Portofino GT Spider: Ferrari’s latest prancing horse brings on the power

The latest update of Ferrari’s Portofino GT Spider may be a mild one but let’s be honest, nobody really needs a second excuse to gaze upon one of the most beautiful 2-seaters on the planet.

Dubbed the Portofino M (it stands for ‘Modificata’, signalling an evolution), this new incarnation’s tweaks are mostly under the skin. The twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8 engine, for instance, has seen its output upped 20bhp to 612bhp, mostly, one suspects, to counter the fact Ferrari has had to fit a new particulate filter to meet Euro-6D emissions regulations.

Driveability and fuel consumption are also set to benefit thanks to the replacement of the previous 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with an 8-speed version, similar to that used in the marque’s flagship SF90 Stradale but endowed with longer gear ratios and a mechanical reverse gear.  

Externally, there’s not much to signal the evolutionary improvements going on within…

The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is replaced with an 8-speed version,

Algorithms haven’t been getting much in the way of a good press of late but the one at the heart of this Ferrari’s vehicle dynamics control system – entertainingly dubbed ‘Side Slip Control’ –  now gets to work in conjunction with the five-position Manettino driving mode selector found in models higher up in Ferrari’s range. Put it into ‘Race’ mode and the SSC will insist that the FDE (Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer) control system continually monitor and individually adjust the hydraulic brake pressure at the callipers of all four wheels, to make entering and exiting corners a more ‘predictable’ experience. 

Externally, there’s not much to signal the evolutionary improvements going on within. There’s a redesigned exhaust system that has allowed the removal of the silencer assembly (making the Ferrari Portofino M’s rear aspect appear more compact), the grille features new aluminium slats and the front bumper assembly has been reworked for ‘a decisive, aggressive look’. 

The exhaust system gets a redesign

In performance terms, the combined effect of the increase in horsepower and change to an eight-speed box means that the 0-62mph time is now 3.45 seconds (one presumes with the retractable hard top roof up), 0.05 of a second quicker than the outgoing model, with the 0-124mph time now taking 9.8 seconds, down by a second. 

While the performance gains won’t make a huge difference for most prospective owners they may help lessen the blow that, at £188,000, the Portofino M will cost about 15 per cent more than the outgoing model when it finally arrives in mid-2021. Still, that’s relatively small beer in supercar terms, especially for one that looks this delectable…

An experienced PR professional who’s represented some of the world’s best-known technology brands, Kulwinder began his career as a journalist and then editor, with stints on legendary British car magazines Supercar Classics and Fast Lane.

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