If you’re wondering what to do with yourself this summer, here’s a suggestion. Lease yourself a beautiful Ferrari Portofino M and head out to explore some of the best drives the UK has to offer.
The Ferrari Portofino is a beautifully sleek and comfortable GT car designed to hurl you across Europe in effortless luxury. In this version the ‘M’ stands for Modificata.
The updated Portofino has subtle visual changes from its predecessor to make it look even more assertive. The redesigned front bumpers incorporate imposing new air intakes, which bring a slightly more aggressive look to the front of the car. The grille features new aluminium slats with contrasting faceted tips that highlight the metal. At the rear of the Ferrari Portofino M the new exhaust system has allowed the removal of the silencer assembly, making its tail more compact. The result is that the rear bumpers are now more streamlined while the rear diffuser has been completely redesigned and is now separate from the bumpers. This means it can be specified in carbon-fibre if you want the sportier look.
The main changes are under its gloriously sculpted skin. Thanks to new cam profiles and the introduction of a new speed sensor on the turbocharger assembly to measure the turbine revolutions, the Ferrari Portofino M produces an extra 20bhp from its 3.9-litre V8 turbo, taking the power up to a desirable 612bhp.
A new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox has also been added, alongside a five-position Manettino. That’s the dial on the steering wheel that switches driving modes, in case you were wondering. This now includes Race mode, making the Portofino M highly adaptable to a wider range of driving conditions and styles. Cruise in comfort or hammer around a track in a cloud of your own tyres.
Or you could stick to some of the finest roads in the country and take in the varied sights the UK has to offer.
The Exeter run over Dartmoor
The B3212 starts at Exeter and runs west under the A30, reaching Dartmoor National Park at Dunsford. That may not sound impressive, but from that point it becomes a 25-mile stretch of road that cuts through the heart of Dartmoor. Swooping over hills and through valleys filled with crystal streams and edged by treacherous bogs. The great thing about Dartmoor is it’s quiet, even in the summer, so you’re unlikely to be trapped behind traffic for long. There are 160 tors across the moor, which refer to where the granite is exposed and makes for natural landmarks for hikers. As for man-made landmarks, you may wish to stop off at Bovey Castle, a mansion built in 1907 which is now a five-star hotel and spa.
Snake up Snake Pass
The A57 across Derbyshire’s Peak District is better known by a more sinuous name, Snake Pass. The Snake Pass is a 14-mile run from the Ladybower Reservoir at Ashopton, its tarmac rising through the forest and wriggling north west across the Pennines. The name doesn’t actually come from the sinuous ribbon of road but from a pub which used to be located close to the reservoir called The Snake Inn, which in turn took its insignia from the serpent on the Cavendish arms belonging to the sixth Duke of Devonshire. The pub is no longer there but a suitably luxurious place to park a Ferrari can be found at Fischer’s Baslow Hall, a handsome manor with well-tended gardens and a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant that attracts foodies from afar.
Drive through ‘God’s own county’
Head further north to Yorkshire and the crown jewel is the Buttertubs Pass. Hacking its way over the moody moors, the 6.8-mile road – officially titled Cliff Gate Road - weaves its way north from the market town of Hawes to the rural village of Thwaite. It earns its name from the 20m-deep limestone potholes located beyond the tarmac, where dairy farmers would stop at the summit on hot days to rest and would stash their butter in these potholes to keep it from melting. At points, the gradient after leaving Hawes reaches 18 percent. At the summit enjoy views of the high moorland between Wensleydale and Swaledale, while the approach down to Thwaite features a spine-tingling hairpin mapped out by dry stone walls.
Pack in the smiles per miles in the Lakes
There’s something about the Lake District that makes you want to put your foot down, and a Ferrari Portofino is an excellent way to indulge. England’s most verdant national park, the Lake District is as much a mecca for motorists as it is for hikers and cyclists, provided you can get away from the bottlenecks of Lake Windermere. The best driving is to be found on the Honister Pass, which is the section of the B5289 between Seatoller and Gatesgarth. Rising to 356m, it forms part of a scenic circuit. The Honister Pass is only 3.7 miles long, but if you start in Keswick and take the B5289 south past Derwent Water, follow the Honister Pass west and take the right hand turn north up the Newlands Pass to Braithwaite, then take the A66 east for a few minutes back to Keswick, you’ll have racked up 23 miles of smiles.
