The Ferrari Portofino M revives Modificata badge with extra power and new gearbox

It’s been just a week since we spotted Ferrari testing a facelifted version of the Portofino camouflaged from nose to rear, and the Italian automaker has already unveiled the revised model. It’s called the Portofino M, and it features a range of upgrades inside and out, a beefed-up V-8 engine, and a brand-new transmission. The first Ferrari to be unveiled entirely online, the Portofino M marks the return of the "M" badge. Short of Modificata, which indicates extensive updates, this badge has been used on a couple of cars in the 1990s and 2000s. Notable examples include the 575M Maranello from 2002 and the F512 M, the third iteration of the Testarossa, in 1994.

The Ferrari Portofino M looks slightly different on the outside

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The Portofino M is a proper facelift design-wise, meaning that Ferrari changed only a handful of features to keep the car fresh. Some modifications also improve aerodynamics. Up front, only one modification catches in the eye, in the form side bumper vents that are wider at the bottom. Ferrari says the grille features new aluminum slats, but that’s barely visible. The bumper also features new small vents toward the front wheels, which match the outlets that extent from the other side of the wheel arch into the doors. The profile carries over unchanged save for a set of diamond-finish rims that are unique for this model. The same goes for the rear end, where Ferrari revised only the exhaust pipes and the diffuser. The Italians claim that the diffuser was redesigned, but visual changes are far from dramatic.

The Ferrari Portofino M’s interior is unchanged, but still cool

The Updated Ferrari Portofino Caries an M Badge, More Power, and a New Transmission Interior
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Not surprisingly, the interior carries over unchanged save for the "M" badge on the dashboard and a new option for ventilated and heated seats.

However, it’s not like the Portofino needed a brand-new interior. The two-tier dashboard still looks fresh, while the materials are of the finest quality. Depending on how you spec your car, you can get leather, Alcantara, or both, as well as carbon-fiber and aluminum trim. The seats offer lateral support, but they’re also very comfortable for long trips. The race-inspired steering wheel includes buttons to make things easier on the go, while the infotainment display is big enough to ensure easy access to its functions. The Portofino M is fitted with driver-assist systems like Adaptive Cruise Control, Predictive Emergency Brake, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Surround View with 3D Display, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The Ferrari Portofino M packs more oomph and a new gearbox

The Updated Ferrari Portofino Caries an M Badge, More Power, and a New Transmission Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The M model retains the twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V-8 of its predecessor, but Ferrari added new cam profiles for increased valve lift and optimized combustion chamber filling.

This upgrade increases output from 592 to 611 horsepower, so the "M" badge comes with an additional 19 horses. Torque remains unchanged at 561 pound-feet.

The small power increase doesn’t affect the car’s performance, so the Portofino M charges from 0 to 62 mph in the same 3.5 seconds, while top speed remains locked at the same 199 mph.

Engine twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V-8
Horsepower 611 HP
Torque 561 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 3.5 seconds
Top Speed 199 mph

The engine is mated to a brand-new eight-speed automatic gearbox. It differs from the SF90 Stradale’s eight-speed transmission in its longer gear ratios and a mechanical reverse gear. Ferrari says the new layout and integration of its components have also optimized the gearbox’s size and its installation in the car. It also helps reduce fuel consumption, but Ferrari doesn’t say by how much.

Upgrades also include a new clutch module that is 20-percent smaller but delivers 35-percent more torque when gear shifting and a five-position Manettino with Race mode, a first for a Ferrari grand tourer.

The Updated Ferrari Portofino Caries an M Badge, More Power, and a New Transmission Exterior Wallpaper quality
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As before, the upgraded Portofino comes with a dynamics control system called Side Slip Control. It incorporates a complex system that delivers an estimate in real-time of the sideslip angle to all the various on-board control systems, and the computer acts accordingly, improving stability and performance. Now in its sixth generation, the SSC includes the E-Diff, F1-TCS, SCM-E Frs, and the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) control systems. The FDE is a lateral dynamics control system that uses software to adjust the hydraulic brake pressure at the calipers on all four wheels, but only when the Manettino is in Race mode.

