RENAISSANCE CAR
Motoring World|December 2021
Could the new Portofino M be all the Ferrari you need in your life?
Parth Charan

The constituents of my fantasy garage keep changing with the march of time. Without going into specifics, the garage always consists of more than a few RWD manual sportscars, a couple of long-legged grand tourers, a hypercar, and the odd utility-focussed off-roader. The inclusion of the new Ferrari Portofino M threatens the wholly fictitious presence of a lot of these cars because Ferrari has fine-tuned it serve all manner of driving requirements. Alas, for those of us not named Jay Leno, shortlisting the fantasy garage lineup remains a very hypothetical concern. However, driving a Ferrari on an exceptionally clear November morning has thankfully manifested into a reality.

There's a mild sense of déjà vu sweeping over me as I grab the bright red keys to the Portofino M. The first Ferrari I ever drove was for this very magazine. It too featured a folding hardtop and a V8. And while the placement and the nature of the Ferrari V8 may have changed, the thrill of piloting any car with a prancing horse badge remains as palpable as ever.

The Portofino M may be the weapon of choice for the holidaymaker in Tuscany, but it's still dripping with sporty intent. There's that button-infested flatbottomed steering with a bright red manettino at the business end vying for your attention. As are the two vertical blades in the form of paddle shifters and the long, swooping bonnet housing a 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8. Much to the chagrin of tech snobs, things are still largely button-operated here, as opposed to touch-operated like they are in the Roma. Personally, I much prefer this sort of setup to having a touch-enabled surface on the steering, where a palm accidentally brushing against the surface can activate voice commands.

The 'M', which stands for ‘Modificata' doesn't denote a beefed-up Portofino. Instead it points to a shredded grand tourer that's a bit more at home inside Ferrari's famously performance-oriented stables than its previous self. Ferrari decided to spiff up the M with more aggressive air intakes, redesigned bonnet vents and a redesigned rear diffuser that allowed them to neatly tuck in an exhaust with a new particulate filter.

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