertible and a coupé.

Ferrari Portofino MFerrariFerrari Portofino M.

Inside, the Portofino M expresses all the luxury you’d expect from a car whose price tag should tip past $US200,000 when it goes on sale in Europe and the US next year.

But it also continues Ferrari’s endorsement of modern technology, most obviously in the 10.3-inch infotainment screen mounted in the middle of the centre stack. There are smaller screens on either side of the instrument cluster’s large tachometer.

But Ferrari designers were careful to preserve a sense of openness in the Portofino M’s cockpit, and the dashboard has been organised as a multi-level affair. In proper Ferrari fashion, the overall number of buttons and knobs have been kept to a minimum.

Highlighting innovation for the Portofino M’s unveiling, Ferrari seems to be setting up the world for some big new things as it heads toward the launch of its first SUV in the coming years, as well as a possible all-electric supercar.

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