Ferrari is not just a car company anymore. The Italian sports car maker has also become bigger than a luxury brand with the sort of loyalty that other super car car-makers can only dream of. It has also changed its course of action now that it is a publicly listed company. Enter the Ferrari Roma for 2021.
Over the past one year Ferrari has been rapidly churning out new products. That includes the F8 Tributo and exploring new market opportunities with its series production hyper-car, the SF90. It will also go the SUV/crossover route with its rumoured Purosangue. But for now let us feast our eyes on a Ferrari which we were not expecting.
Old school fastback
Of late we have been subjected to a steady stream of fast hyper-cars with mind-numbing horsepower counts. Featured are a ruthless dedication to lap a race track with utmost ease. The SF90 for example has so much technology and complex systems crammed into it that you half expect it to sprout rockets and blast to space.
This car is different and refreshingly so since the Ferrari Roma is not about lapping the Fiorano race track. Instead it is about wearing sepia tinted glasses and drowning yourself in glorious Ferrari playboy GTs of the past.
The Ferrari Roma does not replace anything. Nor is it a Portofino with a roof as many unkind souls will say. Instead it is a gorgeous old-school fastback coupe that is about the journey rather than the destination. It evokes memories of the legendary grand touring Ferraris of the 1960s with plenty of charm oozing from its lines.
What we liked about the Ferrari Roma? Easily the best-looking Ferrari, and great to drive. What we didn’t like? Too much technology detracts a bit from the overall experience.
More simple, beautiful design
The Roma is no doubt a gorgeous machine and the closer you get, the more you appreciate it. The overhangs have a shark nose effect. And the classic short wheelbase GT proportions just remind you of the classic 250 SWB. It is also free of unnecessary cooling ducts or lines as it is simple yet achingly beautiful.
There are plenty of details like the Scuderia Ferrari side shields at the side which are a homage to its 50’s road cars. And there is more on the inside.
The F1 controls for example are lovingly draped on a metal canvas which remind us of the gated stick shift from Ferrari’s of the past. There is more in the form of leather as well as Alcantra used in abundance, along with chromed aluminum.
There is less carbon fibre in the Ferrari Roma and less of a street racer feel with some much-needed GT vibes sprouting from the “relaxed cockpit” to the 2+ seating configuration.
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However if you are thinking that Ferrari is going retro then think again. Hidden way is an avalanche of technology which is ready to pounce on you the moment you push the engineer starter button.
The instrument cluster for example is a 16-inch HD screen. Featured there are various graphics, while the new steering wheel has a series of multi-touch controls including the 5-position Manettino, headlights, windscreen wipers and indicators. There is also a HD touch central display that takes care of the navigation, audio system and more while you can also spec a passenger read-out screen.
Compared to the spartan Ferrari cabins of the past the technology overload is indeed a new way to drive a Prancing Horse. But this is embracing the future, and in that sense, it isn’t so bad.
Under the hood lies the same V8 which has won numerous engine awards while the Roma gets a brand new 8-speed gearbox derived from the SF90. Back to the engine – 3.9 litre twin-turbo V8, while the horsepower count is an impressive 611 hp with 561 lb ft of torque (0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds).
Pumping a generous 611 hp
On the open road the Roma is a true Italian sports car beast all right. But it’s less of a frenzied assault on your senses than the F8 Tributo is and better to drive than a Portofino. It is fast and when dialled up the balance is enjoyable while you can take liberties with this car. The Manettino has five settings but for the public it is best to leave the thing at its comfortable best. Just enjoy the Roma for what it is: a scrumptious GT.
The cabin is beautiful and the Ferrari Roma has a pliant ride with less of a constant urge to go fast all the time. It is also compact and enjoyable in the real-world while having a bigger personality than some of the other, more luxurious cars in this segment.
At $220,000 the Roma is all about Ferrari spreading its wings and welcoming new clients into its fold. Overall it is no doubt an accomplished GT car. But it’s also a proper Ferrari with some of the edges softened off while having a sense of humour, which is indeed welcome.