2021 Ferrari Portofino M first drive review: M stands for magnificent

When you are a brand like Ferrari, every change has a certain meaning. In the case of the Ferrari Portofino M 2021, even the addition of a single letter. The M stands for “modified”, which in Italian only means “modified”. But it actually means something else: more performance.

For this year, the Portofino wholesaler adopts the transmission of its lovely coupe cousin, the Ferrari Rome. The 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 is a superb engine, delivering around 20 more ponies than the outgoing nodule. It is now paired with a new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, once again just like the Roma – and also like the SF90 Street. It is a good company to be in.

In a car like this, the extra power isn’t really a big deal, but the increased responsiveness of the engine, aided by the modified gear ratios, makes it an incredibly enjoyable thing to drive. The Portofino M is meant to be on the more laid-back side of Ferrari’s offerings, but once I’ve finally found my way out of the Miami stasis for my test drive, finally on some open roads, it’s pretty clear that this it is not exclusively a relaxed tourer.

Even with the steering wheel-mounted drive selector set to Wet mode, something I use quite a bit during the frequent Florida downpours, the car barks and turns tires promptly, kicking its tail like a thoroughbred wanting to play. Dial things up on Sport or, new this year, Race, and things get predictably wilder.

The addition of Race might seem like an odd thing for a very road-oriented convertible, but it’s a welcome change. I generally find Ferrari’s Sport modes too quiet and Race a little too wild for easy driving. The Portofino M also boosts those with Comfort mode, giving enough diffusion to suit my every mood.

Updated looks are much better.

Tim Stevens / Roadshow

I am happy to announce that this is the only major change with the Portofino’s steering wheel. Didn’t get the touch sensitive mess that I hated in Rome. Every input here is delightfully tactile, and while finding the right turn signal when the wheel is turned is more complicated than ever, that’s a small price to pay to be able to activate lights, wipers, and just about everything else you need with one. simple twitch of a finger.

The car receives some serious tech updates, however, including adaptive cruising which is a godsend for Florida’s consistently miserable traffic and a surround view camera system makes this long-nosed car in parking lots a breeze. The most surprising update for me is something I thought would never happen: Android Auto. Yes, Ferrari has finally opened its doors to Google, and thank goodness, because the built-in browsing experience here is … basic.

But you probably don’t care much about that. How do you drive? Superbly. As I mentioned earlier, the engine is a willing partner, and while the drive transmission is occasionally a little overly smooth and slow, a quick reach for the pronounced shift paddles solves this problem very well. Blowing the gears creates a glorious noise, all the easier to appreciate with the top down.

The motorized hardtop goes up or down in about 15 seconds to around 30 mph, but I recommend caution before using it at speed. While the top is in operation, the trunk is fully open, meaning anything loose can and will fly away. (Ask me how I know.) Prepare carefully.

2021 Ferrari Portofino M

Just leave the top down. It looks better that way.

Tim Stevens / Roadshow

The top folds under a sculpted tonneau that slides nicely into the trunk, and if you squint, you can barely see the two rear seats that Ferrari has provided here. They are perfect for any legless mates you feel like taking a ride.

While I love the Portofino M’s performance, I am really surprised at how good a cruiser is. The car doesn’t punish for separation joints on Florida freeways, the seats are very comfortable, and while the engine has a bit of a drone, it’s easily forgivable when there’s 612 horsepower of gain. Buffeting is of little concern with the top down, and with the top up, you almost never know you’re in a convertible.

And now for the part where I tell you how much you will pay for this pleasure. The starting price of the 2021 Ferrari Portofino M is $ 226,000, including the $ 3,950 destination, an increase of just over $ 20,000 over the previous model. The Rosso Portofino car you see here features a whopping $ 141,356 in options, ranging from decorative ($ 1,266 for the prancing horses embroidered on the headrests) to connective ($ 4,219 for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay).

Expensive, of course, but it’s a truly superb all-rounder, now with a sharp look and updated technology. It’s a real driver’s car that won’t punish you for actually driving it long and far.


Editor’s Note: Travel expenses related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the automotive industry. The opinions and opinions of the Roadshow staff are ours and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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