The softest, slowest Ferrari just got slightly harder and faster.

    Set to touch down in Europe during the second quarter of 2021, the Portofino M replaces the Portofino as the entry point to the Ferrari line-up.

    With 456kW of power and up to 760Nm of torque, along with a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the 2021 Portofino M will hit 100km/h in just 3.45 seconds from standstill, on its way to a top speed north of 320km/h.

    That claimed top speed is unchanged, while the 100km/h sprint has dropped by 0.05 seconds.

    The powertrain shares elements with those in other, more recent Ferraris. The transmission is derived from that in the SF90, albeit with a physical reverse gear in the absence of an electric motor, and has longer ratios than that of the Roma coupe in keeping with the drop-top’s slightly more relaxed demeanour.

    Continuing the practice started in the California T, the twin-turbo V8 engine in the Portofino M doesn’t offer peak torque in first gear.

    Instead, it staggers the engine’s delivery so only in seventh and eighth gears do drivers have access to the full 760Nm, in search of a more progressive, naturally-aspirated feel from behind the wheel.

    Changes to the M extend beyond the engine. The Portofino M swaps its four-position mode selector (or Manettino) for the five-mode selector from the Roma, which makes this the first Ferrari drop-top to have Race mode.

    That means Portofino owners benefit from the full suite of active assists in the Prancing Horse catalogue, including the latest Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer system that brings the brakes into play for more predictable, balanced handling at the limit.

    Ferrari also says the brake pedal in the M has been improved, with 10 per cent less travel for a sharper, more confident feel from behind the wheel.

    Changes to the cabin are subtle. Ferrari says the seat padding has been changed to free up more rear seat room. The new digital instrument binnacle from the Roma is notably absent, along with its new touch-based steering wheel controls.

    Also missing from the Roma is the compact, chromed gear selector designed to mimic gated manual shifters. Buttons on a spindle protruding from the transmission tunnel instead carry over.

    Externally, the new Portofino has been gently massaged compared to the model it replaces. The bumpers have been subtly tweaked to look more aggressive, and the grille has been updated with fresh horizontal slats.

    MORE: Everything Ferrari Portofino

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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