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Is the Ferrari Roma Worthy of Its Name?
Fiat-Chrysler's decision to spin off its most prestigious brand will have implications for decades to come, the first being the end of entry-level Ferraris. So how does this new coupe compare with its predecessors?

Is the Ferrari Roma Worthy of Its Name?

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If you haven’t experienced Ferrari-Maserati of Orlando, it is a theme park for people like us. Onofrio Triarsi and his family dominate the Italian marketplace throughout the Southeast, and it allowed them to bring a Roma of every color to The Amelia 2022. Their chief transporter Melvin and I have worked together for almost 15 years, so this was a prime opportunity to experience this new offering before the test drives began.

In order to preface this experience, the Roma is now the “entry level” coupe from Maranello. Alongside the Portofino M, it replaces the California that had been in production since 2007. The Cali shared a basic structure with the Maserati GranTurismo of the same era, which is truly obsolete by all measures after 15 years. These cars were the end of an era, the last to be styled by Pininfarina with bodies built by Scaglietti. Thanks to high strength aluminum castings, the body of the Roma is 200 kg (441 lb) lighter than the Portofino M, upon which it is based, making for an enjoyable experience.

Given a blank check by the late Sergio Marchionne, engineers were happy to not worry about real rear seats. The Roma is a true 2+2 with much more comfort and competence than its predecessors. Their new styling language is known as “La Nuova Dolce Vita,” a popular post-modern ethos that was popular in Rome during the '60s. Inspired by the 250 GTO, it is arguably the best looking Ferrari since Pininfarina’s final masterpiece, the F12 Berlinetta.

Although it would be nice to have a naturally aspirated base model, their twin turbo 3.9 offers 612 horsepower and 456 kW (561 lb-ft). While those are impressive numbers, there are a few seconds of lag between the gas pedal and the rear tires. Some things never change. The impressive antics involve the Magna (Getrag) 8-speed dual clutch. Shared with the SF90, It anticipates your mood to provide the best gear for any situation.

After a few laps of my island, the Roma’s crisp turn-in and competent chassis made me forget about how shaky the Portofino can be over broken pavement. All five of their test drive cars were equipped with the optional MagneRide, which makes us curious as to why this car has options. Magnetic Ride Control has been standard equipment for Cadillac since 2002, so why would Ferrari make customers pay more for it? It comes down to price.

A base model 2021 Roma stickers for $218,670 without any options. Although it is a bargain for what you get, offering several flavors of the same model is more expensive in the modern era. We’re thankful for the amazing standard equipment, namely the touchscreen. Their “Human Machine Interface” works with the manettino to offer a truly customizable experience, and it has been needed for two decades.

It does everything you would expect from a Ferrari, but it needs a few finishing touches in order to represent the ancient city. The audio system seems to be pulled from the Fiat-Chrysler parts bin. Cockpit insulation is decent, but it sounds like active noise cancellation is working even with the radio off. Because many parts are finished by hand, it will never have the fit & finish offered by the Japanese or German luxury brands.

For the aspiring hypercar owner, the Roma is a necessary steppingstone up the ladder of Ferrari’s customer list, so I would definitely drive the wheels off of it as a perfect daily driver. It does everything you could ask for without the stigma often associated with mid-engine supercars. A big thanks to Ferrari-Maserati of Central Florida for this opportunity, so stay with us for a tour of their new campus in Orlando!



 
 
 
 
 

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