The Portofino M Launch Proves That Ferrari Isn’t Slowing Down This Year

The post-pandemic world is a different one, but Ferrari’s breakneck pace is undeterred. Hot on the heels of three new models in 2019 – the F8 Tributo, SF90 Stradale, and Roma – the Portofino M now arrives as the Prancing Horse’s first post-quarantine car with its first-ever exclusively online launch.

The relatively minor name change is one indication that Ferrari remains confident in the pre-existing Portofino’s demeanour: a fun, friendly, front-engine V8-equipped GT convertible that is the most accessible of the stable but surrendering little in terms of speed and handling. Since the days of the line’s genesis in the California, flexibility has been a key goal: a hard-top for rainy days, retractable for sunny ones, sporty enough to flirt with the limit, but a comfortable cruiser when required, and with all the comforts one needs of an everyday car.

Having said that, the Portofino M introduces some distinctly performance-minded upgrades. For example, the Mannetino selector now has five positions for five personalities – the fifth being ‘Race,’ naturally – which is a first for Ferrari’s GT spiders. The most significant new piece of kit is the 8-speed double-clutch gearbox, similar to the one introduced with the SF90 Stradale – though Portofino M’s has longer gear ratios and a mechanical reverse gear. In addition to improved performance, it is also more efficient. The higher gears particularly well-suited to cruising, while the lower gears are tuned for a smooth and powerful pick-up.

Ferrari’s award-winning 3.9-litre turbocharged V8 is back, relatively unchanged, but now capable of 611bhp as opposed to the old Portofino’s 592bhp. The Portofino M does 0-100km/h in 3.45 seconds, 0-200km/h in 9.8 seconds, and has a maximum speed quoted as being more than 320km/h. 

On the local front, Ferrari’s presence in Malaysia has been renewed with the unveiling of the renovated Ferrari Petaling Jaya showroom by official importer and distributor Naza Italia. A total of RM3.5 million worth of renovation has been invested over the showroom’s 11,900 sq ft, which is spread over two floors and can accommodate seven of Maranello’s finest at once. Its luxurious and contemporary interior includes plenty of spaces to relax and consult with showroom staff or with other owners, while the configuration room is an opportunity to examine the array of materials and options available for one’s own Ferrari.

The opening of the new showroom also saw the local launch of the hotly anticipated SF90 Stradale (priced at RM1,908,000 before duties, customisation, taxes and insurance). Introduced globally last year, the SF90 Stradale heralds a new paradigm for Ferrari, as the brand’s first series production plug-in hybrid. It is a no-nonsense cutting-edge supercar, boasting of an incredible 986bhp, of which 217bhp is from its three electric motors. The rest is from the 4.0-litre V8 turbo, which alone supplies 769bhp, making it the most powerful 8-cylinder in the marque’s history. It is also the first Ferrari supercar equipped with four-wheel-drive, and its phenomenal performance bodes well for the future: 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds, 0-200km/h in 6.7 seconds, and a top speed of 340km/h.

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