The latest entrant from the Ferrari stables, the Ferrari Roma, was first publicly unveiled in November 2019 and again in 2020, finally all out in 2021. This more ‘affordable’ Ferrari has since won many awards, including the covetous Red Dot Award last year, for its design. Somnath Chatterjee test drove the car in Dubai, and here is his report for the readers of The Luxury Chronicle.
Dubai / New Delhi
The grip on the steering wheel tightens as the scenery increasingly moves to a blur with the rush of speed and noise enveloping my senses. A cursory glance at the digital speedometer indicates the ludicrous performance that this supercar nonchalantly gallops to while the emptiness of the desert around me only heightens the experience. Welcome to the Ferrari Roma and its wild side. It is an all new Ferrari and opens doors to new buyers while still injecting a healthy dose of Ferrari DNA
Let’s rewind the story a few hours back when a rather nice leather lined Ferrari key was pressed into my hand, for the scintillating red Prancing Horse in front of me. Dubai’s glittering skyline proved to be a beautiful canvas to arguably the most beautiful Ferrari in recent times. The Roma is all about Ferrari taking inspiration from its past with various design details taken from its 60’s classics. I love the way the haunches are beautifully structured and flow seamlessly into the side; and the bonnet is sculptured to match the ‘shark’ like front-end. Peer closer and the front grille is also quite low set along with the swan like headlamps which to me, is one of the highlights of this design. There are many other details which are hallmarks of the past when it comes to Ferrari with the twin tail-lamps, a reminder of the gorgeous 550 Maranello.
More than anything else I like fact that the Roma is devoid of extreme aggression, which is something plaguing all modern supercars these days. That said, unlike supercars of the past, the Roma is also spacious with easy egress/ingress. The cabin is a master-class in mixing the old with the new. There is of course, leather, carbon fibre and gleaming metal draped at every corner of the interior, a whiff of an old-school luxury GT- especially with the metal gated F1 controls. The driving position too is not extreme and the cockpit is more open as compared to other mid-engine Ferrari cars.
There are some radical changes though that revolve around the new all-digital interface. The instrument cluster for example is a massive curved screen and packs in a lot of information while the central driver display is a touchscreen too. Being a new Ferrari, you can only talk so much about its interiors or design because its driving experience is what ultimately seals the deal for me. In the Roma, the engine continues to be the V8 from the new line of Ferrari turbocharged engines and it makes 612bhp. Ferrari has also thrown in its entire technological prowess behind the Roma with a 5-position Manettino, Side Slip Control and an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
First impressions have me bewildered as to how comfortable the Roma actually is. It embraces the city and its unique challenges with being compact along with having enough ground clearance. You have good rear visibility as well with no massive blind-spots. As an everyday GT, the Roma effortlessly swishes past rivals, yet at the crux of it, the bag of tricks that only a Ferrari can show is very much apparent. The Roma, when driving normally is docile but when you twist the Manettino switch to race and push it hard, it will surprise you.
The V8 continues to have the characteristic sharp edge along with a shrieking noise that accompanies every Ferrari at full chat. 0-100 km/h is devoured in an instant (3.4 seconds) and you sit back in amazement as this Ferrari simply pushes the performance envelope unlike anything else from its segment. It is fast and thrilling but won’t be too much of a lethal cocktail for you. You enjoy it but also it lets you be a part of the driving experience rather than scaring yourself silly. In other words, the Roma lets you have your cake and eat it too!
The intense Dubai heat did nothing to stem my excitement and admiration for the Roma. It is accessible in its dynamic abilities, beautiful to look at while being an event in terms of its operatic V8 engine. The Roma is indeed a new type of Prancing Horse which pushes this brand into a more diverse spectrum while getting more buyers in the process. Available to order now in India, the Roma is priced at INR 3.76 crores (sans options) and we think it is indeed a fitting entry into the world of Ferrari ownership.