THE FERRARI PORTOFINO M: A CONSTANTLY EVOLVING STORY

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The Ferrari Portofino M, the evolution of the Prancing Horse’s 2+ GT spider, the Ferrari Portofino, was unveiled today. In a move unprecedented in the Maranello marque’s 70-year-plus history, the new car’s premiere took place entirely online. The build-up to the unveiling included the sending out of a series of newsletters to clients over recent weeks at the end of which they were given access to a platform containing exclusive videos illustrating the concept behind the car, its restyling and main technical contents.

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. It is the (re)starting point for Prancing Horse’s pursuit of innovation whilst fully respecting its heritage, passion and constant search for perfection. All of these values are reflected in the new Portofino M. In fact, the ‘M’ in its moniker stands for ‘Modificata’, which in Ferrari nomenclature refers to cars that have undergone an evolution that has significantly boosted their performance.

There is no shortage of technical innovation in the stunning new evolution of the Ferrari Portofino, the most notable being its redesigned powertrain, a brand-new eight-speed gearbox and the five-position Manettino that includes a Race mode, an absolute first for a Maranello GT spider. As a consequence of these and many other new features, the Portofino M guarantees an unprecedented combination of authentic GT performance, driving pleasure, agility and exceptional versatility in everyday driving contexts.

This latest design and engineering masterpiece from the Prancing Horse is the perfect evolution of the Ferrari Portofino. 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. This is thanks, of course, to the Retractable Hard Top (RHT), the signature feature of all the Prancing Horse’s convertibles.

The Portofino M’s compact dimensions also make it ideal for all occasions. In fact, its unparalleled versatility and on-board comfort turn every trip into a voyage of (re)discovery.

POWERTRAIN

The Ferrari Portofino M’s 3855cc engine belongs to the V8 turbo family voted “International Engine of the Year” on four consecutive occasions (2016-2019). The power unit can punch out 620 cv at 7,500 rpm, 20 cv more than the Ferrari Portofino. To achieve these performance levels, the Ferrari engineers used new cam profiles to increase valve lift and optimise combustion chamber filling.

A speed sensor was also added to the turbocharger assembly to measure the turbine revolutions. This in turn allowed the maximum revolutions per minute of the turbine to be increased by 5,000 rpm.

Lastly, to comply with the strictest pollution emissions standards, a Gasoline Particulate Filter has been included in the exhaust system. The GPF allows the car to comply with the strictest European anti-pollution standards (Euro-6D) without compromising driving pleasure.

This result comes thanks to a control logic that continuously regenerates the filter, limiting the amount of accumulated particulate matter. This is achieved by using two dedicated sensors per cylinder bank to accurately measure differential pressure deltas up- and down-stream of the GPF.

The 8-speed gearbox is a completely new unit compared to the previous 7-speed version and is based on a 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. The new layout and integration of its components have also optimised the gearbox’s size and its installation in the car.

Like all the other turbo cars in the range and in line with the “zero turbo lag” concept, the Ferrari Portofino M delivers instantaneous throttle response throughout the rev range. The car boasts Variable Boost Management, a control software developed by Ferrari that adjusts torque delivery to suit the gear selected. The result is increasingly powerful pick-up as revs rise, whilst optimising fuel consumption. As the car goes up through the gears (from 3rd to 8th), the amount of torque delivered by the engine increases all the way up to 760 Nm in 7th and 8th gear.

On the one hand, this has allowed Ferrari to use longer gear ratios in the higher gears, which helps keep fuel consumption and emissions down, while on the other, adopting a steeper torque curve through the rev range in the lower gears for a feeling of smooth and powerful pick-up.

The introduction of the eighth gear and the improvement in transmission efficiency have resulted in a significant reduction in fuel consumption in urban and motorway contexts in addition to noticeably improving performance even under sportier, more press-on driving.

The new clutch module is 20% smaller but delivers 35% more torque, with up to a maximum 1,200 Nm of dynamic torque transmitted when gear shifting. The transmission software strategy has also been evolved with a more powerful ECU.

Lastly, particular attention was focused on gear change strategies aimed at improving the power unit’s fuel consumption and emissions levels. Due to more efficient clutch torque control, the car is now also easier to drive in urban contexts during Start&Stop cycles. This guarantees that the car is smoother to drive at low speeds in traffic, as well as delivering a more intuitive experience and improved responsiveness.

By tradition, every single Ferrari engine has its own particular soundtrack that makes it unique. The Ferrari Portofino M is no exception. In addition to the flat-plane crankshaft, the geometry of the entire exhaust line is new. The two rear silencers have been eliminated (which in addition to boosting sound also significantly reduces backpressure in the tailpipes) and the by-pass valves are now oval in shape to enhance the exhaust sound. Both solutions significantly reduce exhaust backpressure and improve sound quality. The last notable modification is “proportional” by-pass valve control, which is continuous and progressive depending on the driving situation.

VEHICLE DYNAMICS

The Portofino M sports the vehicle dynamics control system known as Side Slip Control (SSC), which incorporates an algorithm that delivers an estimate in real time of the side slip angle to all the various on-board control systems. The SSC coordinates all the vehicle dynamics interventions as the systems are all integrated using shared data.

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 Ferrari 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. That said, the FDE is not a stability control system and flanks rather than replaces the traditional VDC and stability control system (ESC).

Another noteworthy factor is the more modulable brake pedal pressure which, when combined with a reduction in pedal travel of around 10%, delivers more precise, instantaneous responsiveness to inputs during braking.

The aim of the five-position Manettino, a first on a Prancing Horse GT spider, is to make the Ferrari Portofino M’s handling and grip even more accessible by extending the setting ranges still further with the introduction of the Race position. Supported by the introduction of the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, that position focuses on maximising driving pleasure.

DESIGN

The new Ferrari Portofino M’s harmonious styling is the product of a global approach to design in which all the various elements are treated as part of a single whole and builds on the success of the Portofino design. This applies both to the bodywork, where the front, flanks and tail are part of a single seamlessly sculptural design, as it does to the cabin where the general arrangement of the volumes and lines is stylistically consistent. This approach can be seen in the interaction between the car’s exterior and interior.

EXTERIOR

The fact that the Portofino M’s performance is more powerful than the Portofino resulted in the Ferrari Styling Centre’s designers making very precise, targeted adjustments to highlight the model’s characteristics and underscore its sportiness.

The wraparound front bumpers incorporate imposing, sculptural air intakes that lend a decisive, aggressive look to the front of the car.  They also feature a new air vent at wheelarch height, added because of the need to reduce the car’s overall drag. Part of the air flow coming off the front radiating masses is directed towards the new vents and then accelerated up as it exits, boosting its extraction power.  The resulting improvement in aerodynamic performance is underscored by a slash on the front bumper that flows into the design of the flanks, adding visual harmony to the side view of the car.  Thus, the signature Portofino side scallop finds its visual counterpart on the Ferrari Portofino M’s front bumper, which has been sculpted to accentuate the car’s dynamic profile.