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- Highs Roaring exhaust note, potent twin-turbo V-8, alluring shape that attracts attention.
- Lows Itsy bitsy cargo space with the top dropped, middling fuel economy, suck-it-in back seat.
- Verdict This front-engine Ferrari has look-at-me styling, 612 horsepower, and a thrilling exhaust sound.
The shapely Portofino M convertible sits at the bottom of Ferrari's model hierarchy, and like the model it replaced for the 2018 model year, its engine sits at the front of the car. But don't let either of those things color your judgment. The Portofino M is everything a Ferrari should be: sexy, powerful, and fast. Its twin-turbo V-8 churns out 612 horsepower—up from 591 in last year's model—and it should hit 60 mph in the low-three-second range. The small back seat and trunk won't fit much, but practicality has never been a Ferrari selling point. In 15 seconds, you can stow the retractable hardtop and listen to the roaring exhaust fight the wind for your attention. If open-air driving isn't your thing, Ferrari offers a Portofino-based coupe in the sub-$250,000 range that might be more to your taste.
What's New for 2021?
Ferrari will release an updated Portofino later this year. Called the Portofino M, this droptop makes more power than last year's non-M model, which Ferrari will no longer sell. What's more, the manettino drive-mode switch on the steering wheel gains a Race setting for track driving, and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic takes over shifting duties from its predecessor's seven-speed unit. Plus, newly available seats with ventilation and neck-warming tech will surely improve the roof-off experience for buyers.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
In a world where some high-end brands—cough, Porsche—offer dizzyingly long lists of add-ons, Ferrari makes life easy by limiting your choices. It even discontinued 2020's 591-hp version of the car, keeping the Portofino lineup to one model, the M. We'd spec ours with the newly optional front seats that come with ventilation and heating, and we'd add the advanced driver tech, too, which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, and more. Ferrari offers aluminum footrests and a passenger display, but we don't see much of a need for them. Beyond those few options, what remains is to pick the color of the body, interior, brake calipers, gauges, and exhaust pipes as well as the design of the wheels.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Beneath the Portofino M's elongated hood sits a twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 making 612 horsepower—that's 21 horses more than the 2020 car managed. As before, the engine sends 561 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, but it routes it through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of last year's seven-speed. The claimed 199-plus-mph top speed and a 60-mph time that we estimate to be in the low-three-second range are actually not what's most impressive; it's the unmistakable howl that erupts from the exhaust tips as the Portofino's tach needle charges toward the engine's 7500-rpm redline. We drove the 591-hp Portofino in Italy, where the convertible provided a comfortable ride and remarkable body control thanks to its adaptive dampers. While its electrically assisted steering delivered satisfying feedback, the setup isn't as engaging as what Porsche's sports cars deliver. Every 2021 Portofino also features carbon-ceramic brakes that ensure this hefty grand tourer can stop in a thrice. However, we had to get used to the brake pedal's initial softness. Ferrari limited the pedal travel on the M in an effort to help improve its iffy feel. We'll let you know if it's effective once we have the opportunity to drive one.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
This Portofino M will manage 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA website. These figures fall short of those of the V-8-powered Aston Martin DB11, which achieves 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The big Bentley Continental GT sees the same city average as the Portofino M but beats it on the highway, with 26 mpg. Since we haven't tested the Portofino or either of those alternatives on our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can't say how efficient they are in the real world.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Ferrari covers the Portofino M's interior in sumptuous leather, and the 18-way power-adjustable front seats—newly available with ventilation and neck-warming tech—provide adequate comfort and support. Plus, a handy wind deflector helps keep the cabin quiet at speed when you have the hardtop roof down. With its pair of small bucket seats behind the front passengers, the convertible Ferrari can technically transport up to four people, but we wouldn't recommend anyone spend time back there. A useful tray is positioned at the front of the center console for storing small items, and there's even a place to store a beverage nearby. With the top up, there's enough room to fit golf clubs inside the Portofino's trunk. With the top down, it's a challenge to store much more than a briefcase in it.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The infotainment system on a Ferrari is like a spare tire on a Buick: It's nice to have when you need it, but it's not something anyone will ask about. Still, the Portofino's tech setup looks adequately modern, with a 10.3-inch touchscreen mounted in the center of the dashboard. We found the unit to be responsive during our limited exposure to it. Ferrari also offers an optional 7.0-inch touchscreen that faces the front-seat passenger and allows him or her to view performance data and operate the car's navigation system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has performed crash testing on the 2021 Portofino M, and we don't expect either agency will. The sultry Italian convertible offers driver-assistance technology, but none of it is offered as standard. Key safety features include:
- Available automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available blind-spot monitoring
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Ferrari's warranty coverage aligns with that of other high-end automakers such as Lamborghini. It also offers 15 years of extended coverage for extra coin. Ferrari boasts the best complimentary maintenance program, too, with seven years of coverage regardless of mileage.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for seven years and unlimited miles
2021 Ferrari Portofino M
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection injection
Displacement: 235 in3, 3855 cm3
Power: 612 hp @ 7500 rpm
Torque: 561 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
Length: 180.9 in
Width: 76.3 in
Height: 51.9 in
Trunk Volume: 10 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3900 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.1 sec
100 mph: 6.8 sec
1/4-Mile: 10.9 sec
Top Speed: 199 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (MFR'S EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 19/16/23 mpg