The New Ferrari Roma 2020: More Affordable, but Does It Measure Up?
The new Ferrari Roma is unique in more ways than one. Though it is an entry-level model—albeit one that will cost you close to a million dollars ($888,000 without options/COE)—it is a proper coupe, not a convertible or a combination thereof. Secondly, it’s Ferrari's first front-engine V8 coupe. The carmaker has had great front-engine coupes before, but all have been V12s and none have been equipped with a V8.
However, its styling is what sets the Roma apart from the rest of the family. Ferrari’s stable is full of sports cars that look overtly sexy. Instead, the Roma’s design has clearly drawn inspiration from Ferraris of the 1960s, an age when elegance was the order of the day.
This is not to say that the Roma does not drive like a Ferrari, because it still has all the exciting attributes that make it a proper Ferrari. Its award-winning turbocharged V8 with 620 hp sees to that and is more powerful than the Portofino coupe-convertible. Launching the Roma from any standing start is rather exciting because the massive power will have the rear tyres “squirming” despite their considerable grip.
With a new eight-speed F1 gearbox optimising the power delivery, it will zip to 100 km/h from a standing start in a scant 3.4 seconds and will reach a remarkable top speed of over 340 km/h given a long enough stretch of road.
Unlike the Portofino, the Roma has been given the “Race mode” setting, just like Ferrari's more extreme sportscars. This suggests that the Roma has been imbued with a sportier character than the Portofino.
“Race mode” will be pretty handy should the owner want to drive the Roma at the race track, but it is also surprisingly pliant and tolerable even on the city streets if you find yourself in an aggressive mood.
Selecting “Comfort mode” calms everything down and makes this the most comfortable Ferrari I have ever had the pleasure of piloting. Admittedly, it’s no magic-carpet ride but it is impressive how the engineers could develop a suspension with such wide adaptability—from street to track with a mere twist of the Manettino switch, providing settings for comfort, sport, race and stability-off.
On the inside, it is obvious there are big changes. The Roma represents a huge departure from what we are accustomed to from Ferrari. The Roma is next-level design—even the door-opening lever has been replaced by a button that remotely unlatches the door. It’s as if the Roma is the iPhone of car interiors, with the way its designers have replaced buttons with touch screens or touch pads wherever possible. This could be a prelude to an all-electric future.
(Related: The Fully Electric Porsche Taycan Will Be a Green Yet Thrilling Ride in Singapore)
The Roma has been designed to be practical with a useful boot and a pair of small rear seats—in that sense, it comes closest to being an everyday Ferrari. Here is a Ferrari that draws admiring looks rather than envious ones—an important distinction to make about the type of attention it attracts. The Roma is comfortable, drives brilliantly and still turns heads, but unlike most of its counterparts, one won’t feel self-conscious driving it at all.
Price from: $888,000 without options/COE
Engine: 3855cc, Twin-Turbo V8
Transmission: 8-Speed F1 DCT
Power: 620 PS at 5750 to 7500 rpm
Torque: 760 Nm at 3000 to 5750 rpm
0-100 km/h: 3.4 seconds
Top speed: over 320 km/h