DUBAI TEST DRIVE: THE 2022 PORTOFINO M IS NOT AN UPDATE BUT A MORE DISTILLED FERRARI EXPERIENCE

by | Dec 14, 2021 | Cars, Motor

Convertibles are softer iterations of their coupe siblings and are for those more interested in curb appeal than outright dynamics. The loss of the roof also reduces the structural strength and so on. No one told Ferrari. The Ferrari Portofino M is basically two cars rolled into one.

Related: Supercars: Ferrari debuts “Icona” series Daytona SP3

When the sun’s out you can cruise around with the fixed roof down. In only a few seconds it forms into a fixed metal roof coupe. The supercar’s roof isn’t fabric but is a proper slab of metal over your head and you can do it on the move too. That enables a curious personality trait to this Ferrari and makes it more practical plus safer.

New supercars: A true top down driving experience

I drove the car in Dubai where the afternoon sun is enough to make you crank up the AC knob. But even in the cooler morning, the Portofino M was a joy to basically soak up the beautiful surroundings of Dubai along with a slice of open-air theatre.

Top down, you also get full access to that feral V8 engine that is even more sonorous than before. It sounds brutal when duly provoked and envelops you in its myriad of sensations. Honestly, you don’t need the fancy audio system as the V8 provides a much sweeter soundtrack.

The engine has been fettled and is louder along with a sharper throttle response. Compared to the older Portofino, the M (which stands for Modificata) is basically given a strong Espresso shot intravenously for a wilder personality.

It is edgier and the engine goads you to explore its limits with a spine-tingling noise as an extra reward for doing so. For a turbocharged powertrain, it is surreal how the engine loves to be revved. Yet it still maintains a modicum of torque lower down the rev range.

Ferrari Portofino M: A proper supercar

Further changes include a brand-new eight-speed gearbox and the five-position Manettino that includes a Race mode. That’s the first GT spider to get that function. It seems Ferrari is wanting to stress the fact that it is a proper supercar first and a cruiser second.

The slicker gearbox and the precise steering comes as a surprise for what is the most “comfort oriented Ferrari”. Compared to its rivals, the Portofino M feels alive but also more edgy along with being playful.

A cursory glance at the cabin reveals that the Portofino M is not entirely dipped into the new technology obsessed interior design of other Ferraris. It still has the wonderful analogue rev counter but along with dual TFT displays. The steering wheel looks as complicated as an F1 car.

There is a lot that’s going on and I loved that. The multi-layered dashboard is festooned with curves and sharp lines while a massive 10.25-inch touchscreen contains all the relevant information. Even the passenger gets an optional display.

A feral V8 engine

Quality and a sense of luxury is very much there along with a whiff of Italian DNA being smeared all over. It feels special, in other words. No one buys a Ferrari for its practicality but the rear seats are handy for storage since humans would not probably fit there. It’s also cosseting and comfortable at low speeds with no fuss.

I steal a precious few seconds looking at the exterior design of the Portofino M while I hand back the car to the valet. It’s more “Ferrari” and strays closer to the family ethos with a sharper look including bigger intakes, rear diffuser along with sculpted tail-lamps. Compared to its rivals, it looks svelte and more streamlined.

At $226,000, the Portofino M is not merely an “update” but a comprehensive overhaul of a proven recipe. It’s faster, better to drive and looks more appealing while still having the usual GT ethos which a car in this segment should possess. The Portofino M, overall, sits at a different corner in this crowded sector and carves out its niche further. You can’t get a more exciting GT convertible than this.

What we like

Sharper dynamics, edgier handling and new looks make the Portofino M a lot more appealing now.

What we don’t like

It might be too edgy for customers accustomed to a more laidback driving experience.

Ferrari Portofino M: Overall verdict

If you want an exciting top-down motoring experience, the Ferrari Portofino M is a brilliant choice.

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