What is it?
Dial M for Modificata, the letter that Ferrari uses, now and again, to indicate significant enhancements to a model.
This time, it’s the Portofino, the entry point to Ferrari’s range, which has a front-mounted V8 but not a fixed roof like the Roma – nor the Roma’s looks, which still make Autocar’s photographer swoon uncontrollably.
The modifications here, though, are seemingly meant to make the Portofino a little more Roman. Ferrari says the car is more sporting: there’s more power, more dynamism to its outward appearance, sharper shift times from a new gearboxand an extra position, Race, on the driving mode selector, which also brings new chassis control software.
In detail, then, the 3.9-litre flat-plane crank, twin-turbocharged V8 now needs a petrol particulate filter to meet emissions regulations. That costs it around 20bhp but, as Porsche found with the previous 911 GT3 RS, the muffling effects negate the need for a rear set of silencers.
And because the Portofino’s engine is at the front and the filter needs to be close to it, the exhausts can run down each side of the propshaft, around the transaxle transmission and then exit without any huge interruption, so the diffuser canbe more sculpted and racy-looking, giving some space over to fresh air.
Then the valve openings are increased by around 1mm on both intake and exhaust valve sets, adding 40bhp or so, making for a net gain of 20bhp (from 592bhp to 612bhp).
The rear wheels are driven via an eight-speed (rather than seven- speed) dual-clutch gearbox (with 4%-shorter ratios through to seventh, then a longer eight for better cruising economy), through an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
The driving modes range from Wet through Comfort, Sport and Race (which is new) to ESC Off. The aforementioned new software map in Race is called Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, and it’s aimed at making the Portofino more controllable at thelimit. It sounds like Ferrari’s Side Slip Control but with a less heroic name.