“Modificata” is a familiar moniker to Ferraristi, being tacked onto the end of model names with a signifying “M” to indicate an increase in spec and performance. Go all the way back to Ferrari’s sports racing cars of the 1970s, and you’ll find the evolved 1970-71 512 M endurance racers which competed against the legendary Porsche 917s. In more recent times, Ferrari closed out production of the Testarossa with 501 F512 M variants between 1994-96, and it named the 2002 550 Maranello successor the 575M Maranello. Today, Ferrari announced the 2021 Portofino M, a significantly updated version of its retractable-hardtop convertible which arrives in U.S showrooms in summer 2021 at a starting cost in Italy of 206,000 euros (about $244,000, though official U.S. pricing has yet to be announced).
2021 Ferrari Portofino M Updates: Drivetrain Improvements
True to its naming convention, the new 2021 Ferrari Portofino M’s 3.9-liter, turbocharged V-8 now makes 612 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque courtesy of new high-lift cam profiles and a faster-spinning turbo impeller; the improvement marks a 20-hp increase from previous Portofinos with no increase in torque. Ferrari says the power bump comes despite a new gas-particulate filter added to the model to curb emissions for the European market which, like a catalytic converter, saps both power and exhaust noise. To help rectify this, Ferrari simply ripped out the existing twin rear silencers, and it modified the 2021 Ferrari Portofino M’s exhaust-valve shape and opening characteristics for less backpressure and more of the sound expected of a Ferrari.
A new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, based on the design of that in the SF90 Stradale, is modified and compacted, as it has been in the new Roma, for use in the Portofino M. With more aggressive ratios in the first few gears and taller ratios further up the cog set, Ferrari says both acceleration and fuel economy is improved, while the gearbox is mounted slightly lower in the chassis for an improved center of gravity.
Maranello says the updated 2021 Ferrari Portofino M’s new transmission also makes city stop-and-go driving smoother with improved clutch-torque control. Also like the Roma, the 2021 Ferrari Portofino M gets the manufacturer’s new Side Slip Control (SSC) 6.0, which is essentially an electronic system to help make oversteering antics easier to manage. In this model, SSC is available only with the Manettino, Ferrari’s steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector, set in Race mode, which itself is a new feature for the model. Manettino modes now include Wet, Comfort, Sport, Race, and ESC-Off.
2021 Ferrari Portofino M Updates: Styling Upgrades
Styling updates are very subtle, with the Portofino M’s front end being given aluminum-finish horizontal slats in the grille and functionally reshaped vents to either side. The ends of the front bumper also have cut-outs which blend into the styling of the car’s existing front fender vents. At the rear, the bumper is restyled slightly, while the underbody diffuser is also new and now available optionally in carbon fiber. Fresh five-spoke, diamond-finish wheels round out the changes, with the interior looking largely untouched, save for a “Portofino M” badge at the end of the dashboard.
2021 Ferrari Portofino M Updates: Performance
If you hope these changes have a big effect on the updated Portofino’s 0-60-mph time, you’ll be disappointed. Michael Leiters, Ferrari’s chief technology officer, says the Portofino M’s sprint to 62 mph is limited by rear-end grip and remains at 3.4 seconds like the standard Portofino. Still, there’s improvement to be found further up the speed range, with a 9.8-second 0-124-mph run, which Ferrari says knocks a full second off of the outgoing car’s time. Top speed is unchanged at 199 mph.
The revisions mean the Portofino M even makes the same horsepower as the new 612-hp Roma coupe, but Ferrari still considers the rakish Roma coupe and voluptuous Portofino M convertible as very different cars, designed to coexist alongside each other. “Different Ferraris for different Ferraristi,” as Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s marketing boss, puts it. We’ll have one of each, please.