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Ferrari Roma Spider Drive Review : Rom’ with a View

David Khoo
David Khoo • 6 min read
Ferrari Roma Spider Drive Review : Rom’ with a View
Ferrari Roma Spider / PHOTO: David Khoo
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Top-down motoring with the Ferrari Roma Spider in the sunshine after the rain is a great way of experiencing the good life.

Maranello, Italy - Of course it’s raining… and on any other given day, we wouldn’t even bother mentioning this.

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However, our steed on this particular day in which to run the long and winding gauntlet from the Ferrari factory in Maranello towards Polinago (via Ponte Samone) – and back again – is the Roma Spider, Ferrari’s elegant soft-top derivative of the classically-proportioned Roma Coupe.

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Even under the morning deluge, the sodden Roma Spider sits pretty and is positively glowing in an ethereal Celeste Trevi colour – a silver lining on a gloomy day.

On that note, the wet weather also meant we could experience the Roma Spider with its five-layered soft-top up to find out if any extraneous sounds from the road would encroach into the cabin.

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We’re huge fans of the Roma Coupe and make no excuses for our enthusiasm. Don’t knock the Roma as a ‘soft’ Ferrari, especially if you’ve never driven one in anger… or at all.

Sure, the mid-engined V8 and monster V12 models attract the most hype, but the Roma is the Ferrari you buy when you already have the best of the rest… and have nothing more to prove to anyone else in the process.

In keeping with the brand’s “Different Ferraris for different moments” mantra, the Roma is a proper front-engined driver’s sportscar bundled into a fluidly elegant form, with a long bonnet and pert wraparound derrière characteristic of classic coupes.

Compared to the recently discontinued Portofino M (an edgy, aggressively-styled retractable hard-top convertible with similar performance statistics to the Roma Spider), the Roma reinterprets the La Dolce Vita vibes of Italy in the 1950s and 1960s.

With the return of the soft-top and such classically elegant proportions, the Roma Spider’s silhouette is softer and more refined, as well as effortlessly chic and timeless in nature.

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Best of all, it comes with a deliciously wicked Mr. Hyde personality to go with its urbane Dr. Jekyll demeanour – all the better to catch those who underestimate it off-guard.

With the Spider’s retractable roof thrown into the volatile mix with the award-winning V8’s 620hp and 760Nm, you can fully enjoy wind-in-hair motoring, as well as the throaty soundtrack as you’re pressing onwards and upwards along the winding mountain roads.

The Roma’s cabin is a harmonious mix of digital and analogue, as is the norm for modern sportscars. It gets haptic controls and digitalised cabin elements from its SF90 big brother, as well as the full-fat five-stage Manettino, which includes Race and ESC Off.

Like the Coupe, the Spider’s Race mode incorporates Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (or FDE), which lends more progressive reactions to the car’s cornering behaviour when you’re flirting with the limits of adhesion.

There are elements that add to the nostalgic feels too, such as the mode-selector for the F1 dual-clutch gearbox, which is designed to resemble the open-gate shifters of classic Ferraris.

The Spider has rear seats, but it is touted as a 2+ (instead of  2+2), even if it can accommodate four short’uns in a pinch. If you’re 5 '7'' or taller, it’s more meaningful to stow barang-barang in the rear seats, especially since you can’t plan for when you’ll deploy the integrated wind deflector.

Besides, there’s no reason to cramp everybody’s style (literally) by packing four into the Roma Spider. If you really need the passenger space, take the GTC4Lusso or Purosangue out instead… remember: “Different Ferraris for different moments”!

The Roma is the ‘casual’ Ferrari, or at least as casual as any million-over-dollar sportscar has a right to be, but still manages to stealthily fly below the car-spotter radar.

Don’t forget, it doesn’t wear the belligerent bodywork of its fearsome big brothers, nor is it engineered to outshine its harder-edged brethren in the performance stakes.

However, the Roma Spider’s tempestuous performance is far more shouty than its looks suggest. It’s a thoroughbred Ferrari through and through with enough firepower to punch above its weight, as it rages, rattles and rolls with the best of them.

The weather clears – but remains cool – as we head into the hills, and we finally put the top down (it drops in 13.5secs and works with the car travelling at speeds of up to 60km/h). The engine, which proved so tractable in start-stop city traffic, can finally stretch itself to redline as it voraciously fills its lungs with cool air.

The ferocity of the acceleration and its accompanying wall of sound as you plant pedal to metal takes your breath away.

On anything outside of a race-track or derestricted Autobahn, you’ll run out of road long before the Roma stops pulling through the gears.

There’s certainly no finer seat in the house that places you in the thick of action and with a view to kill for than at the reins of this charging stallion.

The controls are precisely weighted for the driver to exact accurate control over steering, acceleration and brakes. This results in a flowing and far more rewarding drive on the winding roads as you work in tandem with the car, as opposed to manhandling it into submission.

Even as you catch a wet patch remnant from the rain mid corner, the Roma’s responses are benign and don’t bite back, that is unless you’re exceedingly ham-fisted with the controls.

Roof-up or down, the Roma Spider is a fabulous touring companion for a weekend out in the country for two, as it is not just capable of covering ground at a staggering pace when needed, it will also get jiggy with the winding roads for your driving jollies without getting all bent out of shape.

Best of all, the view is to die for!

PHOTOS BY Ferrari / David Khoo

FERRARI ROMA SPIDER
Engine 3855cc, V8, turbocharged
Power 620hp at 5750-7500rpm
Torque 760Nm at 3000-5750rpm
0-100km/h 3.4secs
Top Speed >320km/h
Transmission 8spd F1 dual-clutch

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