Maranello Mints Another Classic
It’s a safe bet that the early customers for the 2021 Ferrari Roma didn’t need to wait for the reviews before putting their money down. Just look at this car. Making a break from current Ferrari design, the Roma looks very different from its siblings … and it’s difficult to look away.
The 2021 Roma coupe slots into Ferrari’s lineup below the Portofino M hardtop-convertible with which it shares its basic mechanicals. That makes the Roma the marque’s “entry” model, but fear not; there are enough options available to leave the car’s $222,620 base price far behind in the rear-view mirror.
What Kind of Ferrari Is This?
Ferrari calls the Roma a “2+.” That means two people up front plus perhaps two children or two very cooperative friends in the smallish back seat. The Roma’s 10 cubic feet should be enough to carry luggage for a weekend trip for two. If you want more room in a Ferrari, you’ll have to wait for the upcoming Purosangue — the SUV that’s “not an SUV.” The wonderfully offbeat but practical GTC4 Lusso four-seater was discontinued.
Looking back through the large Ferrari family tree, the Roma would align with the 250 GT Lusso, the 330 GTC and the 365 GTC/4. The Roma is the Ferrari to drive across Europe or California Highway 1, when that gaping landslide near Big Sur is repaired.
Calling Ferrari Newbies
In a New York Times review of the new Roma, Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s chief marketing and commercial officer, described the Roma as an important car for broadening both the model line and customer base. He said Ferrari expects that 70 percent of Ferrari Roma customers will be new to the marque. The California, which evolved into the Portofino, had a similar mission when it debuted more than 10 years ago, and it was instrumental in bringing in new Ferrari enthusiasts.
Classic Lines, But Not Retro
Ferrari says the Roma’s design was inspired by “the most legendary grand touring Ferraris of the 1960s.” The aggressively folded and creased lines, carved-out vents and aggressive-looking front ends that have marked Ferrari designs for the past decade or so are nowhere to be seen. In their place are a super-slick front end and slit-style headlights. We saw the first hints of this smoother design direction in Ferrari’s mind-boggling Monza models.
Ferrari has mentioned the 250 GT Lusso as a design muse, and there certainly seems to be a hint of that car in the Roma’s front fender contours, sloping hood and reverse-angle grille. The Roma’s body-color grille might seem like an odd choice at first, but it grows on you.
Speaking of colors, the Roma’s clean shape appears tailor-made for some of the classic shades Ferrari offers, particularly the blues. If you go with a red, we suggest looking at the darker varieties.
A Sleeker Look Inside As Well
Like the Roma’s exterior, the cockpit’s mood is dialed back from the racier surface excitement seen in other Ferraris. The sweeping dashboard design flows into the console and doors and envelops the driver and passenger equally.
The driver faces a 16-inch fully digital gauge cluster, while the passenger gets a separate screen. Both occupants share a vertically oriented 8.4-inch console touchscreen for infotainment. (Apple CarPlay is a $4,200 option, by the way.) Overall, the Roma’s interior ambience seems well aimed at drivers who might be moving up from a high-end AMG Mercedes, Maserati GranTurismo or Jaguar F-Type.
What Lies Beneath
The Roma rides on the same 105.1-inch wheelbase as the Portofino M but is slightly lower, wider and longer overall than that model. The Roma inherits the Portofino M’s 612-horsepower twin-turbo 3.9-liter V8 and 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Ferrari claims a 3,460-pound weight for the Roma, but Car & Driver’s estimate of 3,600 pounds is probably closer to a U.S.-spec model. Of course, the car is very fast. Ferrari says the Roma will do 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and achieve a 199-mph top track speed.
Yes, You Can Track It
Even if the Roma is less caffeinated than Ferrari’s mid-engine and V12 models, there was no skimping on performance. For example, Ferrari equipped the Roma chassis with its Side Slip Control 6.0 system, which integrates the E-Diff, F1-Trac, SCM-E Frs and Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer. The latter includes a “Race” setting on the five-position steering wheel manettino switch.
It matters little whether many Roma customers ever put the car’s capability to the test on a track, or just enjoy telling friends about it. From where we stand, the Roma doesn’t need to prove anything. It’s the next great Ferrari.