Eat Sleep Drive Repeat
26 Aug 2020
The newest Ferrari GT car has been unveiled in SA
Attending the unveiling at Scuderia Johannesburg, the first thing to notice about the Roma is that pictures don’t really do it justice. It’s a crafty and convincing mix of ultra modern Ferrari and nostalgia - the headlights on the show car, for example, are the optional LED matrix units, but the shape and execution of the front end has more than a hint of the classic 330 GT.
Ferrari are known for creating beautiful cars, but not ones that are necessarily minimalist - something Roma is looking to change. The rear is particularly clean, with the spoiler integrated into the rear screen, and the simple yet sculpted taillights forming an integrated part of the line that runs the width of the back of the car. Below that, a rear cargo hatch (which fits an optional bespoke luggage set) sits above the two sets of twin exhaust pipes. Finished in titanium on the show car, they are the most belligerent part of the rear design.
The Roma is a front mid-engined car, powered by Ferrari’s award winning V8 turbo motor; output is 456kW / 760Nm, driving the rear wheels via an 8-speed dual clutch gearbox. That particular piece of technology is 6 kg lighter, 20% smaller and delivers 35% more power that its 7-speed predecessor, found in the 488 Pista. Performance, as you’d expect, is pretty spectacular: 0-100km/h in 3,4 seconds, 0-200km/h in 9,3 seconds, and a top speed of around 320km/h.
Chatting to the Ferrari staff, it became clear that the Scuderia is aiming for the Roma to be the car that delivers a balance between the company’s obvious performance pedigree and the need for more practical driving applications. While it is a 2+2 GT model that offers things like adaptive cruise control, its performance credentials have been boosted by bolting on a 5-position manettino. A steering wheel-mounted switch, the manettino selects different driving modes, and in the Roma, this includes a “Race” mode - not something you’ll find in Ferrari’s other GT, the Portofino. Another bit of performance trickery comes from the latest version of Side Slip Control, a electronics system that allows a measure of (controllable) oversteer for added driving fun.
There is, of course, a lot solid engineering (both hardware and software) behind the driving enjoyment. Variable Boost Management adjusts torque delivery according to the selected gear, with higher torque for higher gears - the full 760Nm is available in 7th and 8th. Ferrari claims that the Roma has the best power:weight ratio in its class, and there has been a focus on aerodynamic efficiency, with the aim of introducing more grip with minimal drag.
The interior of the Roma is a moody place. The Dual Cockpit concept creates a slightly less driver-focussed setup, with Ferrari preferring to describe front passengers as “co-pilots”. The all-digital instrumentation is displayed on a single 16-inch screen for the driver, with the centre console using an 8.4” screen for infotainment and climate control, amongst other functions. Other controls in the centre console are finished with another nod to the old school: a metal plate which references the classic gear lever gate. The cabin is finished in full-grain Frau® leather, Alcantara®, chromed aluminium and carbon-fibre.
The showpiece of the interior is the “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” steering wheel, which includes controls for everything driver-related. The main controls include engine start button, headlights, windscreen wipers and indicator controls; there are also multi-touch controls that adjust of a multitude of car systems.
The Roma is available for order now at a base price of R4,972,000. The first customer cars are scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2021.