It was in September 2017 that Ferrari launched the Portofino and by May 2018, the first units arrived in the showrooms of Naza Italia in Malaysia. 39 months later comes the evolution version – the Portofino M. The car was unveiled in September last year and like many new models during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ferrari unveiled it to the world online. It was the first Ferrari to be launched following the carmaker’s temporary closure due to the pandemic.
“The ongoing challenges and restrictions our nation has been experiencing made delays of launch plans inevitable, so we are thrilled to now have the opportunity to introduce the Ferrari Portofino M to the local market and have it join Ferrari Malaysia’s stable of Prancing Horses. Our clients have already shown keen interest in this versatile model and have been waiting in anticipation for the perfect evolution of the Portofino, which holds the promise of 2+ GT spider excellence with distinct progressions in character, design, performance and everyday adaptability,” said Dato’ Nik Hamdam Nik Hassan, Group CEO, Automotive Group, Naza Corporation Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Evolution of the Portofino
Priced from RM998,000 (excluding taxes and insurance), it is around RM50,000 more than the asking price with the original model in 2018. For that extra money, the Portofino M offers that increased levels of performance expected of an evolution version. The ‘M’ refers to ‘Modificata’, which at Ferrari refers to cars that have undergone an evolution that has significantly boosted their performance.
Design-wise, the original styling is maintained with the grille having new aluminium slats with contrasting faceted tips. The new features are aimed at improved aerodynamic performance. At the rear, the new exhaust system has allowed the removal of the silencer assembly, making the 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 customers to be able to specify it in carbonfibre, if they wish.
Redesigned award-winning engine
In the technical department, the most notable upgrade is the redesigned powertrain. The new 3855 cc engine can be considered an award-winner as it belongs to the same V8 engine family that was voted ‘International Engine of the Year’ in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The powerplant produces up to about 620 ps at 7,500 rpm, 20 ps more than the Portofino. To achieve this higher output, the cam profiles were revised, increasing valve lift to optimise combustion chamber filling.
At the same time, a speed sensor was added to the turbocharger assembly. This measures the turbine speed accurately which allows the maximum rpm of the turbine to be increased by 5,000 rpm without risk of damage. Variable Boost Management, a control software developed by Ferrari, adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected. The result is increasingly powerful pick-up as revs rise, whilst optimising fuel consumption. The amount of torque delivered progressively increases all the way up to 760 Nm in 7th and 8th gears.
New 8-speed gearbox
The 8-speed gearbox is completely new and differs from the 7-speed unit used before, with a dual-clutch oil bath architecture. It also differs from the SF90 Stradale’s 8-speed transmission in gear ratios and uses a mechanical reverse gear. The new layout and integration of its components have revised the gearbox’s size, installation in the car. This has allowed the use of longer gear ratios in the higher gears, which helps keep fuel consumption and emissions down. On the other, adopting a steeper torque curve through the rev range in the lower gears makes for a feeling of smooth and powerful pick-up.
By tradition, every single Ferrari engine has its own particular soundtrack that makes it unique, and the Portofino M is no exception. The two rear silencers have been eliminated (which, in addition to boosting sound, also significantly reduces back-pressure in the tailpipes) and the by-pass valves are now oval in shape to enhance the exhaust sound.
The vehicle dynamics control system that allows the driver to push the car safely to the edge of its performance envelope is known as Side Slip Control (SSC). 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 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. The aim of the five-position Manettino, a first on a Ferrari GT spider, is to make the handling and grip even more accessible by extending the setting ranges still further with the introduction of the Race position.
Inside the Portofino M
With the top down, the Portofino M reveals a multi-level dashboard structure comprising an upper half and then an intermediate gap designed to lighten the perceived mass of the lower half. This approach allowed the designers to organise the technical elements and in-car devices to very rational effect while simultaneously defining a 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 large 10.25-inch touchscreen at the centre.
Seen from above, the cockpit’s symmetrical arrangement and the generous 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. The ventilated 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.
The Portofino M’s HMI (Human-Machine Interface) centres on a digital cluster with dual TFT displays arranged around the analogue tachometer in a 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 passenger has an optional dedicated capacitive display on the dashboard too. It is directly linked to the main screen providing all information relating to car speed, rpm and gear engaged. This 7-inch colour full HD and Full Touch display also allows the passenger to interact with the car’s on-board systems. It is thus possible for the passenger to becomes a participative co-driver.
7-year factory-formulated maintenance programme
As the official representative of Ferrari in Malaysia, Naza Italia offers an extended 7-year maintenance programme with the Portofino M. This is an exclusive factory-formulated programme (also available to owners of pre-owned Ferraris) with scheduled intervals of either 20,000 kms or once a year with no mileage restrictions.