Roma Holiday

by Petrol Mum
Ferrari Roma ocean view

The carefree, pleasurable lifestyle that was prominent across Rome in the 1950s and 1960s has been embodied in the Ferrari Roma. This ‘La Nuova Dolce Vita’ or ‘The New Sweet Life’ is an elegant sports car that harks back to the most legendary grand touring Ferraris of the 1960s, front-engined cars with simple yet elegant forms and a 2+ fastback coupé design.

The pure, refined styling and perfect proportions cleverly conceal the car’s power and sportiness. Its lines are perfection, akin to Audrey Hepburn’s cheek bones, and you can’t help but stare when this Verde Minerale Roma passes by. There is no lift kit fitted to raise the Roma’s shark nose front splitter and it doesn’t need one. I was not troubled by standard sized speed humps and you just have to be mindful and take them slowly.

The twin-turbocharged V8 engine located quite far back under the sculptured bonnet delivers almost instantaneous throttle response thanks to its flat-plane crankshaft. This configuration combined with completely redesigned exhaust system produces a V8 soundtrack worthy of such a beautiful coupé. A soundtrack that can be enjoyed while looking at the gold-tipped exhausts glistening in the sunshine.

The Roma has keyless entry and keyless start, but this is not smart entry so you still need to press the customisable key fob to unlock the Roma using the door handle that looked like it may scratch over time because of its design. A word of warning, when the key leaves the Roma, its horn sounds to let you know and it will make you jump when this happens.

Press the wheel-mounted electronic start button and the power of the Roma is realised when the 3.9 litre V8 engine, which produces a maximum power output of 456 kW at 5,750 – 7,500 rpm and maximum torque of 760 Nm at 3,000 – 5,750 rpm, roars to life. Combined with an 8-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox and a long list of electronic controls the rear-wheel drive Roma is capable of doing 0-100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 9.3 seconds and on to a maximum speed greater than 320 km/h. The official combined fuel consumption is 11.2L/100km and for my few days of fun enjoying the Roma I used 20.0L/100km.

The steering wheel has a multi-touch haptic controls that took me a bit of getting used to, but they do mean the driver doesn’t need to take their hands off the wheel. Traditional controls include the 5-position manettino, headlights, windscreen wipers and indicators. The new controls include a fiddly to use touchpad on the right-hand spoke of the steering wheel, which allow the driver to navigate the central cluster screens, while voice and cruise control are on the left. But I couldn’t work out how to make the left-hand side controls work as they were blacked out for most of the time. It turns out you need to activate them by touching part of the touchpad on the right-hand side of the steering wheel. Lesson learnt for the next time I get to drive a Ferrari.

The manettino settings available are Wet, Comfort, Sport, Race and ESC off and when you twist the manettino a display is shown on the digital dash as well. Comfort and Sport were enough for me and although the Roma is a supercar, I was happy just to mooch around knowing that the power was there if I felt the need for some extra poke.

Pull on the large carbon fibre column-mounted gear selectors, while exploring the dynamics of the Roma, and you swiftly move through the 8-speed ‘box in manual mode. The shift lights across the top of the steering wheel are similar to a F1 car’s and go from red to blue, as you get close to the 7,500rpm red line indicated on the large taco that is front and centre of the digital driver’s dash.

Or in auto mode the Roma progresses through the gears quickly and settles in for a gentle cruise. To engage neutral, you pull the two gear selectors towards you and the switches below the infotainment screen are for reverse, auto/manual gearbox and launch control.

Ferrari Roma Verde Minerale

The ride in the Roma is not harsh and was comfortable in either Comfort or Sport mode and the Roma felt not as firm compared to the other supercars I had driven in the previous month before, but it still grips and goes through the corners nicely. There is a little wiggle under hard acceleration out of the corners and some loss of traction on launch mode in a straight line, but nothing outrageous.

The interior of the Roma is cocoon like with two distinct spaces for the driver and passenger to sit in. The dash and centre console are covered in leather, but this was a bit stretched in places and I thought the gap between the door and the dash was too wide. The aroma from the leather though was so strong that it permeated my garage while the Roma was there.

The seats are covered with full-grain Frau leather and are firm with not a lot of cushioning, but I did not get sore back driving for longer periods. The front seats are heated with power adjustment for forward/back, recline, and seat height front and rear, and the driver gets three memory positions. Like other 2+2 coupés I have driven I describe the Roma as a three seat vehicle because you can fit one person behind the passenger seat if that seat is moved fully forward. Leaving you just enough space behind the driver’s seat for your handbag.

The 8.4” central display, set between the two cockpits, incorporates the infotainment, sat-nav and climate control functions. There were a couple of issues with this screen though, its angle means that when the sun hit the screen, I couldn’t see it and it got bad fingermarks on it, which exacerbated the issue with the sun glare. My Roma had the additional 8.8” colour touchscreen in front of the passenger so they can change the media, temperature or watch the speed flash by as you wind along your favourite driving road.

Storage in a coupé is always at a premium and in the Roma, you get one cup holder and space under the arm rest for your phone with two USB-A ports and one 12V socket in there. Or under the centre console there is a ledge with a wireless phone charger. The cubbies in the doors are only suitable for storing your sunglasses and the Roma has electric push button to open the doors rather than physical door handles.

The rear seats are snug and when my children sat in them their heads touched the roof and they told me that the seats were very hard. There are two ISOFix/rear tether child seat restraint points, but I think you would have to be keen to use them. If you do need to use four seats in your Ferrari then I suggest that you look at the Ferrari Purosangue, the first ever four-door, four-seater car in Ferrari’s history.

The boot of the Roma has enough room for luggage if you are taking a romantic weekend away or for the weekly shop if you are just running errands. But beware the boot has no lip so items may fall out when you open it. Under the boot floor you will find the tyre repair kit, Ferrari gloves to keep your hands clean, and some spare fuses and on the inside of the boot lid you have a record of your Ferrari spec for prosperity. The boot lid has power assisted open and manual close with no moulding under the lid to grab so you need to push down on the exterior of the lid and this may result in scratching of the paint over time. 

The Roma has a number of driver safety aids including blind spot monitoring and front collision warning. It also has a standard rear-view camera that is displayed in the driver’s dash combined with front and rear parking sensors. For convenience you also get auto lights and auto wipers.

Available across the entire Ferrari range, the seven-year maintenance programme covers all regular maintenance for the first seven years of the car’s life. Regular maintenance (at intervals of either 20,000 km or once a year with no mileage restrictions), original spares and meticulous checks by staff trained directly at the Ferrari Training Centre in Maranello using the most modern diagnostic tools are just some of the advantages of the Genuine Maintenance programme.

Ferrari Roma farewell scene

I was taken aback by the beauty of the Ferrari Roma and after eventful yet short journey together, with only the pictures I have taken to remember it by, I took one last longing look and left the Ferrari Roma behind. If you want to continue the romance, a Ferrari Roma can be yours from $453,000 excluding on-road costs. You can Build your Own Roma online or visit your preferred Ferrari dealer for more information.

It’s the most beautiful Ferrari currently on saleThe steering wheel layout is too complicated
The characterful V8 engineThe rear seats have limited room
Practical enough to use everydayFingermarks and sun glare on the infotainment screen

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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