Ferrari’s 2019 has been relentless. The company’s top brass suggested it would be a vintage year for new product back in January, but they’ve also left arguably the most interesting to last: the Roma.
Rather than ratcheting up the performance to ever more insane levels, the Roma is a spiritual throwback to some of the more elegant GTs that Ferrari produced in the Fifties and Sixties. Some of these rank among the most beautiful cars ever made, and while none of them was slow – not with that famous V12 upfront – they were less… hectic.
The Roma promises to be a Ferrari of rare duality. It uses the same chassis as the lovely coupé-convertible Portofino and also shares its 3.9-litre twin turbo V8. But its power output has been increased to 611bhp and it benefits from the new eight-speed dual-shift gearbox that another of the year’s new Ferraris, the remarkable SF90 hybrid, uses. All of which means it’s marginally faster than the Portofino; Ferrari claims 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, 0-124mph in 9.3 and a top speed of 198mph. Still pretty hectic, then.
Given the hard- and software Ferrari now has in its arsenal, we already know that the Roma will handle magnificently. So what’s more intriguing is the way it looks. Since 2011, Ferrari’s design has been under the command of modern renaissance man Flavio Manzoni – he’s an architect by education and a concert-standard pianist with an abiding love for Keith Jarrett – and his signature achievement in Ferrari has been to reconcile the immutable aerodynamic demands with as much beauty as his team can muster.
But the Roma might be a new high point, simply because its body is largely free of ducts, slashes and intakes. It is stunningly well-proportioned, beautifully surfaced and manages to incorporate the vogue-ish LED front and rear lights – which has left many modern cars looking comically moody – in a way that really does evoke masterpieces such as 1962’s 250 GT Lusso.
Its cabin is equally impressive. Although Ferrari’s interior quality is vastly better than it used to be, the ergonomics and layout has never quite hit the spot for me. The Roma, though, looks fabulous. As with other modern Ferraris, the steering wheel is festooned with buttons and there’s a digital instrument cluster. New on this car is the central portrait-angled screen and they’ve had fun in the centre console mimicking the classic open gear-lever gate. There’s an info screen ahead of the passenger, too, although personally I’ve never seen the point of that. But the cockpit form is brilliantly executed, and just looking at it makes you want to drive it. Which is the whole raison d’être of a Ferrari.
No word on prices yet, but we’d estimate a £175,000 starting point (Ferrari’s options list is a dangerous place to spend time). Rather than new-model fatigue, the Ferrari Roma has the look and feel of a 2020 star car and suggests that Maranello is on a serious roll.
Powered by Facebook Comments