Finally, to comply with the most recent Euro-6 emissions standards, a particulate filter has been included in the exhaust system.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

The Ferrari Portofino M, the evolution of the Prancing Horse’s 2+ GT spider, the Ferrari Portofino, was unveiled today. In a move unprecedented in the Maranello marque’s 70-year-plus history, the new car’s premiere took place entirely online. The build-up to the unveiling included the sending out of a series of newsletters to clients over recent weeks at the end of which they were given access to a platform containing exclusive videos illustrating the concept behind the car, its restyling and main technical contents.

The Portofino M is the first Ferrari to be presented in the wake of the company’s temporary closure due to the Covid-19 crisis, making it the symbol of a voyage of rediscovery. It is the (re)starting point for Prancing Horse’s pursuit of innovation whilst fully respecting its heritage, passion and constant search for perfection. All of these values are reflected in the new Portofino M. In fact, the ‘M’ in its moniker stands for ‘Modificata’, which in Ferrari nomenclature refers to cars that have undergone an evolution that has significantly boosted their performance.

There is no shortage of technical innovation in the stunning new evolution of the Ferrari Portofino, the most notable being its redesigned powertrain, a brand-new eight-speed gearbox and the five-position Manettino that includes a Race mode, an absolute first for a Maranello GT spider. As a consequence of these and many other new features, the Portofino M guarantees an unprecedented combination of authentic GT performance, driving pleasure, agility and exceptional versatility in everyday driving contexts.

This latest design and engineering masterpiece from the Prancing Horse is the perfect evolution of the Ferrari Portofino. Sportier in character than its predecessor, it also delivers superior handling whilst not only maintaining but enhancing on-board comfort, courtesy of specific new optional features, such as ADAS, and ventilated and heated seats. The Ferrari Portofino M thus retains the Ferrari Portofino’s twin soul and is the only car on the market that can rightfully be described as an authentic coupé with its top closed and a genuine spider when it is open. This is thanks, of course, to the Retractable Hard Top (RHT), the signature feature of all the Prancing Horse’s convertibles.

The Portofino M’s compact dimensions also make it ideal for all occasions. In fact, its unparalleled versatility and on-board comfort turn every trip into a voyage of (re)discovery.

POWERTRAIN

The Ferrari Portofino M’s 3855cc engine belongs to the V8 turbo family voted “International Engine of the Year” on four consecutive occasions (2016-2019). The power unit can punch out 620 cv at 7,500 rpm, 20 cv more than the Ferrari Portofino. To achieve these performance levels, the Ferrari engineers used new cam profiles to increase valve lift and optimise combustion chamber filling.

A speed sensor was also added to the turbocharger assembly to measure the turbine revolutions. This in turn allowed the maximum revolutions per minute of the turbine to be increased by 5,000 rpm.

Lastly, to comply with the strictest pollution emissions standards, a Gasoline Particulate Filter has been included in the exhaust system. The GPF allows the car to comply with the strictest European anti-pollution standards (Euro-6D) without compromising driving pleasure.

This result comes thanks to a control logic that continuously regenerates the filter, limiting the amount of accumulated particulate matter. This is achieved by using two dedicated sensors per cylinder bank to accurately measure differential pressure deltas up- and down-stream of the GPF.

The 8-speed gearbox is a completely new unit compared to the previous 7-speed version and is based on a dual-clutch oil bath architecture. It differs from the SF90 Stradale’s 8-speed transmission in its longer gear ratios and the introduction of a mechanical reverse gear. The new layout and integration of its components have also optimised the gearbox’s size and its installation in the car.

Like all the other turbo cars in the range and in line with the “zero turbo lag” concept, the Ferrari Portofino M delivers instantaneous throttle response throughout the rev range. The car boasts Variable Boost Management, a control software developed by Ferrari that adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected. The result is increasingly powerful pick-up as revs rise, whilst optimising fuel consumption. As the car goes up through the gears (from 3rd to 8th), the amount of torque delivered by the engine increases all the way up to 760 Nm in 7th and 8th gear.

On the one hand, this has allowed Ferrari to use longer gear ratios in the higher gears, which helps keep fuel consumption and emissions down, while on the other, adopting a steeper torque curve through the rev range in the lower gears for a feeling of smooth and powerful pick-up.

