The shapely Portofino M convertible sits at the bottom of Ferrari’s model hierarchy, and like the model it replaced for the model, its engine sits at the front of the car. But don’t let either of those things color your judgment. The Portofino M is everything a Ferrari should be: powerful, and fast. Its twin-turbo V-8 churns out 612 horsepower—up from 591 in last year’s model—and it should hit 60 mph in the low three-second range. The small back seat and trunk won’t fit much, but practicality has never been a Ferrari selling point. In 15 seconds, you can stow the retractable hardtop and listen to the roaring exhaust fight the wind for your attention. If open-air driving isn’t your thing, Ferrari offers a Portofino-based coupe in the sub-$250,000 range that might be more to your taste.
What’s New for 2021?
Ferrari will release an updated Portofino later this year. Called the Portofino M, this droptop makes more power than last year’s non-M model, which Ferrari will no longer sell. What’s more, the manettino drive-mode switch on the steering wheel gains a Race setting for track driving, and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic takes over shifting duties from its predecessor’s seven-speed unit. Plus, newly available seats with ventilation and neck-warming tech will surely improve the roof-off experience for buyers.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Beneath the Portofino M’s elongated hood sits a twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 making 612 horsepower—that’s 21 horses more than the car managed. As before, the engine sends 561 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, but it routes it through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of last year’s seven-speed. The claimed 199-plus-mph top speed and a 60-mph time that we estimate to be in the low-three-second range are actually not what’s most impressive; it’s the unmistakable howl that erupts from the exhaust tips as the Portofino’s tach needle charges toward the engine’s 7500-rpm redline. We drove the 591-hp Portofino in Italy, where the convertible provided a comfortable ride and remarkable body control thanks to its adaptive dampers. While its electrically assisted steering delivered satisfying feedback, the setup isn’t as engaging as what Porsche’s sports cars deliver. Every 2021 Portofino also features carbon-ceramic brakes that ensure this hefty grand tourer can stop thrice. However, we had to get used to the brake pedal’s initial softness. Ferrari limited the pedal travel on the M in an effort to help improve its iffy feel. We’ll let you know if it’s effective once we have the opportunity to drive one.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Ferrari covers the Portofino M’s interior in sumptuous leather, and the 18-way power-adjustable front seats—newly available with ventilation and neck-warming tech—provide adequate comfort and support. Plus, a handy wind deflector helps keep the cabin quiet at speed when you have the hardtop roof down. With its pair of small bucket seats behind the front passengers, the convertible Ferrari can technically transport up to four people, but we wouldn’t recommend anyone spend time back there. We’d use those seats to carry our stuff, as the Portofino’s trunk won’t fit much and in-cabin storage is scant. A useful tray at the front of the center console will hold small items, and there’s even a place to store a beverage nearby, but that’s about it.