Ferrari does not hide it. With Roma, we are directly targeting the buyer of an Aston Martin DB11. Another of these grand touring coupes with spooky lines, aimed at a select clientele wishing to enjoy exceptional performance, without neglecting luxury and comfort.
Until now, Ferrari has only played in this niche to a certain extent. With a very expensive GTC4 Lusso with all-wheel drive, displaying more specific lines and which cannot therefore be unanimous. Also, with a retractable hardtop Portofino which, in relative terms, can be compared to the convertible version of the DB11.
Remember that for the first time in its history, Ferrari passed the milestone of 10,000 units sold worldwide last year. A feat, considering the offer of a range that is certainly extensive, but which is always aimed at a clientele of purists. In other words, no SUV on the menu, which of course is about to change. In the meantime, Roma will have the mandate to make new conquests for the Italian brand. Again, people from Aston Martin, but also from the most prestigious German labels.
Place your pawns
Interestingly, the Montreal Ferrari dealership is owned by Lawrence Stroll, father of the now famous Lance, and major shareholder of the Aston Martin company. We could therefore deduce that by marketing Roma, Mr. Stroll is competing himself. A happy problem, considering that Aston Martin is in the process of restructuring. It must be said that among the most serious irritants of the British manufacturer is the very strong depreciation of cars, the consequence of overproduction and a considerable inventory at dealerships. And although the purchase of this type of car is primarily emotional, Ferrari intends to take advantage of the weakness of its rival to highlight its Roma. A car for which the buyer will have to wait between eight and twelve months, not risking seeing its value drop drastically as soon as it leaves the dealership.
Soak your toes
The chance to get behind the wheel of Roma came through Ferrari Quebec, which hosted the car for only a few days, with a view to having it drive to those who had ordered it. Then, too, to a lucky few! Certainly, a short, but memorable foray into a world where seduction takes precedence over everything, which begins with the great beauty of these lines.
In fact, the dress of this Ferrari is so fluid that the slightest artifice being added to it would weigh it down. For example, one of the few cars that left the Maranello factory that could be ordered without considering the option of the prancing horse emblems housed on each side of the fenders. Because this Roma does not focus on the flashy appearance, but above all on the grace and elegance of its forms, which combine both muscle and refinement.
On board, a happy mix of cutting-edge technology and high-fashion materials catches the eye, which will only belatedly realize the presence of two rear seats, almost unusable.
Magnificent leathers and suede dotted with topstitching therefore surround these three digital screens which brilliantly retransmit a wealth of information with surprising graphic simplicity. First, the central instrumentation in the middle of which is perched the tachometer, around which it is possible to obtain information on the map. For the passenger, a rectangular screen housed above the glove box, transmitting basic driving information, but also giving access to many settings, which is not necessarily the case with that of the F8 Tributo. Then, in the center, an 8.4-inch vertical screen which is reminiscent of that of the most recent McLarens, however displaying a much higher graphic quality. Also, a small selector on metal pad as a gear lever, although the real pleasure will take place in the handling of the bearings housed behind the steering wheel.
As a key, a small block in Zippo lighter format, dressed in leather harmonized with the passenger compartment and adorned with the essential prancing horse.
You just need to have it on you for access to the car, which unlocks automatically. Easy to access, except of course if you dare to venture behind, the interior offers perfectly curved and infinitely adjustable seats. An optimal driving position therefore awaits the driver, who will be amazed by the excellent visibility. Admittedly, the narrowness of the rear window surprises initially, but does not disturb in any way in a daily driving. Especially since the reversing camera uses the full instrumentation screen, leaving no room for error.
Obviously, the sensory experience begins even before the engine is started, the smell of leathers and the palpable quality of the materials confirming that you are at the wheel of a sacred automobile. In any case, the Roma reminds you of its identity with its multiple emblems housed on the dashboard. Then, when the engine is started, the expression “exotic car” takes on its full meaning. A sound certainly more subdued than with the F8 Tributo, but just as enjoyable for the ear. And above all, without sound artifice aimed at disguising reality. Here, the vocals of the V8 are authentic, up to the red zone limited to 7,500 rpm.
Thank you… Mother Nature?
The weather having played tricks on me during the test, it was advisable to start the road in mode Wet. A function to prevent unnecessary wheel spin on wet pavement, useful when oaks and maples choose in the fall to abandon their foliage on the asphalt. Driving quietly in the rich neighborhoods, just to keep me going, was going to facilitate my familiarization with the car which, all in all, is driven with great ease. We can also see that its suspension elements are extremely well calibrated, forgiving certain imperfections without the occupants having to pay the price.
Once you have taken the branch to the motorway, Roma expresses herself more freely. That said, and unlike many sports or GT cars, it’s not at all frustrating to drive in an urban environment. On the contrary, it arguably excels at it better than most of its rivals. Now, pushing the machine remains an almost indescribable pleasure, especially since it is easy to perfectly measure the power to operate it with great precision. Activating Sport mode via this switch attached to the lower right of the steering wheel, however, transforms its personality, to demand a little more from the driver. Less restrictive sound, tighter suspension and supercharged mechanical parameters, indeed require more control, not without a serious dose of pleasure.
Roma accelerate dramatically. When the cannon starter mode is activated, the 0-100 km / h is completed in 3.4 seconds, and it takes 9.3 seconds for the 0-200 km / h. Top speed? 320 km / h, which obviously was not achieved during this trip on Highway 15! A few small backcountry roads have, however, made it possible to discover its structural solidity and the benefits of the SSC (Side Slip Control) system which together manages the brake pressure on each wheel, traction control, adjustable damping and the actions of the differential, to obtain an exceptional balance in a situation of slight skidding.
Then, because the weight distribution is 50/50, the optimization of sensations such as the perfect control of the beast reinforces this incomparable pleasure which explains why we would never wish to park. However, know that braking impresses as much as acceleration, of course because of the power of the brakes, but also because the big names Pirelli cling to the ground with the bite of a hungry lioness. In addition, you will notice, in strong deceleration, that the active spoiler housed at the bottom of the rear window, tilts at this moment in its most aggressive angle, always with a view to an ultra fast immobilization.
With its 612 horsepower and giving the impression of being built from a single piece, the Roma is incidentally a vibrant tribute to the many GTs of the past, designed by Ferrari. A remarkable honor considering that Roma themselves could be honored in the future, hoping the genre never disappears from the lineup again.
In closing, note that at present, already more than 80% of Canadian allocations for 2021 have found a taker. It must be said that only 15 units of this superb automobile will touch Quebec soil over the next year, which makes it as exclusive as it is desirable. For the sole pleasure of doing so, I took care to build my own dream Roma online… whose bill was close to $ 315,000 before taxes. Alas, it will be for another time …
See also: a Quebecer presents his amazing Ferrari collection