Heading west to east, the A686 is a particularly majestic marriage of geography and engineering, full of zigzagging and gear-changing joy throughout. You will insist on manual-mode here. The Pennines never disappoint and the 37 miles that connect Penrith, Cumbria, with the village of Haydon Bridge in Northumberland ranks as one of the North of England’s top three bits of tarmac. Crossing the River Eden, the road starts climbing and the landscape begins to brown from Melmerby to 580m above sea level at the Hartside summit, providing views across the Solway Firth and to Scotland. In the winter months the road is often snowed over. The well-sighted road leads to Alston, a charming village with quaint cobbled streets which claims to be England’s highest market town (they’re locked in a bragging battle with Buxton). The A686 beyond Alston cruises through another astonishing panorama of windswept upland before blasting down to the River Allen’s wooded gorge and throwing in some more stellar switchbacks for good measure.
The Brecon blast
If something more rugged appeals you could join the SAS in the wilds of the Brecon Beacons. The roads which criss-cross it are as majestic as the land itself. There’s the B4560, A470, A470, A4059, A4067, and best of all the A4069: The Black Mountain Road. Located in the western area of the national park, it’s famous for its twists, dips, and climbs, and is known to many petrolheads as ‘the Top Gear road’. Stretching from Upper Brynamman up to Llangadog, it’s 20 miles long and reaches a height of 493m above sea level. From a driving perspective, the road is best tackled from north to south, especially the hairpin known as Tro Gwcw, or ‘Cuckoo Turn’, but the breathtaking views of the Tywi Valley are best appreciated going the other way, so you should turn around and go back the way you came. The Black Mountain region culminates at the 802m summit of Fan Brycheiniog and features two pristine glacial lakes that just need a Ferrari to reflect in their waters.
Fast forward along the Old Military Road
If you want a nice long road to let those Italian horses stretch their legs you should head north though. The Cairngorms is the UK’s largest national park and home to four of its five tallest mountains. Through it blasts the Old Military Road. This 80-mile stretch of road, which cuts through the ski station at Glenshee, is accessed by heading north towards Perth and then picking up the A93 towards Blairgowrie. The landscape begins to rise after the Bridge of Cally where this fast-flowing A-road becomes something of a rollercoaster. The most spectacular stretch is the Cairnwell Pass which, at 670m, is the highest public road in Britain. Follow Shee Water down through its long valley to Braemar. Nine miles beyond Braemar you’ll pass Her Majesty’s summer home, Balmoral Castle, back into the wilderness. Here, take the narrow B976 that climbs up over the moor. At Rinloan / Gairnshiel Lodge, the road splits in two. Take the left, the A939 baring north, which still counts as the Old Military Road. The road widens after a while, giving you a little more room to breathe. There are some steep and thrilling hairpins to be lapped up towards the second ski station of the trip, at Lecht, followed by a sensational plunge down the other side of the mountain. The road is engaging to the last and finally spits you out at Granton-on-Spey. The whole thing should take just over two hours driving, plus stops.
Go wild on the Atlantic coast
If you’re really planning to put some miles under your tyres there’s one stunning option. The west coast of Ireland should be included in every top five list of The Most Beautiful Places in the World. The Wild Atlantic Way is a 1,500-mile touring route that starts in the rugged mountains of Donegal in the north, passes through buzzy Galway and ends at the unspoilt southern beaches of Cork, with stunning Atlantic views to the starboard side for much of the way. From Donegal, drive south along the N15. As you head towards Sligo you’ll also pass Ben Bulben, Ireland’s answer to Cape Town’s Table Mountain and, just beyond Sligo, Carrowmore which is home to 60 megalithic tombs. The next section of the Wild Atlantic Way brings you through pirate country. Carraigahowley Castle was home to ‘The Pirate Queen’, Grace O’Malley. Achill Island is accessible by bridge and its Atlantic Drive, to the south, has some of the best sea views of the entire route. From Tralee you begin what is perhaps the most magical section of the whole Wild Atlantic Way, especially the sections known as Connor Pass (Ireland’s highest mountain pass) and Slea Head Drive. The Dingle Peninsula is an at-times narrow route along cliff-face roads beyond the N86. Pull off at Camp and take the R560, then loop around the R559 and enjoy the views of the Blasket Sound – perhaps take the boat from Dunquin to visit the abandoned village on Great Blasket Island before heading to the finish line in Cork.
Of course, the one thing all of these routes has in common is the glorious Ferrari Portofino M you’ll be sitting in for the duration. What better way for a staycation?
For other models to take down the coast, head over to our main Ferrari page and find your summer car today!
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