Ferrari Portofino M brings new powertrain, chassis and tech upgrades

Ferrari’s entry-level model is upgraded with claims of better handling, more power from the V8 and a new eight-speed gearbox

Ferrari’s most affordable model, the Portofino, has been upgraded with the introduction of a more powerful, re-engineered M variant.

The Portofino M (standing for Modificata, used historically by the brand to designate an evolution in performance) includes a host of technical enhancements over the standard model. It’s the first Ferrari ever to be unveiled purely online, and the first to launch since the storied Italian brand shut down during the Italy’s pandemic lockdown.

Externally, the new model has been lightly redesigned over the standard Portofino. Changes are focused on the front end, with a new bumper design for a “sportier and more aggressive” look.

Top of the billing of the technical changes to the Aston Martin DB11 Volante rival is the powertrain. The Portofino’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 has been boosted from 441kW to 456kW. More significant than that, however, is that a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox replacing the old seven-speed unit.

The first eight-speeder in a Ferrari drop-top, the gearbox features a 20% smaller clutch module and can deliver 35% more torque than the old unit. Expect the extra ratio to boost acceleration, too, but no performance figures have been quoted.

The Portofino M also brings in the full five-position ‘Manettino’ drive mode switch from pricier Ferraris, replacing the three-mode switch of the standard model. That means it gets a Race mode which, in combination with Ferrari’s Dynamic Enhancer (which subtly uses the brakes to keep slides under control), is said to boost driver involvement.

Furthermore, new optional features have been made available in the form of more advanced driver assistance tech (ADAS) and comfort features such as ventilated and heated seats. Pricing for the new Portofino M has yet to be detailed.

Lawrence Allan

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