The Ferrari Roma: A New Ferrari I Actually Like

Now I understand that this may be perceived as a blasphemous proclamation, but I have to say it, I don’t really think all that much of Ferrari’s current lineup. Of course, you would probably assume that every car Ferrari makes is this symbol of automotive perfection, but with some of the company’s recent releases, I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, the performance provided by a Ferrari is still on par with its other respective supercar competitors, but what I’m more worried about, as usual, is a lack of passion.

Since this argument could quickly become out of hand, let’s just focus on Ferrari’s GT cars for now. First, we have the Portofino and may I just say that it is atrocious. Can you imagine the disappointment on someone’s face when you tell them you own a Ferrari and in rolls this fat-faced obscurity? The most basic root of passion in automobiles is styling, and styling is something you would expect the Italians to get right, but evidently there weren’t any in office the day the Portofino was designed. Even if you are able to look past the hideous exterior, don’t forget that this is essentially a watered down version of the 812 Superfast, Ferrari’s other GT car. I get that it’s supposed to be a cruiser and a bit more relaxed, but how un-Ferrari is a car actually made for a consumer and not just out of blind passion? As I am now on the verge of posing too many rhetorical questions, let us discuss the 812 Superfast before I get carried away. Now the 812 is a damn sight better than the Portofino, might I even say a good car. However, I have to stop myself there as this car is good not great. Yes, this is the most powerful Ferrari ever made and slightly insane (which is generally a good thing if you are searching for passion) but I’m afraid the 812 is just a bit too clinical. It’s a bit too sensible, trying a bit too hard to cover up its manic tendencies, and as a result it loses its edge. However, it is time for me to move away from this barrage of negativity because now I must discuss the car you came here to learn about in the first place, the Roma.

The Roma, like the Portofino and 812, is a grand tourer, and for Ferrari this newest release represents a divergence from normalcy. Lately we’ve become accustomed to this continuous monotony of seeing the same thing from Ferrari, but the Roma is completely out of left field and that makes me want to like it straight away. 

As I stated before, styling is the basis of passion when it comes to building a car, and there were definitely some talented designers doing incredible work the day that the Roma was conceived. The sleek and delicate exterior puts me in the mind of an Aston Martin DB11, and that really sets the tone for the character of this car. The Roma carries itself with this elegant and gentle stoicism, a character much the opposite a more pompous grand tourer like the Bentley Continental. Mind you, the twin-turbo V8 engine still produces 612 hp and will carry the car from 0-100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds, but it does so in a soulful manner. The new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission shifts quickly yet discreetly. The engine provides such a rich timbre, but at the same time it doesn’t deafen you. It’s light and controlled, yet when you call on the power it is instant and well-executed. In terms of driving experience for a GT car, the Roma is just about as balanced as you can get. This quality extends to all facets of the car as the Roma, in my opinion, holds the perfect balance between the past and the future.

 With a name like “Roma” and a front grill reminscient of the 250 GT Lusso, you might assume this car to be a product of old-school design philosophy. However, Ferrari have packed the Roma with intelligent technology and thoughoutfully wrapped it under the elegant exterior. The Roma actually has active aero (something you don’t usually find on a GT car) in the form of a mobile rear spoiler that generates air vortices and provides downforce. Ferrari has even shaped vortex generators at the front of the car to create a ground effect and manage the wake caused by the front wheels. Remember that seamless dual-clutch gearbox I was talking about before? Well that was lifted straight out of the SF90 Stradale and given distinct, longer ratios to provide a perfect marriage between the engine and transmission. When it comes to car configuration, the engine has been pushed as close to the cabin as possible to create a mid-front-engine layout which improves vehicle dyanmics and handling stabilty. Perhaps the most evident represenation of this technology-oriented approach, however, can be found in the interior. It really is quite different than what we are accutsomted to seeing in a Ferrari. Almost everything is digital and even the passenger gets a multi-function display which Ferrari claims is in effort to create, “a more organic distribution of space and functions, so that the passenger feels extremely involved in the driving.” To be honest, I do still feel that the busy steering wheel and dashboard create a somewhat cluttered environment, but the rest of the interior is really rather elegant and implements all this touch-screen technology in a subttle manner. All of this, yet again, adds to the Roma’s core character of balance. 

The Ferrari Roma simply put is the perfect compromise. Now I know that the word “compromise” carries certain connotations, but I urge you in this situation to not assert that negative meaning to the word. The Roma is so perfectly balanced between the past and the future, and this sort of balance is becoming increasingly rare in the automotive world. As gear heads, we can’t be so headstrong as to just dismiss all modern technology, yet at the same time we demand a certain character and passion from cars. The Roma might finally be an option that settles this dilemma, as it has found a way to draw on that old-world passion and excitement all while employing bang up to date technology. So, while the Ferrari Roma might not be the car we all expected, it is most certainly the Ferrari we all need. 

Footnote:

I know I really ripped into the Ferrari Portofino in particular with this article, but remember these all just my opinions. I understand that these are mostly subjective issues, but I just wanted to share my strong emotions on the topic. Regardless, hopefully it made for an interesting read!

Citations:

“The 2020 Ferrari Roma Is A Sleek Twin-Turbo V-8 Coupe With 612 HP”. Road & Track, 2019, https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/a29787948/2020-ferrari-roma-pictures-specs-hp-info/#:~:text=2020%20Ferrari%20Roma%20Is%20a,8%20Coupe%20With%20612%20HP&text=It’s%20a%20front%2Dengined%20coupe,transmission%20and%20some%20stunning%20looks. Accessed 14 Sept 2020.

“Ferrari Roma, La Nuova Dolce Vita – Ferrari.Com”. Ferrari.Com, 2020, https://www.ferrari.com/en-EN/auto/ferrari-roma. Accessed 14 Sept 2020.

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