SHEER PACE, UNFLAPPABLE POISE
Motor Trend|January 2021
A SHIMMERING RETURN OF THE CLASSIC ITALIAN GT, WITH A MODERN EDGE
ANGUS MACKENZIE

The 2021 Ferrari Roma is an emphatic celebration of the Italian gran Turismo, a genre that in the 1950s and ’60s resulted in some of the most beautiful and desirable cars ever built in Maranello. But the Roma is not a carefully crafted homage to the past, a contrived pastiche of retro whimsy wrapped around 21st-century hardware. No, this Ferrari GT is in every way a thoroughly modern interpretation of a classic automotive concept, cleverly engineered and superbly executed.

First things first: The Roma is not a replacement for the Portofino, Ferrari’s other V-8-powered front-engine GT. It is an addition to the lineup, and with a price tag of $222,620, it’s by a fraction the least expensive new Ferrari you can buy. In the rarefied world of Ferrari-nomics, it’s a stone-cold bargain.

The Roma is an amalgam of existing Ferrari hardware and software, refined, repurposed, and renewed. The Roma’s platform is based on that of the Portofino, but it’s 70 percent new. Variants of the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 under the Roma’s hood can be found in five other Ferrari models. The Roma’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is fundamentally the same as the one that made its debut in the SF90. It is the first Ferrari GT car to get Side Slip Control 6.0, which was unveiled on the race-face 488 Pista n 2018, and the first whose manettino dial allows you to select Race mode.

Inside, the Roma shares the Human Machine Interface concept first seen in the SF90, with a curved 16-inch high-def instrument panel screen and steering wheel with capacitive touch control switches in the horizontal spokes. Additional touch control switches for lights and exterior mirror adjustment are located in a pod to the right of the steering wheel, and like the SF90, the transmission is controlled by switches arranged in a housing on the center console that recalls the iconic Ferrari metal shiftgate.

Unlike the SF90, however, the Roma offers an 8.4-inch portrait-format touchscreen mounted high between the central flying buttresses, which extend from the floor to the dash. And, as in cars like the GTC4Lusso, an 8.8-inch screen located on the passenger side of the dash is available as an option.

Photographs don’t do the Ferrari Roma justice. In the metal, Ferrari’s new GT— designed in-house under the direction of Flavio Manzoni—looks wider and lower and much more dramatic, the traditional cab-rearward proportions and sensual surfaces of the upper body playing off edgily modern front and rear graphics. Slim headlights and a substantial splitter give the Roma’s snout a sharklike menace. What you can’t see are the race car–style vortex generators on the underfloor at the front of the car that help the Roma generate more downforce on the front axle than the Portofino.

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