Having driven the roads of the Florida Keys several times over the years, it was hard to imagine why Ferrari would ever choose this location for a private launch of one of its notoriously long-legged, high-revving, hot-breathing stallions.
I mean, on a roadway most famous for a scalpel straight, two-lane 7-Mile Bridge, how are we possibly going to test out a nameplate built on the rigors of Formula One? (Nevermind one with more Grand Prix victories than any other manufacturer, ever.)
A straight-line, red-eyed modern drag racer? Sure. But a Ferrari? Color me dubious.
And then… and then you’re doing it. You’re cruising down palm-tree studded lanes of Islamorada, roof pulled back, azure Florida sky wide above and all around you. A bleached concrete road stretches ahead as far as the eye can see, wind ruffling your coif into a hopeless (and joyous) mess.
A premium JBL sound-system as clear as the surrounding Gulf water blares Jan Hammer’s terminally 80’s Miami Vice theme into the Key Largo airspace, and everything just falls into place. Everything is exactly as it should be in the world — or at least, in your world.
But isn’t that what a Ferrari is all about? A meticulously engineered, fanatically obsessed-over two-ton chronograph of mobility surfaced with materials and details of the highest caliber — a vehicle hand-built to remove you from all concern.
Or rather, to create a space removed from the ills of the world, a bubble of joy and thrill and yes, solitude. A spaceship that rockets you to Planet Happiness.
The “M” in the Portofino M moniker stands for Modificata, meaning the car is a mid-cycle refresh on the Portofino which hit showrooms in 2017. Its twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 ups the stable from 591 to 612 horses, improves acceleration and adds a Race mode on the steering wheel’s manettino switch for gnarlier track settings.
Other performance power-ups include standard carbon-ceramic brakes, an additional gear in its dual-clutch automatic transmission (now eight-speed), a 10.3-inch touchscreen, heated and ventilated seats with neck-warming capabilities and updated driver technology like adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beams.
Working in symphony, all the performance upgrades along with the opulent touches (without softening up the Portofino M too much) create a perfect coupe to enjoy the planet around you.
Watching the Florida landscape whizz by in a warm, sunny blur, it becomes clear why the brains from Maranello brought us here to the Keys to experience the Portofino M: Ferrari V8 performance meets exquisite droptop luxury — a car the term Gran Turismo was imagined for.
- POWER: 611 hp @ 7,500 rpm
- TORQUE: 561 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
- PERFORMANCE: (0–62 MPH): 3.45 seconds
- TOP SPEED: >199 mph
- MILEAGE (MPG): 16 city / 23 highway / 19 combined
- SUGGESTED BASE RETAIL: $226,000