Wednesday, December 06
11:50 AM

2020 Ferrari Roma test drive: The drama for a Roma

3 Jan 2021

The Roma is something special from Maranello – not your normal Ferrari if there ever was one! The Roma is unique for its ability to strike a sense of déjà vu with its classic lines while simultaneously revealing design elements of a modern coupe-like GT car for the new age. 

Slim LED lights in the anterior façade of an elongated bonnet that houses a re-engineered V8, a torpedo like side profile and a rear end like no other Ferrari – with an integrated boot spoiler that also lodges the brake cluster – amplify the proportions of the GT. 

Front splitters that enhance the angle of the bonnet, side skirts highlighting the love handles, slightly protruding rear diffusers for maximum aero efficiency, and unmissable exhaust tips all add to the drama of the Roma. 

In this particular test drive vehicle, the pristine white surface complemented the sublime body sculpture, with hints of the menace lurking beneath.

As you open the frameless door, you’ll be instantly impressed by what awaits you inside. The lavish layout is modern and made with the best materials available from Ferrari. The seats are comfortable; easily adjustable to offer the perfect driving position with clear visibility. And while the Roma is a 2+2 car, anyone standing taller than 4ft will struggle to be in the rear seat for long without complaining. 

The infotainment system is new with user-friendly, touch sensitive buttons. Admittedly, we did not test the sound system but that’s because of the almost soothing sound of the exhaust. That was music to our ears. 

The 16-inch instrument screen is clear and informative with all the right details at hand offering numerous display options to choose from. Controlling it through a haptic touchpad was new to us. It needed a bit of getting used to but is easily manageable. So too is the steering wheel which has no rocker switches but a little knob for the wipers. The gearbox paddles are very prominent and within touching distance of your fingers for ultra quick manipulation of the gears.

The award winning 3.9ltr twin turbo V8 has been re-engineered and tweaked for the Roma, offering all-round performance gains. Torque spread throughout the power band makes for a joyous driver experience as it allows the Roma to drive effortlessly with gentle inputs to the throttle.

Ferrari removed the conventional silencer from the exhaust and added gas particulate filters, while adopting a new bypass system that helps regulate and control overall noise levels to give a very satisfying soundtrack.

The beauty of this engine is its mating with a special eight-speed dual clutch transaxle gearbox derived from the renowned hybrid SF90. A broad spread of ratios for the Roma and even broader spread of torque enhance the GT characters of this Ferrari.

Being a grand tourer, one expects a level of usability and everyday functionality from the Roma. It lived up to those expectations allowing us to be at ease with the car’s character almost immediately. It took mere minutes to get used to the car’s dimensions. 

For the most of our limited test drive, we chose Comfort mode and the car offered just that – a comfortable experience. All road imperfections were cushioned; uneven roads are handled with little or no fuss. 

Steering the Roma is made fun by accurate and precise angling. Long hauls couldn’t possibly pose any issue – the Roma takes all driving conditions into its stride. 

The Sport mode intensifies the steering’s tightness and increases the engine’s ability to stay in the right gear for longer periods. It’s in this mode that the car is in its element – eager to show off its power and grip. 

The Roma’s brakes produce more than enough stopping power on demand. We figured the perfect bite to bring the car to a grinding halt in any circumstances. We punished the Roma on a secluded road, but it was only too eager to accelerate and brake without breaking into a sweat. 

Going around corners even at high speed feels like a dream as the Roma never seems out of grip. This Ferrari has all the characteristics of a GT, and more. It even has a big boot – for luggage and some shopping, too. It’s a very useable everyday GT with all the ingredients to woo new and current Ferrari owners alike.

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