The new sweet life: Ferrari Roma Spider launched

La Nuova Dolce Vita

It’s Italian that translates literally to, “The New Sweet Life.” And goodness, there’s no better way to express that than with the all-new Ferrari Roma Spider. 

The Roma Spider is the second Ferrari model newly-minted and San Miguel Corporation-backed Ferrari distributor Velocita Motors launched locally (the Purosangue was first). Overall, it harks back to the pleasure-seeking Italian lifestyle of the 1950s and 60s, and as such, it carries the proportions and performance of the Roma coupe, but adds the pomp and flair of a soft top.

The first front-engined soft top from Ferrari since 1969, The soft top mechanism required a redevelopment of the rear screen. It’s differentiated further by a body-colored band. When the soft top is lowered, the active spoiler connects with the rear bench and head rests. Going into detail, the soft top itself isn’t the usual fabric. A new material is used here with a weave that highlights the sophisticated nature of the fabric itself.

The soft-top mechanism folds away in just 13.5 seconds and can be operated at speeds of up to 60 km/h. When stowed, it occupies a height of just 220 mm and this ensures a large enough trunk that stores up to 255 liters.

At the front, the engine has its cooling guaranteed by these perforated surfaces and in a unique design concept, it’s finished in the same color as the bodywork. The edges of the front grille flow to the full LED headlights. The rear is much more subtle than the front, and that’s down to Ferrari’s signature tail design. The long overhang is also, as trivia, characteristic of Ferraris from the 50s and 60s. Of course, modern technology means the taillight assembly has been reduced to as smallest they can go for a truly minimalist design. At each corner are 20-inch wheels with 245/45R20 tires at the front and 285/35R20 tires at the back.

Photo by Ulysses Ang

In terms of performance, the Ferrari Roma Spider is powered by a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 which is a repeat International Engine of the Year Awardee. It’s also been voted Best Engine of the Last 20 Years. Power? 620 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. Torque? 760 Nm with 80 percent of that available at just 1,900 rpm. Ferrari has tuned each model to have its own unique soundtrack, and the Roma Spider is no exception to that rule.

In addition to the flat-plane crankshaft, which synchronizes engine firing, and equal-length exhaust headers, which equalize the sound, the Spider eliminated the two rear silencers in favor of new geometry for the by-pass valves. The continuous and progressive by-pass valve control underscores the engine sound and performance depending on the driving situation.

More than just sounding great, the Roma Spider delivers instantaneous throttle response. There’s Variable Boost Management that adjusts the torque to suit the gear selected keeping fuel consumption down in the city, but performance up when the roads open.

Speaking of the gearbox, the 8-speed dual clutch here is shared with the SF90 Stradale. But being more of a tourer, the ratios are longer again to improve fuel consumption. Of course, this doesn’t compromise performance in any way. 0 to 100 km/h? 3.4 seconds. 0 to 200 km/h? 9.7 seconds. Top speed, if you dare, 320 km/h.

Inside, the Roma Spider offers two separate “spaces”—one for the driver, and another for the passenger. Again, it’s deeply rooted in Ferrari with the concept appearing as early as the 70s. This time though, the philosophy extends to the entire cabin, down to, surprise surprise, the rear seats.

The almost symmetrical layout means the front passenger will feel like a co-driver. The driver gets a digital instrument cluster, and the passenger has an optional display that allows them to share some driving info. At the center, an 8.4-inch center display for the infotainment and climate control. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard.

Ferrari has also paid careful attention to the steering wheel. Like a Formula 1 car, the controls are mostly located here. The left-hand spoke has indents corresponding to the touch controls to ensure the driver can feel which one to use. Meanwhile, the track pad on the right-hand spoke contains an indent making it easier to swipe. The Engine Start button is now also backlit in red.

Overall, he Ferrari Roma Spider is rewarding, yet easy-to-drive. It’s also dynamic and responsive making it a perfect companion on out-of-town weekends and even longer journeys. Always, of course, with the exhilarating Ferrari V8 soundtrack playing in the background. The Ferrari Roma Spider is now available for orders at Velocita Motors with a starting price in the region of P 27.5-million.

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