2021 Ferrari Portofino M first test

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The Ferrari Portofino M is not a driver’s car. Ferrari will try to tell you, but it isn’t. The combination of a folding hardtop and front-engine design means that it can never live up to its mid-engine siblings in terms of raw performance and satisfaction.

But being a pure driver’s car isn’t the goal of the Portofino M. Much more accommodating and easier to get along with, it’s the perfect car to step into when you don’t want to grab your mid-engined supercar. The suspension is compliant, the cabin is relatively spacious and there are even two seats in the rear in case of emergency. It’s the perfect second Ferrari.

The Portofino M is the Ferrari you take to shop, the Ferrari you take to shop, the Ferrari you take for a nice and relaxing cruise through Miami Beach or the Sunset Strip. Significantly, this is also the Ferrari you take if you don’t want to worry about scratching your nose on a steep incline or smashing a wheel in a pothole. It’s the perfect Ferrari for doing normal things. Visibility is excellent whether the roof is up or down, the gearbox works great in traffic and is easy to get in and out of. Unlike most exotic species, it doesn’t need your full attention all the time.

That’s not to say that the Portofino M doesn’t live up to the expectations of its Prancing Horse badge. The power of the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 is up 20 hp compared to the normal Portofino for a total of 611 hp. All that power is propelled to the rear wheels via a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission incorporating blazing-fast parts SF90 Hybrid Stradale, except that here there is a real reverse gear because there are no electric motors at the front to push the car backwards.

In practice, the horsepower is more than enough to propel you down any relatively straight road as quickly as any new supercar. There is torque available at low revs, so it is often not necessary to downshift before engaging chain speed to make a pass. And even on some of Italy’s jagged mountain passes, the Portofino M cuts power without even a flicker of the traction control light.

The eight-speed dual clutch is lightning fast whether you’re up or down gear, and after a decade on the market, it looks like Ferrari has finally gotten the automatic mode to switch to natural and logical moments. I’m still not a fan of column-mounted paddle shifters, and the units used here aren’t exactly long enough to warrant their fixed positions. Ferrari, if you’re not going to put the paddles on the steering wheel, at least do them long enough to reach them while the steering wheel is turned.

No, the Portofino M will not be as communicative or capable as an F8 Tributo on your favorite little road. You feel the full weight of that massive hardtop assembly and that piece of a V-8 up front. But the car is still very nice – she is a Ferrari, after all. The steering is light and precise; the extra gripping and easy to modulate brakes. You’d be hard pressed not to smile after pushing the Portofino M around some corners.

I can’t say I have so much praise for the look of the convertible Ferrari. From the rear the car looks fantastic. But the front is a bit dumb, like a villain from the early 90s Scooby doo episode before his mask was removed. It’s not bad, just a little awkward from some angles.

There is also the interior. It’s a nice place to spend time and is executed with nice materials, but the Portofino M still uses Ferrari’s latest-generation cabin layout, buttons and infotainment system. This means physical buttons, as opposed to capacitive touch controls in the more modern. Rome, and a slow-responding, sometimes sluggish touchscreen with a noticeably dated interface. Want to access Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? This will cost you $ 4,219 more and more from a base price of $ 226,000.

Since this is the cheapest new car you can buy from the brand, most consider the Portofino M to be a beginner’s Ferrari. It has a softer edge which makes it easier to go about day-to-day without compromise while still delivering most of the performance you would expect from a Maranello car. Even if you already own a Ferrari or two, the Portofino M is still a great choice. If you can get past appearances, this makes for a great daily driver or top-down cruiser that you don’t have to think twice about, capable of both hauling things and going past almost any other car. on the road.

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