Car Tests

We Tested Ferrari Roma 2021: Fast, elegant and versatile

Bring the old and new together. That’s the philosophy behind Ferrari’s new baby GT. With a name as suggestive as Ferrari Roma, it wraps some of the latest technology from the 1,000hp SF90 supercar in a suit that recalls the glory days of the great and fast front-engined European Gran Turismo of the 1950s and 1960s, before the era of supercars.

A new twist on Gran Turismo

Ferrari hopes that this elegant combination will help attract new customers to the brand, the kind of people who might have otherwise bought an Aston Martin Vantage or DB11. The kind of people who probably find other Ferrari cars, even the entry-level Portofino, a little too much, well, Ferrari. Maranello estimates that 20 percent of buyers will remove the yellow prancing horse shields from the front fenders, an option that is rarely rejected on other Ferrari models.

Priced at € 210,000, the Roma is at the bottom of the Ferrari range alongside the € 215,000 retractable hardtop Portofino, and well below the € 264,608 F8 Tributo. But while the Portofino mimics the styling of its big brother, the 812 Superfast, the Roma goes it’s way, drawing inspiration from the past: a 250 GT Lusso twist on the shark nose, 456 on the semi rear. -Kamm-tail and the view from the driver’s seat of an elongated and bulging hood framed by a pair of pointed fenders is similar to that of the classic 275 GTB / 4. However its clean surface is modern and details such as its grill, Body-colored, and sloped-cut taillights double that contemporary feel.

Ferrari Roma 2021

Inside, we find that same fusion. The M-shaped dash places drivers and passengers in clearly separated zones, just like in a Corvette, and the shift zone for the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is styled like a classic Ferrari manual, a feature we saw. for the first time on the SF90.

Also sourced from the SF90 is its high-resolution curved TFT display for the dashboard and a new touchpad steering wheel, but in the case of the Roma, it’s backed by a large touchscreen interface on the console.

Ferrari Roma Much more than a pretty face

Compared to the Portofino, the Roma is supposed to be a classier, more glamorous, and more luxurious car. And it feels exactly like that. But it is also more focused on performance, something that can be said even before turning the wheel: the Roma is the first Ferrari GT to change its basic manettino with only three positions for driving modes for the advanced version found in the cars. mid-engine models, the one that includes Race mode.

Ferrari doesn’t want to suggest at any point that this car is an alternative to its mid-engined F8 Tribute, but traversing roads framed by acres and acres of vineyards south of Turin, the Roma also doesn’t feel like a “soft” choice when it comes to it. of driving.

No, you can’t change direction with the same energy as Ferrari’s mid-engined models, and you’ll certainly want to push the manettino into Sport or Race modes to achieve the kind of body control you’d expect a Ferrari to deliver on a winding road. But the brakes have that same delightfully firm feel and short-travel pedal that we remember from the SF90, and with the engine at full throttle, the front-to-rear balance is excellent.

Ferrari Roma 2021

If you like how a great front-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports car feels on a fluid road, that feeling of sitting close to the rear axle and working with a slower, more forgiving getaway when the tires finally reach their limits, (and it does. They do) You will love how Roma feels. It’s a shame the thick windshield pillars and large door mirrors conspire to block much of the visibility on curvy roads.

Compared to Ferrari’s sportier cars, the steering feels less frantic when driving on a road with left-right changes of direction; The same goes for the back hit you feel when you step on the right pedal on the straights. The Roma’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 generates 620 hp, the same as the Portofino M, but slightly less than the 720 hp sent by the more extreme F8 through its seven-speed transmission.

But the Roma digs in its claws with its eight-speed gearbox, and in Career mode, it becomes one of the best auto-shift maps we’ve found for drivers who prefer not to deal with the huge paddles when descending downhill. challenging road.

It’s essentially the same transmission found on the SF90, although since the Roma isn’t a hybrid you get proper mechanical reverse (the SF90 uses its electric motors to reverse). The added ratio means more thrust available in the now shorter intermediate gears. Compared to the Portofino, we’re told that the Roma’s acceleration is 15 percent stronger in third gear. Ferrari figures indicate a time from 0 to 100 km / h in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 320 km / h. Subjectively, this acceleration would be normal in a supercar, but it certainly feels quite fast in this GT setup, without thereby becoming unmanageable.

Interestingly, the power output would have been 640 hp, but Ferrari decided to build one engine for all markets, which means that all models in all markets have the same exhaust particulate filter that is required in the cars sold. in Europe and that reduces power and noise. Despite all the noise coming out of the exhaust system, it’s Gran Turismo’s own: it sounds loud and invigorating, but rarely overbearing, save for the occasional roar on the highway and surprisingly high idle.

That focus on livability matters. The Roma is designed both to relax and to get excited, to take it easy on any type of driving and any type of situation. It drives well, although there is the option of adaptive cruise control and it has two small rear seats that may not be very good to sit on, they help to expand the already generous luggage space.

If that doesn’t fit your idea of ​​a Ferrari, it’s probably not their intention. But Ferrari hopes it’s exactly the kind of model that will appeal to customers who have never considered getting one before.

What surprised us is the attractive versatility of this car. We’d rather have an F8 in the garage, of course. But the fast, sleek, and day-to-day Ferrari Roma would make an incredible companion.

Perhaps Ferrari’s biggest achievement here is that it has managed to give this entry model its distinctive character in a model that is much more than a cheaper sports car than an F8 Tributo.