Ferrari‘s most affordable model, the Portofino, has been upgraded with the introduction of a more powerful, re-engineered M variant. 

The Portofino M (standing for Modificata, used historically by the brand to designate an evolution in performance) includes a host of technical enhancements over the standard model. It’s the first Ferrari to be unveiled purely online and the first to launch since Maranello closed during the Italy’s pandemic lockdown.

Priced from €206,000 (£188,000), the Portofino M is just under £24,000 more expensive than the standard Portofino. Deliveries are due to commence in mid-2021.

Externally, the new model has been lightly redesigned over the standard Portofino. Changes are focused on the front end, with a new bumper design for a “sportier and more aggressive” look. 

Top of the billing of the technical changes to the Aston Martin DB11 Volante rival is the powertrain. Along with the fitment of a particulate filter to meet the upcoming Euro 6d emissions regulations and associated engineering (including a redesigned exhaust) to ensure that this doesn’t impact engine sound, the Portofino’s twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 has been boosted from 592bhp to 612bhp.

Just as significant however, is a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox replacing the old seven-speed unit.

The first eight-speeder in a Ferrari drop-top, the gearbox features a 20%-smaller clutch module and can deliver 35% more torque than the old unit, although the torque output itself is identical. The extra power and eighth ratio means a very slight improvement in the car’s 0-62mph time, down from 3.5sec to 3.45sec. There’s a more substantial 1.0sec improvement on the 0-124mph time, down to 9.8sec.

The Portofino M also brings in the full five-position manettino driving mode switch from pricier Ferraris, replacing the three-mode item of the standard model. That means it gets a Race mode that, in combination with Ferrari’s Dynamic Enhancer (which subtly uses the brakes to keep slides under control), is said to boost driver involvement.