Those of you who know Ferrari's model history will know that the company often introduces an M, or 'modificata' model halfway through a model's life and they're often the ones to look out for. There was the 456m (launched in 1998), while in many regards, the 575M of 2002 was an evolution model of the 550 Maranello.
The latest version of the Portofino sees the F154 V8 twin-turbo engine's power creep up from 441kW to 462kW at 7500rpm, while the car also gets an 8-speed twin clutch transmission that weighs just 96kg and replaces the old seven-speed unit. It's not the same unit as the SF90, instead featuring a longer final drive and a mechanical reverse gear.
Ferrari also promises zero turbo lag, which is quite the claim. Variable Boost Management ramps up boost as the car ascends the gears, reaching 760Nm in 7th and 8th ratios. The company claims the M knocks a second off the Portofino's sprint to 200km/h.
Unlike the old Portofino, which featured a rudimentary three-position manettino with Comfort, Sport and ESC off modes, the latest car gets those three modes as well as Race and Wet settings, mirroring that of the Roma. Ferrari, however, is at pains to stress that the Roma is not a Portofino M with a hardtop and the Portofino M is not a cabrio Roma. The company claims the chassis shares only a 30% parts commonality and the two vehicles can coexist to satisfy different customer profiles.
The styling of the car is largely evolutionary, Ferrari claiming that design should serve function, and that the function in question is performance and fun. Aero has been tweaked and there is a new exhaust system and alloy wheel designs. The interior has also been refreshed, with the addition of a 10.25-inch touch screen front and centre. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated.
Deliveries begin in Europe in Q2 20121 and ferrari has mentioned an initial price of 206,000 Euros, with Australian pricing to be announced at a later date. Ferrari has also announced a seven-year care package for the vehicle with intervals of 20,000km or once a year with no mileage restrictions. We'll have more details as they become available, but it looks as if Ferrari's entry-level model is about to offer a good deal more for the keen driver.