2021 Ferrari Portofino M
OKAY, I WILL ADMIT MY BIAS: ANY VEHICLE with a name that includes the word “Ferrari” already has my rapt attention. Add “Portofino” to the name and now we’re on the coast, cruising south La Dolce Vita-style with my lady enjoying the soft breeze while her silk Hermes scarf drifts behind her, pirouetting in the daytime sun…
Oh, sorry, where was I? I got lost in the image for a minute.
While the Portofino may be Ferrari’s “entry level” vehicle in terms of price, it’s like saying a mansion is someone’s starter castle: it’s already in a world of its own, one of luxury, performance, quality, and more. Nevertheless, I have to add that, when compared to the fire breathers of Ferrari’s V-12 stable, I was not expecting that much of the Portofino M. Boy, was I mistaken.
First off, the “M” designation. Like “AMG” for Mercedes, “RS” for Audi, and “M” for BMW, the Ferrari “M” moniker means that this version has more beans than the non-M variant. Technically, this “M” stands for a model that is “Modificata” (modified)—and that it is. Compared to the “standard” Portofino (meaning an already terrific car), the M has about 20 more horsepower, an improved transmission, and slightly faster acceleration, plus a few interior accoutrements that the former model lacked. (The “M” now is the only Portofino offered by Ferrari).
The Portofino M earned its stripes, especially under the hood. The turbo V8 is just under four liters (about 235 cubic inches for you Yanks), producing over 600 horsepower and about 560 pound-feet of torque. As the car weighs around 3,600 pounds, that kind of power can be intoxicating. The power-to-weight ratio is good enough for 0 to 60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.45 seconds and top speed of just under 200 mph.
Shall we discuss the looks next? There’s probably no need, since, if it’s from Ferrari— and frankly if it’s a vehicle from Italy—it’s likely to be svelt, sinewy, slippery, and [insert a clever “S” word here]. And besides, when it comes to looks, they’re in the eye of the beholder anyway. Suffice to say, though, that I love this car, as its looks match its performance, meaning that you will have a thrilling ride down the straights and in the corners, as the appearance is beautiful yet muscular. With a simple control, it also becomes a top-down machine in mere seconds.
The pricing is as you would expect, especially if you know the fit, finish, quality, and performance of the marque. The base price is $222,050, but when you tick the boxes for the options, as Ferrari did on “mine”, you can plan on spending an additional $141,356 for those extras, raising the Price Is Right calculation to $363,406. Do you really need your Portofino M to be painted one of the best reds I’ve seen, “Rosso Portofino?” I mean, Ferrari must offer at least 20 reds, and, surely, you could find another that was almost as nice, right? However, mine had only a hint of orange in it (I’m not a big fan of tomato soup red), which literally glowed and sparkled in the sunlight. Now that I’ve piqued your interest, I need to note that the color option was $12,487. Some of the other must-haves which were on my ride were a carbon fiber rear diffuser ($11,812), 20-inch forged wheels ($8,606), a passenger display (information displayed on the dash in front of the passenger—$5,906), and lots and lots of carbon fiber options (“carbon fiber” may mean “looks like plastic but is more durable” and the cool factor adds five 5X what you expected). But seriously, I enjoyed all of the bits and pieces that Ferrari saw fit to add to my machine, so there is nothing that I would have omitted.
What’s it like to drive? Be ready for lots of thumbs-ups on the road and interested passers-by when stopped. The prancing horse in the grill may be the first visual cue that there’s a Ferrari in your presence, but the aural symphony that accompanies all of the Maranello machines really announces your arrival—and I mean that in a good way. It’s not the rattle-your-tooth-fillings “ka-boom” sound that you’ve likely heard emanating from lesser machines. No, this is a refined brass section of classical performance. If ever a car manufacturer could eliminate offering a radio, it would be Ferrari, since the mechanical sounds trump anything that a musician might offer. (At least that’s true for the Tifosi, the Ferrari fanatics of the world—and did you know that tifosi literally means people who are infected by typhus, one who is a rabid fan?)
Whether on the streets of LA, on the freeways during a time of little traffic (Sunday from 2:00 to 2:55 a.m., probably), on the Pacific Coast Highway or the Malibu hills, the Portofino M was a joy to drive. Quick, symphonic, gorgeous, fun, exhilarating … words alone cannot express the balanced joy of driving this car under all conditions, but I hope that this has given you an idea of what this car has to offer.