Of course, it’s relative. Anything that bears the prancing horse logo is going to be much, much more powerful than most other things on the road at any given time. But this sports coupe with a V8 turbo engine that makes 611 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque, comparable to Ferrari’s mid-engine supercars like the F8 Tributo, is geared towards a certain practicality that is catching the eyes of many North Americans.
In line with the touring traditions of other mid-front engine cars like the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, the feeling inside this vehicle is classically Ferrari, with the two front seats resembling separate cockpits and most of the driving functions placed on the wheel itself (which can take some getting used to when it comes to the turn signals). The roar of the engine, with its state-of-the-art Gasoline Particulate Filters, is unmistakably powerful and the 7,500 rpm can bring the sleek vehicle up to 100 km in 3.4 seconds. There’s nothing pedestrian about this car.
What makes this Ferrari accessible, though, is its usability, interior design, and technologies for safety and precision. The automatic transmission works flawlessly with the hand pedals that control the 8-speed gearbox so that even someone uncomfortable with gear shifting can feel the way that the engine moves through the gears in automatic mode and can be comfortable in knowing that the automatic systems will take over if needed. Experienced drivers can switch to full manual through the interface on the central infotainment column that takes inspiration from the original Ferrari shifters. Drivers can switch effortlessly through the comfort and sports setting, depending on various levels of automatic controls on braking and steering, so that those of different experience levels can get acclimated.
The two separate cells of the front cabin mean a more engaging experience for the passenger side, which has its own display. This sectioning also means more focus for the driver on the road, and the dual-cockpits emphasize the sporty tradition without sacrificing comfort, while the backseat is perfect for children. Drivers will be thankful for the snug, focused dual cockpit when they hit 320 km/h!
The body of the Roma takes cues from the new generation of Ferrari models. Sleek lines meet elegant adaptive LED headlights, forming a smooth silhouette that conceals the cabin. Nothing is superfluous. A convertible spoiler shows that this vehicle is all function, as it engages at high speed. One word sums up the car in its entirety: smooth. The only interruptions in the flowing lines of the body are the design-forward perforations in the grill, a new radiator cooling concept out of Maranello.
Some of the aspects that make Roma more friendly to city streets can take away from the driving experience. The engine starts and stops when the vehicle is brought to rest, a feature that is geared towards lessening noise pollution and idling, but that can be awkward when used with this powerful engine.
Overall, the Roma handles exceptionally well and is a great introduction to Ferrari or a great city ride for long-time Ferrari advocates. Even with winter tires when I drove the Roma in Vancouver, the pickup and handling provided all the responsiveness and haptic experience that one expects from such an immaculate machine.