In my years as a motor correspondent with BTM I have had the privilege and pleasure of test driving many cars. The Ferrari stable has been the provider of most of these cars, yet every time I get behind the wheel of one, the sense of thrill and anticipation is as if it’s the first time I’ve ever sat in a Ferrari. The latest drive of the Roma was no different.
The Ferrari Roma - the Maranello lot refer to it as “La Nuova Dolce Vita” or, the new sweet life.
It is sweet indeed. Similar to the Portofino in terms of an easy-to-drive everyday motor - alas not in convertible mode as yet. It is a Grand Tourer (GT) with 12 cubic feet of trunk space-there’s even a flap for skis access, or in my case the golf clubs. At the rear of the front seats there are two small seating areas for kids - if you’d permit them in a Ferrari *shudder* - or two, quite small, friends! Kids or small friends aside, you could avail of two Ferrari custom designed holdalls for that perfect road trip?
Head of Design, Flavio Manzoni, describes the Roma quite succinctly when he referred to it as “Formula 1 in evening attire”. A perfect description. It is indeed, sleek, elegant and refined-looking with 612 prancing ponies under the front hood.
The Roma’s countenance is quite in contrast to that of the 458, 488 or 812. The latter models scream their potential with their bulging muscle designs - and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Not so the Roma, it represents understated elegance. Think of it as a less, in-your-face, Ferrari! Which is not to say it doesn’t catch those admiring glances or get deference from upcoming cars - they still pull aside to let the Roma pass; it is a Ferrari after all.
The force of the Roma surges from a turbocharged 612 horsepower V8 that claims 0-100kms in 3.4 seconds. Its top speed of 318kph… let’s just say, I couldn’t quite ascertain this on the journey to Zallaq and back, you do understand! Filters meet the latest emissions criteria without affecting that omnipresent Ferrari roar. The Roma is also the first Ferrari GT to have all five drive modes-wet, comfort, sport, race and the esc-all off equals incredible and a look around under the hood reveals the truly awesome artistic engineering presence there.
The comprehensive driver infotainment system is equally impressive. Being the techno- dinosaur that I am, it took a while to figure it out, but it’s all there, ergonomically designed so as to deem it unnecessary to remove hands from the steering wheel. The passenger dashboard area also sports a separate screen.
Reference to the cockpit interior of a Ferrari is almost superfluous as the highest standards of craftmanship and handstitched materials - the Roma sported leather and velvet - are instantly evident. I must confess to not having seen velvet used in a Ferrari cockpit before – however, it is typical that interiors are custom designed for you - in line with your pocket money of course.
Safe Ramadan driving all.