The introduction of the eighth gear and the improvement in transmission efficiency have resulted in a significant reduction in fuel consumption in urban and motorway contexts in addition to noticeably improving performance even under sportier, more press-on driving.

The new clutch module is 20% smaller but delivers 35% more torque, with up to a maximum 1,200 Nm of dynamic torque transmitted when gear shifting. The transmission software strategy has also been evolved with a more powerful ECU.

Lastly, particular attention was focused on gear change strategies aimed at improving the power unit’s fuel consumption and emissions levels. Due to more efficient clutch torque control, the car is now also easier to drive in urban contexts during Start&Stop cycles. This guarantees that the car is smoother to drive at low speeds in traffic, as well as delivering a more intuitive experience and improved responsiveness.

By tradition, every single Ferrari engine has its own particular soundtrack that makes it unique. The Ferrari Portofino M is no exception. In addition to the flat-plane crankshaft, the geometry of the entire exhaust line is new. The two rear silencers have been eliminated (which in addition to boosting sound also significantly reduces backpressure in the tailpipes) and the by-pass valves are now oval in shape to enhance the exhaust sound. Both solutions significantly reduce exhaust backpressure and improve sound quality. The last notable modification is “proportional” by-pass valve control, which is continuous and progressive depending on the driving situation.

VEHICLE DYNAMICS

The Portofino M sports the vehicle dynamics control system known as Side Slip Control (SSC), which incorporates an algorithm that delivers an estimate in real time of the side slip angle to all the various on-board control systems. The SSC coordinates all the vehicle dynamics interventions as the systems are all integrated using shared data.

Now in its sixth generation, the SSC integrates the E-Diff, F1-TCS, SCM-E Frs and the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) control systems. The FDE is a lateral dynamics control system that uses Ferrari software to adjust the hydraulic brake pressure at the callipers on all four wheels. On the Ferrari Portofino M, it is available only when the Manettino is in Race mode. The FDE is designed to make the car’s lateral dynamics more predictable both through and exiting corners by ensuring the steering wheel and throttle are more intuitive for the driver to use. That said, the FDE is not a stability control system and flanks rather than replaces the traditional VDC and stability control system (ESC).

Another noteworthy factor is the more modulable brake pedal pressure which, when combined with a reduction in pedal travel of around 10%, delivers more precise, instantaneous responsiveness to inputs during braking.

The aim of the five-position Manettino, a first on a Prancing Horse GT spider, is to make the Ferrari Portofino M’s handling and grip even more accessible by extending the setting ranges still further with the introduction of the Race position. Supported by the introduction of the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, that position focuses on maximising driving pleasure.

DESIGN

The new Ferrari Portofino M’s harmonious styling is the product of a global approach to design in which all the various elements are treated as part of a single whole and builds on the success of the Portofino design. This applies both to the bodywork, where the front, flanks and tail are part of a single seamlessly sculptural design, as it does to the cabin where the general arrangement of the volumes and lines is stylistically consistent. This approach can be seen in the interaction between the car’s exterior and interior.

EXTERIOR

The fact that the Portofino M’s performance is more powerful than the Portofino resulted in the Ferrari Styling Centre’s designers making very precise, targeted adjustments to highlight the model’s characteristics and underscore its sportiness.

The wraparound front bumpers incorporate imposing, sculptural air intakes that lend a decisive, aggressive look to the front of the car. They also feature a new air vent at wheelarch height, added because of the need to reduce the car’s overall drag. Part of the air flow coming off the front radiating masses is directed towards the new vents and then accelerated up as it exits, boosting its extraction power. The resulting improvement in aerodynamic performance is underscored by a slash on the front bumper that flows into the design of the flanks, adding visual harmony to the side view of the car. Thus, the signature Portofino side scallop finds its visual counterpart on the Ferrari Portofino M’s front bumper, which has been sculpted to accentuate the car’s dynamic profile.

The grille features new aluminium slats with contrasting faceted tips that highlight this noble material.

At the rear, the new exhaust system has allowed the removal of the silencer assembly, making the Ferrari Portofino M’s tail more compact. The result is that the rear bumpers are now more streamlined and sculptural. Visually, their forms are lighter too and their styling more in harmony with the front bumpers, creating a much more coherent overall aesthetic.

