Ferrari Roma: Past meets future for a fabulous present

We are entering a new decade, one where technology is becoming more and more of semi-autonomous cars and electric motors. This is the future — there is no stopping it. With the exception of Ferrari.

The new Ferrari Roma harkens back to an era when romance was uninterrupted with a ringing cell phone, where people listened to smooth jazz on the radio, and where people watched Audrey Hepburn on TV. “By all means, Rome.”

Given the Roma’s classic look, it still brings the feel of the advancement of the future. Ferrari’s new sporty coupe shares its award-winning turbocharged 3855cc V8 from other models in the stable. And with it kicking out 620cv at 7500rpm and 760Nm at a broad rpm range of 3,000 rpm to 5,750 rpm, there isn’t much to change is there?

The car does the 0-100 km/h sprint at a sprightly 3.4 seconds — with the speedometer maxing out at 320 km/h. “Grazie Ferrari”

A successor to the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox from its predecessors, the new 8-speed F1-bred dual-clutch gearbox weighs in at 6 kg lighter, while still incorporating faster and more efficient shifting to help the engine deliver the appropriate power for when you feel like gunning it, or to keep things quiet when you’re bringing the car in to a wedding.

Of course, the Roma driver needs to handle all that Italian power, and not all of us are surnamed “Schumacher.” The engineers at Ferrari have taken that into consideration as well. The car is equipped with the latest in vehicle dynamics assistance systems, Slide Slip Control 6.0 (a first on a Ferrari GT car) with a 5-position manettino and Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer to control the vehicle yaw angle hydraulically by adjusting brake pressure at the calipers. This, of course, is accompanied with the standard slew of ABS, F1-TCS, EPS, and other modern-day wizardry. All in the name of not ending up in a ditch with your new automobile art.

The clean lines that contour the Roma, reminiscent of heroes within the walls of the Ferrari factory at Maranello — the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso and 250 GT 2+2, whose curvaceous figures first saw the dawn of light back in the golden years of the company — once again emerge in the 21st century. The Matrix Full-LED headlights perfectly outline the front, which then taper to the sides seamlessly. The rear fenders transition to the rest of the body with such finesse, a design that replicates a water droplet, carefully shaped and designed. An active aero device is built in the wraparound rear screen, which is further highlighted by the twin taillights.

The car’s chassis and bodyshell have been built from the ground up to incorporate all the latest weight reduction measures. The curb weight of the vehicle rests at a respectable 1570 kg for a GT car. In fact 70% of the Roma’s components are new and not shared with the other Ferrari models. All these amount to a class leading, power-to-weight ratio (2.37 kg/cv), which of course translates to excellent handling dynamics and responsiveness.

Demonstrating a “dual cockpit” concept for the interior, the cabin is well designed to connect the driver and passenger to the car — almost like you’re piloting a fighter jet, a very luxurious fighter jet, with leather everywhere. The Ferrari Styling Centre once again have outdone themselves; every element present within the interior has been expertly crafted with the ethos of completely redesigning the HMI. For things to remain safe and enjoyable, its steering wheel has all the car’s main controls (with haptic feedback). This encourages the driver to keep the eyes on the road and with full control of the wheel at all times. With a car with this much power, you ought to be. It also has a 16-inch digital instrument cluster ready to churn out all the information you’ll ever need, with an 8.4-inch vertical screen and passenger displays that are equally intuitive. It provides an immersive experience not only for the driver but also to the passenger.

Entrance into the luxurious cabin is facilitated by an updated Ferrari key, with “Comfort Access” the driver only needs to touch a button located next to the new flush handle in the door. This is a vehicle meant for long drives after all, optional extras that make the day-to-day or cross-country drive extra relaxing include the Ferrari Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that incorporates an Adaptive Cruise Control system.

One must appreciate the lengths Ferrari has gone to make this car a Grand Tourer for the sophisticated person. This is not an outright sports car — that’s what the 488 Pista or F8 Tributo are for. With the car’s sheer luxury and phenomenal performance, it becomes nothing less than an evolution of “what has been” with “what can be.” This is the new Ferrari Roma.

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