The Florida Keys is like the Portofino, Italy, of the South. Ok, maybe that's being a bit too generous, but at least you still get beautiful sunsets, great seafood, and lots of impressive architecture (read: giant fish statues). So it made sense that Ferrari selected the island locale for me to test drive the new 2022 Portofino M convertible.
The Portofino M is the brand's best-selling GT car made better. With more power from the twin-turbo V8 – now at a hearty 612 horsepower – a new eight-speed dual-clutch, and a dedicated Race mode, Ferrari very clearly wanted the updated Portofino to be even more aggressive. There’s even an "M" at the end of the name for "modificata," or "modified" in Italian, lest you forget.
But while extra performance is welcomed, this car is no track special like the Pista or Competizione models. The Ferrari Portofino M is a touring car first and foremost, and that's obvious as I make the 150-plus mile trek between Miami and Key West.
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Put On A Happy Face
The Ferrari Portofino M is a GT car that absolutely looks the part – in part. The hood is long and lovely, with a bulging center crease that perfectly frames the iconic Prancing Horse emblem lower down on the nose. The upward-sweeping headlights afford the Portofino some aggression, and the sultry Rosso Portofino paint job woven between optional carbon fiber accents provides a nice contrast. The smiley face grille is the only thing that has me questioning the overall design; a car like this deserves something sleeker. Maybe Ferrari modeled it after the person's expression from behind the wheel, who knows.
The Portofino's side profile is *chef's kiss,* with the roof up or down. The way-back positioning of the cabin creates a svelte profile similar to the 812 – the average onlooker probably won't even know this was a convertible at first glance – while dropping the top results in a speedster-like appearance, only with the added benefit of four seats for the whole family (in theory).
Charcoal leather covers the seats and portions of the dash, with the optional carbon fiber accent package adding the weave to portions of the steering wheel, center console, and elsewhere. And the back seats are nice to have, if only for added storage or insurance purposes; average human-sized adults won't fit back here. But you might not even need that extra storage since the trunk hauls 10.3 cubic feet with the top up, enough for a carry-on suitcase, a small backpack, and a bit more. That’s well more than what you get in the Aston Martin DB11 Volante (7.9 cubic feet).
Fast And Fabulous
Under the Portofino M's sumptuous hood is a twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 now capable of 612 horsepower – an improvement of 21 horses over the outgoing model – and the same 561 pound-feet. Top speed sits at 199 miles per hour and 60 miles per hour takes just 3.5 seconds. It's quick.
The long straights of the Florida Keys, if nothing else, gave me a chance to put that quickness to the test in short bursts – at least when someone hauling a boat wasn’t pulling out in front of me. In those rare instances of emptiness down the one-lane stretch to Key West, I moved the track-inspired Manettino drive mode selector on the steering wheel to Race and laid my foot into the accelerator.
Gallery: 2022 Ferrari Portofino M: First Drive
The Ferrari Portofino M absolutely hauls in a straight line. Although some may yearn for something like a V12, the twin-turbocharged V8 is plenty powerful, delivering gobs of low-end torque and a strong stream of power up to the 7,500 RPM redline. The new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, ripped from the Roma and SF90, is exceptionally quick to shift too, even better when tugging at the column-mounted carbon fiber paddle shifters. And then there's the noise; the bellowing burble from the exhaust at full tilt mixed with a few generous pops during downshifts are downright not safe for work.
Another feature that Ferrari made sure to tweak in the Portofino M was the brakes. The previous model's carbon fiber stoppers were grabby, but the pedal had too much play, which made for some inconsistencies. Not here; the constant traffic put those stoppers to use regularly, and they were fluid and flawless at all times.
The Ferrari Portofino M absolutely hauls in a straight line.
With limited curves in the road, though – save a few short twists in the Upper Keys – impressions on the Ferrari Portofino M's steering are light. But it's obvious that the electric rack is well-tuned for quick inputs and feels perfectly weighted, more so in the most aggressive Race and Track modes. And Race mode is brand-new on the M model, and gives the Portofino a quicker throttle and sharper steering; Ferrari says its updated GT car can tackle a track, which, eventually, we'll have to find out.
Above all else though, the Portofino M is an exceptional cruiser – be it between Monaco and Saint-Tropez or Miami and Key West. Move the Manettino switch to Comfort and the acceleration settles to street-usable levels, instead of the aggressive bursts in Sport and Race. Even in Comfort, there's still plenty of power; you don't need to move the drive mode selector up or bury your foot too aggressively to achieve a speedy overtake. The exhaust gets less burbly but still sounds properly throaty, and the suspension softens up to afford some extra cushiness. The Portofino M handles the pockmarked pavement common in the Florida Keys with poise.
Drop the top in just 15 seconds at speeds of around 30 miles per hour, and the optional wind deflector buffets those pesky ocean breezes – unfortunately, though, there's no way to combat the beating sun and 87-degree temps. The leather and carbon fiber in the center console heat up quickly, as do the 18-way, power-adjustable seats. At least the buckets offer standard heating and ventilation alongside great bolstering and impressive swaths of leather, even if they very clearly require some break-in time. My butt and back were sore after three hours behind the wheel.
Further enhancing the Portofino M's everyday usability is the available active safety equipment. That's right, you can get adaptive cruise control as an option on a Ferrari – and it works flawlessly. The distance control and speed indicator switches, perched just left of the steering wheel, allow the car to cruise down to zero without the driver touching the brakes. There's also a surround-view camera with parking sensors, which proved exceptionally useful on the tight roads of Key West.
Completing the package is a 10.3-inch infotainment screen that is extremely touch-friendly and offers a no-nonsense, streamlined home layout. Wired Apple CarPlay connectivity, and for the first time Android Auto, are available – but only if you’re willing to pay an extra $4,219 for them. And you can option a small screen on the passenger's dash that allows them to fiddle with things like audio and navigation. With all that in mind, the Portofino M proves genuinely competent as a daily driver.
With 400 new miles on the odometer, the Ferrari Portofino M now caked in salt and bugs, I can say confidently that few cars do it better. The updated Portofino is quicker and more performance-oriented than its predecessor, that's obvious, but this car is still fabulous to look at (smiley face aside) and completely amenable over long distances, aided by the new adaptive cruise feature and impressive tech elsewhere.
With a starting price of $222,050 (not including the $3,950 destination fee), the Portofino M certainly isn't the budget option of the group. That's an increase of about $20,000 over the previous model, and it makes the Ferrari more expensive than alternatives like the Aston Martin DB11 Volante ($220,900), Audi R8 Spyder ($156,990), and McLaren GT ($210,000). And with a healthy $141,356 worth of options, the cost of the car you see here is a steep $363,406. But at the end of the day, it's a Ferrari – and the Portofino M combines power and poise in a pretty handsome package, which makes it the perfect car for long weekend getaways.
2022 Ferrari Portofino M