The rear diffuser has been completely redesigned and is now separate to the bumpers. This allows clients to be able to specify it in carbon-fibre, which further underscores the car’s sporty character.

Specific diamond-finish wheel rims were designed for the Ferrari Portofino M. Their styling references that of the car’s flanks, a perfect marriage of elegance and sportiness. The unusually sculptural design of the spokes and their chiaroscuro look visually lightens the rim.

INTERIOR

With the top down the Portofino M reveals its stylish GT soul and occupants will appreciate how compact and organic the whole car feels. There is exceptional design coherency in the development of the cabin, in fact. The Styling Centre team began by pinpointing certain specific prerequisites essential to the success of the design, the foremost of these being formal and functional coherency between the car’s exterior and its interior, weight reduction and more occupant space.

The crafting of the interior began with a multi-level dashboard structure comprising an upper half and then an intermediate gap designed to lighten the perceived mass of the lower half.

Obtained by subtracting rather than adding volumes, this breaking up of the dash into different levels allowed the designers to organise the technical elements and in-car devices to very rational effect while simultaneously defining its signature full-width architecture. A central horizontal aluminium blade divides the instrument panel, air conditioning vents and passenger display into separate areas in the upper section. The other control functions are located in the scooped section below, with a 10.25” touchscreen at the centre. This type of layout hints at flawless ergonomics and highlights the construction quality of every single detail through its seamless marriage of ultra-high-tech elements and materials with handcrafted assemblies and trims.

Seen in plan view, the cockpit’s symmetrical arrangement and the ample rear seat space are clear. From a construction perspective, the interior – and the dashboard architecture in particular – feature two shells incorporating all of the technical components and a bridge that visually connects the instrument panel area with the central tunnel.

This layout is designed to involve the passenger and is underscored in the styling of the door panels, handles and various controls and devices available, including the central and passenger touchscreens.

The seats are the product of a special research project and have an innovative magnesium structure. Different density padding and an ultra-compact seatback profile have freed up space for rear occupants too.

Also available is three-level ventilation for the seat and backrest, and the very popular neck warmer for use in winter months. The latter offers a choice of three heat levels and the system constantly adapts the speed of the warm air flow from the headrest to ensure it is proportional to the car’s speed, outside temperature and the position of the retractable top.

INFOTAINMENT AND HMI

The Ferrari Portofino M’s HMI (Human-Machine Interface) centres on a digital cluster with dual TFT displays arranged around the analogue rev counter in a generous circular, anti-glare binnacle. Located on exactly the same axis as the multifunctional steering wheel, this cluster allows the driver to interact more easily and intuitively, both visually and physically, with the car by delivering optimal driving feedback.

The infotainment system functions are controlled via the touchscreen handily located at the centre of the dash within easy reach of both driver and passenger. Designed to be as quick and accessible as possible in terms of both use and content, it includes a full HD multi-touch capacitive screen with Split View to allow different types of content to be viewed simultaneously. Both Apple Car Play and Android Auto are also available.

The passenger has an optional dedicated capacitive display on the dashboard. It is directly linked to the main screen providing all information relating to car speed, rpm and gear engaged. This 7” colour full HD and Full Touch display also allows the passenger to interact with the car’s on-board systems. They can, for instance, select music to listen to, view sat nav information or select a new point of interest (POI), such as a restaurant, which is then automatically integrated into the route. So essentially, the passenger becomes a co-driver.

The advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) available as optionals for the Ferrari Portofino M are:

Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go function for driving in traffic
Predictive Emergency Brake System that can alert the driver to potential collision risks readying the car to lessen the consequences of a frontal impact
Blind Spot Monitoring to alert driver to vehicles in the blind spot
Lane Departure Warning with acoustic and/or visual alert that the car has strayed out of its lane
Automatic High Beam, which automatically turns on and off high beams when driving at night
Traffic Sign Recognition, which constantly displays the speed limits on the particular road/street vehicle
Surround View with 3D display
Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which warns driver of moving obstacles hidden in the car’s rear blind spot, when reversing.

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