Is the Ferrari Roma a real Ferrari?
I test drive it to find out.
"Wait!! What car is that? Is that a FERRARI? COOL CAR MAN!! What type of Ferrari is this? When I saw the car from far, I couldn't make out what car is it".
This was pretty much the standard reaction of most people when they saw the Roma. It is the unFerrari Ferrari. When the Roma was launched, the internet was taken by storm. Every car enthusiast had an opinion, and everyone wondered what is going on and if the good people at Ferrari are a bit lost. Well, I am here to answer your questions about the Ferrari Roma and put your mind to ease about whats Ferrari about it and what is not.
It looks like an A**** M*****
Let me assure and then reassure you it does not. I do understand the misunderstanding, though. The British car and the Italian car both have a similar silhouette and similar dimensions. The British car looks like a runner with sneakers on, ready at the starting line to sprint. Whereas the Italian car looks like it is an athlete but currently is wearing mocassins and sipping wine at a party which is precisely how a 2+2 GT car should be. The Roma is a car that you need to see in the flesh to appreciate its beauty. It is pretty and beautiful. The stance is relaxed yet looks muscular and well-shaped. The Roma looks like it is designed by flowing water over a metal piece, rounded yet taut. In true GT style, the nose is long and angular, followed by the passenger cell and a well rounded short rear.
The headlights take inspiration from Ferrari's Monza SP1 and SP2. The rear taillights look like jewels set on an expensive watch. While other Ferraris look aggressive and ready to take on the racetrack, the Roma is a car that looks like the athlete decided to dress up and take the night off. Because of these characteristics, Ferrari believes that 70% of the customer for the Roma will be first time Ferrari owners and I ultimately see that happening. I also predict a lot of women buying the Roma. It is the car that seems to fit the need for a pretty sportscar.
One notable thing that Ferrari has done away with it is the side fender Prancing Horse shield. This is one car that perfectly suits the acronym IFYKYK. Also, please do not buy it in Rosso Corsa (the Ferrari red for the uninitiated). Subtle colours are the way to go with this one. The perfect date night Ferrari is what the Roma is.
Does it drive like a Ferrari?
Hell yeah! How did you even think that? It drives precisely like how a Ferrari should. The steering is light, exact and well-weighted. It does not invite you to go hunting corners like the F8 does but rises to the occasion when the time arises and if it suits your mood to do that. Call it Ferrari for Beginners.
The Roma has a 3.9 ltr twin-turbo engine V8 producing 612 HP, and all of that power is sent to the rear wheels. That is a lot of power for anyone to manage. Let alone a supercar noob. The Roma does 0-100 in 3.9 seconds, and to make sure that you keep its pretty face intact, Ferrari has introduced multiple safety features and electronics which help you keep the car in check whenever you drive it. Power is always available, and at the flex of your right luxury mocassin wearing foot, it gets converted to speed—a lot of speed. This turbocharged engine is so good that it has somehow managed to make the turbo lag almost non-existent. All of this is mated to a new and lighter 8-speed gearbox. This gearbox is the hero of the story. Previous Ferrari's had a 7-speed gearbox, and for top speed runs, the cars craved for an 8th gear. The gearbox in the Roma sorts that out. Designed for tall gearing and pulling to the redline, it is a phenomenal gearbox. However, predominantly it is configured for highway cruising. It even is lighter than the previous box.
We have to talk about the sound when it comes to Ferrari. It sounds like one. The engine sound is deep and harmonious. Never does it feel overly shouty and in your face, which is true to its GT character. Ferrari uses new particulate filters to meet sound and new emission norms while keeping the car sounding good.
I can imagine the Roma being driven from the city to a mountain retreat through fast sweeping bends, highways and boulevards. Perfect Roma territory, and the driver thoroughly enjoying it.
Let us talk interiors.
Ferrari has completely redesigned the interiors. It feels like no other Ferrari out there. The cockpit is divided into two individual cells—one for the driver and the other for the passenger giving it a very speedboat like feel. The leather and other materials feel luxurious and premium enough. However, let us discuss the elephant in the room.
Ferrari has departed from its usual setup and completely changed how the interiors are designed. Let us start with the vertical 8.4-inch centre mounted touch screen. This screen manages the HVAC, audio, navigation and is your predominant infotainment setup. It also looks and feels detachable (it is not). Just below that, we have the gearbox toggle switches (designed to look like old gated shifter); these take some getting used to. Gone is the big red engine start-stop button from the steering wheel. It is replaced by a touch/slide button. I want to thank Ferrari for keeping the Manettino. I really enjoyed the tactile feel of the rotary switchgear when I flick from road mode to the various modes available such as sport, race, wet (a first for Ferrari) and ESC-off.
The more you look around, the more changes you will find. Such has a trackpad style switch on the steering wheel for customizing the 16-inch curved display, which is now the main display for the driver with all the relevant information. Every time you use it, it makes a "whoosh" sound. Another trackpad controls the side mirrors. Gone are door handles; the Roma uses a button to open doors.
All the above changes can be quite overwhelming IMO for an existing Ferrari customer. However, since Ferrari expects 70% of the Roma buyers to be first-time Ferrari buyers and that this will be their first Ferrari experience, they may get used to it quicker than me. I feel I am getting old, but I love the buttons and switchgear in the Ferrari F8 Tributo.
Should you buy it?
100% you should, there is no doubt about that. This is the Ferrari of the future. Not only in terms of design and style but in terms of technology as well. The Roma is probably the bed for all future cars from Ferrari. It may just be the best selling Ferrari for 2021. Call it your Ferrari for everyday use. The car hides its true character under the beautiful outer skin. It gives you pedigree and easily accessible performance in one package. What else could you possibly want?
The Roma is priced at $220,000 or AED 807,400 or INR 3.61 Crores.