Ferrari does its first online vehicle launch

Portofino M gets more power, new 8-speed gearbox and Race mode

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Ferrari Portifino M
Ferrari unveiled -- and for the first time online -- its new Portofino M, and it comes with a Race driving mode | Ferrari photos

In what the automaker is calling “a move unprecedented in the Maranello marque’s 70-year-plus history,” Ferrari has unveiled a new car online. The car is the Portofino M, which Ferrari adds is the “latest evolution of the Prancing Horse’s 2+ GT spider.”

The car offers “superb versatility” as well as the pleasure of “en plein air” driving with a 620-horsepower turbocharged V8 engine, 5-position Manettino (vehicle dynamics control) settings, including Race, and a new 8-speed transmission.

“The Portofino M is the first Ferrari to be presented in the wake of the company’s temporary closure due to the Covid-19 crisis, making it the symbol of a voyage of rediscovery,” the company said. 

“It is the (re)starting point for Prancing Horse’s pursuit of innovation whilst fully respecting its heritage, passion and constant search for perfection.”

The M in the car’s title stands for Modificata, Ferrari’s term for a vehicle that has undergone evolution to significantly boost performance. With the changes, “the Portofino M guarantees an unprecedented combination of authentic GT performance, driving pleasure, agility and exceptional versatility in everyday driving contexts,” Ferrari said.

“Sportier in character than its predecessor, it also delivers superior handling whilst not only maintaining but enhancing on-board comfort, courtesy of specific new optional features, such as ADAS, and ventilated and heated seats. The Ferrari Portofino M thus retains the Ferrari Portofino’s twin soul and is the only car on the market that can rightfully be described as an authentic coupé with its top closed and a genuine spider when it is open. 

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“This is thanks, of course, to the Retractable Hard Top (RHT), the signature feature of all the Prancing Horse’s convertibles.”

Through new cam profiles and allowing a higher-revving turbo, engine output has increased by 20 horsepower vs. the non-M Ferrari Portofino, Ferrari said, adding that a gasoline-particular filter has been added to the exhaust to keep the car within European emission standards.

Meanwhile, the transmission is a new unit based on dual-clutch oil-bath architecture. 

“It differs from the SF90 Stradale’s 8-speed transmission in its longer gear ratios and the introduction of a mechanical reverse gear,” Ferrari said, adding, “The new layout and integration of its components have also optimized the gearbox’s size and its installation in the car.”

The automaker said the car’s new clutch module is 20 percent smaller than before but delivers 35 percent more torque.

Others updates and upgrades include the Race mode setting, a reduction of 10 percent in brake pedal travel, new front bumper and added external air vents, revised rear bumper, diffuser and exhaust. 

Changes in the interior include weight reduction, more occupant space, and a multi-level dashboard. Seats have been revised and offer internal ventilation.

The cars also come with a 7-year scheduled maintenance program. 

Pricing was not announced.

For additional information, visit the Ferrari website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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