Cars

<em>Photo: Andrea Melcangi<br /></em>

Evolving perfection

The new Ferrari Portofino M carries a special suffix and represents a major transformation of this hugely popular two-plus hardtop convertible
Words

Chris Rees

There is one fundamental at Ferrari: the marque never, but never, stands still. “Our story is one of continuous evolution”, confirms Emanuele Carando, Head of Product Marketing. “We never stop progressing. We always keep striving for excellence”.

A single-letter suffix of the new Portofino embodies this spirit of evolution: ‘M’ stands for ‘Modified’.

Side Slip Control 6.0 with Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer - a first for a 2-plus spider <em>Photo: Andrea Melcangi</em>
Side Slip Control 6.0 with Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer - a first for a 2-plus spider Photo: Andrea Melcangi

Just as with past models - the F512 M, the 456M GT and the 575M Maranello - this latest ‘M’ is an evolution in performance, design, and comfort.
It is ideal for glorious summer driving with the roof down; yet equally enjoyable in winter with its retractable hard top firmly in place.

And it can be shared, thanks to its generous two-plus cabin.
Carando explains: “The Portofino M might look similar but the combination of improvements makes it feel like a new car, particularly the way it drives. It’s sportier yet easier to drive”.

One of the main areas of focus is the drive-train. Power rises by 20cv to an impressive 620cv, thanks to software upgrades and new components that include uprated cam profiles and a speed sensor for the turbocharger that allows it to spin faster – up by some 5,000rpm, providing a weight-power ratio of 2.49kg/cv.

Variable Boost Management creates sharper acceleration in lower gears and increased torque in higher gears.

Modified bypass valves cut exhaust backpressure <em>Photo: Andrea Melcangi</em>
Modified bypass valves cut exhaust backpressure Photo: Andrea Melcangi

An updated exhaust system sees the silencers eliminated and a new geometry for the bypass valves introduced, cutting exhaust backpressure. This all makes the V8 truly sing, and what better way to enjoy its chorus than with the roof folded neatly away?
An extra gear comes from the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission derived from the SF90 Stradale.

New software offers quicker gear changes, increasing comfort in stop-go urban driving and the new transmission reduces CO2 emissions and improves fuel consumption.

The five-settings manettino now includes ‘Race’ and ‘Wet’ modes.

Side Slip Control 6.0 with Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer is introduced for the first time on a two-plus spider, making driving more intuitive whilst prioritising comfort. Meanwhile a third-generation electronically-controlled rear differential delivers the best possible traction and optimum power distribution between the wheels.

Power has risen to an impressive 620cv, yet the M version is easier to drive <em>Photo: Andrea Melcangi</em>
Power has risen to an impressive 620cv, yet the M version is easier to drive Photo: Andrea Melcangi

Overall the car is now easier to drive.

Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, with extra modulation in the pedal to sharpen driver feedback.

There’s also a step up in terms of equipment. Optional ADAS systems include Adaptive Cruise Control with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning with Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Surround-View Camera.

The design has also evolved, but, as Carando explains: “Our aim was not to change the look of the car but evolve it in line with the increase in functionality and performance”. Thus, the new shape of the front bumper with its re-designed air-intakes reflects the engineering demand for better cooling, something also helped by the newly shaped side air-exits. The new front-end design improves aerodynamics, whilst the rear diffuser is now separate to the bumper and can be specified in carbon-fibre.

Ideal for all weathers, roof up or roof down<em> Photo: Andrea Melcangi</em>
Ideal for all weathers, roof up or roof down Photo: Andrea Melcangi

Other features consolidate the Portofino M's unique position as the  only retractable hard top two-plus-seater with a flowing, two-box design. The cabin maintains its sporty yet versatile feel, thanks to the symmetrical cockpit layout and multi-level dashboard whose highlights include a large main touchscreen and optional passenger display. Folding rear seats and 18-way adjustable electric front seats with heating and ventilation, are complemented by a neck warmer for winter use.

All in all the Portofino M takes the Ferrari concept of two cars in one – two-plus coupé and convertible – to levels never before seen.

Ferrari