My Car Quest

January 27, 2021

At Last The Ferrari Roma In Person

We previously posted a Ferrari Roma design critique by Wallace Wyss in November 2019 at this link. But Wyss now reports he got to see one in person at a recent Cars & Coffee in Malibu, an event he attends weekly in his search for customers who appreciate fine art featuring classic cars.

Mike Gulett, Editor

Text and photos by Wallace Wyss –

In person, the car his stance and presence. “Stance” I define as how it stands on the ground. Is it ready to take on all comers? I can say on seeing it in person it is one of the most feminine Ferraris currently offered, all curves. Missing are the side vents and scoops and other boy racer gimmicks. Not even a tail wing when you see many Japanese boy racers running round with spoilers more suitable for Le Mans.

I said in the first story that, from pictures, it seemed like a Jaguar and yes, in person, it does seem like some future F-type Jaguar. But I believe it’s aiming at a much higher price tag so I am not sure of their philosophy. Maybe it was to put the hurt on Jaguar, but why bother with a lower priced rival?

Ferrari Roma

The Ferrari Roma will be in U.S. showrooms in first quarter of 2021 and will be priced from $222,630 up to $300K plus fully optioned.

Or it could have been to start a counter trend at Ferrari Design–some may have felt each model was becoming too gimmicky, as if they are rummaging through picture books of old models and selecting design cues to anoint new models–hood air intakes like a 250GTO, rear fender vents like a 500SF. But this model puts a stop to that. It has no design cues from any Ferrari that I can find. If you put an Aston Martin or Jaguar nameplate on it, onlookers would accept it as one of those marques. Let’s get specific, shall we?

First a word about the mechanicals: the engine is a twin-turbocharged V-8 (3.9 liters) rated at 620 horsepower and said to be capable of powering the Roma from zero to sixty miles-per-hour in about 3.3 seconds. The engine is coupled with the new 8-speed DCT gearbox that was introduced on the SF90 Stradale.

SIDE Again smooth curves from front to back. Also similar to the rare Toyota 2000GT of the Sixties. Roofline similar to many cars including Jaguar. Above the rear fender in side view it starts to look like a Porsche 911.

Ferrari Roma

The Roma is a 2 plus 2. One TV commentator said “you can put friends back there but, after a ride, they won’t be friends any more.”

REAR Very Jaguarish, especially rear back light shape. These taillights are certainly controversial, as much as the Enzo “peekaboo” taillights but these even look like a GM car (Chevrolet?). Would have preferred round tail lamps. Round exhausts look like out of the 1950s perhaps rectangular bezels embedded into the deign would be more in keeping with this modern design. Nothing about the rear “says” Ferrari except the chrome lettering.

Ferrari Roma

Ferrari Roma

2016 to 2021 Camaro like tallights

FRONT In person the frameless egg crate grille seems inappropriate for a luxury sport car. I know it’s an attempt to get away from having a separate grille but it’s too architectural like something you would see on a Saarinen building. Better than no grille at all (like the Tesla Model S) but less interesting than the Lexus LC500 whose grille is like glittering diamonds. The bifurcated headlamps could be from any Japanese sporty car. The idea of a horizontal light running through the middle of the headlights is already something Volvo is using for their i.d. One retro touch is a ’60s XKE style bonnet blister.
Ferrari Roma

INTERIOR Like the 2020 Corvette, no longer a round steering wheel. Dash seems busy on passenger side too. Predominant gauge seems to be tachometer. Screen display very “busy” on console–wonder if it’s right up with current Japanese cars or out-of-date before it even hits the showrooms? The materials inside are top notch– stitched and bolstered leathers, polished metals and carbon fiber.

Ferrari Roma

The interior has a brand new Human Machine Interface. The driver’s LCD screen can be adjusted by touch sensors on the steering wheel, there’s a shared touch-screen in the center console, and a third touch-screen in front of the passenger. The idea is the driver can drive hands on the steering wheel and the eyes on the road while the passenger has enough information to be kind of a co-pilot.

THE NAME In their press release they refer to an earlier time in the ’50s and ’60s but most people with even a smattering of exposure to Italian pop culture will remember Fellini’s Roma, a 1972 semi-autobiographical comedy-drama film depicting director Federico Fellini’s move from his native Rimini to Rome as a youth. Says Wikipedia: “It is a homage to the city, shown in a series of loosely connected episodes set during both Rome’s past and present. The plot is minimal, and the only “character” to develop significantly is Rome herself.”

I would say their intention is to emphasize the Italian-ness of it all, your life becomes more integrated with the Italian life style if you buy a Roma.

Ferrari Roma

It’s likely the Roma is the last new Ferrari to be solely powered by an internal combustion engine.

IN SUM Ferrari needed to go in this direction because too many recent models are chock-a-block with vents, scoops, spoilers and stuff that screams you can’t wait to run ‘er up to 200 mph. Not the Ferrari Roma. This is a sophisticated person’s car (think white tie events) car. I remember when I was in advertising one copywriter drove a Jaguar E-type and was thought of as brave but not someone you would want to chart your course and I think the mid-engine Ferraris convey that (“that person to too wild to head up the Whatsis account”).

The fact that Ferrari chose to fit the Roma with a V8 means they also realize the mid-engined V8 variants were not judged suitable for business use, too boy racer, so this one is one so subtle, so businesslike, you could take it to a board meeting in New York City like an Aston Martin and some Porsches…the guy driving it won’t run off with your secretary…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Fine artist Wallace Wyss says he has started an oil on canvas portrait of a silver Roma in a Malibu setting. For information on pricing and availability, write malibucarart@gmail.com.
 

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At Last The Ferrari Roma In Person
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At Last The Ferrari Roma In Person
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The Ferrari Roma is a sophisticated person's car, think white tie events.
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Comments

  1. Wes Stewart says

    You have me confused, Wallace. In your review from last year you say, “I like the frameless egg crate grille,” Now you say, “In person the frameless egg crate grille seems inappropriate for a luxury sport car.” Maybe this is just the difference between a photo and in-person review.

    I’m just looking at pictures in both cases and from them, I think the grill is awful. Maybe a live view would change my mind. At least it has a V8 behind it.

    Like your reviews.

  2. Wallace Wyss says

    OK I can see I got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do (as they used to say on I Love Lucy) In the original article, from photos it didn’t look too bad. But in person the grille resembles part of a architectural detail, like the iron grate that covers sewers on a New York sidewalk. Nothing to do with a car. Too industrial for my taste. Compare a beautiful woman pre-make up and post make up, the whole idea of chrome is to highlight what’s there, but in a way it’s saying “this grille doesn’t deserve chrome” (this girl is too ugly for make-up?) I didn’t comment on it but the nameplate Ferrari on the back is attached through the glass, that seems overly delicate to me, makes me worry when a thief pries it off, maybe he cracks a $1000 back window?

    I’ll throw in a sewer grate picture here, a drain $148 from JR Smith

    But I’ll still paint a painting of the Roma with a more serene setting….

  3. Glenn Krasner says

    Looks like an Aston Martin to me!!! Glenn in Brookyn, NY.

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