There are few car manufacturers that strike a perfect balance between design and engineering. Even a carmaker as brilliant as Ferrari doesn’t always get it right. But the 2024 Ferrari Roma Spider is the proverbial exception that proves the rule.
First things first: the car is stunning with the roof up or down. While this would seem obvious, many high-end convertibles have a completely different profile—some downright ungainly and nonproportional—when the top is hovering above the passenger compartment.
Not the Roma Spider. The Ferrari design team have done a masterful job at taking what was already one of the more elegant GTs in the world and transforming into one of the most drop-dead gorgeous convertibles in history. A handful of the test vehicles were painted in Rosso Portofino, with the five-layer woven-fabric roof bearing a two-tone black-and-red treatment.
The power-operated roof, which can be lowered at speeds of up to 60 kilometres an hour, is also an engineering master stroke. The Z-shaped movement sees the roof elegantly sandwiched into a small compartment above the trunk. With the top up, the Roma Spider has class-leading trunk space. With the top down, a patented wind deflector behind the front seats can be deployed to help reduce buffeting in the passenger cabin.
The cabin itself is equal parts luxury, comfort, and high performance. The twin-cockpit design places the driver and co-driver snugly in their own compartments. To the left, the driver is greeted by the now-classic F1-inspired steering wheel and a configurable digital instrument panel.
In the middle of the dashboard, an 8.4-inch screen displays climate control and infotainment functions. Below this screen, the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is designed to look like a gated shifter, modelled after Ferraris of old that had manual transmissions. While this set-up is not the same as having a true manual, the throwback design is slick—and this eight-speed is far faster than any manual out there.
Speaking of performance, the Ferrari Roma Spider has plenty. It’s powered by the same engine that motivates the Roma coupe, a twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 engine with 612 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque. Although the weight of the convertible is some 80 kilograms more than the coupe’s, it’s still ridiculously fast. The sprint to 100 kilometres an hour clocks in at 3.4 seconds, and top speed hovers around 320 kilometres an hour.
On a twisty, coastal road in southern Sardinia, the Ferrari proved comfortable and quick. It easily carved around corners, tracking the angle of every turn with precision. The adjustable suspension system calmly dealt with any ripples in the pavement. And the racing-derived carbon-ceramic brakes hauled the Spider down from speed every time an errant car suddenly appeared in the road ahead.
While the Roma Spider is one of the “more relaxed” models in the current Ferrari lineup, it’s still bloody fast and wildly entertaining to drive. The brain trust at Ferrari have attached an appropriate catch phrase to the car—La Nuova Dolce Vita. Without a doubt, cruising around Italy in the Spider with the top down, it’s very easy to imagine that you’re living the good life.