Ferrari Roma Review 2022 | Top Gear
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Car Review

Ferrari Roma review

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Published: 03 Aug 2020
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It might be a more 'accessible' Ferrari, but don't be fooled - something of an assassin still lurks within

Good stuff

Looks great in the flesh, handling and ride are exemplary, performance (obviously)

Bad stuff

Interior HMI is over-cooked, too many bells and whistles inside

Overview

What is it?

This is Ferrari’s, erm, compact GT, variously described by the company’s marketing people as ‘an F1 car in evening attire’ and a 2020 reboot for that ineffably Italian idea of la dolce vita. Now, you might surmise that Ferrari has been in the gran turismo business pretty much since day one, when Enzo Ferrari cottoned on to the fact that the world’s high net worth individuals (they were plain rich back then) would pay handsomely for house-trained versions of his beloved racing cars. Ferrari’s GT cars are the foundations upon which the House of Enzo was built, but the template drifted with 1975’s mid-engined 308 GTB and no-one really fancied the louchely chiselled 365 GT4/400i.

So it is that the Roma represents a renaissance for a Ferrari that embodies understated luxury rather than shrieking its potential from terracotta-clad rooftops, that posits elegance ahead of razor-sharp handling smarts. It’s the Ferrari for people who don’t really ‘get’ the Italian powerhouse, who wouldn’t describe themselves as keen drivers, and who prefer to fly under the radar. Given the state of the world right now, a less shouty Ferrari might be just the ticket.

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Maranello expects 70 per cent of Roma customers to be new to the brand, and the siren’s call is done via a body whose design espouses the modish idea of reductionism and purity. Ferrari’s design director Flavio Manzoni is quietly, astutely revolutionary in his thinking, and for all the call-backs to Fellini movies and Sophia Loren, the Roma is a progressive looking, beautifully proportioned car. The front wings crest emotively, and the sheet metal resolves in an ever more sharky front end. The LED headlights and partly blanked off mesh grille are both controversial but vault the Ferrari ‘face’ into the 2020s. You’ll get used to it. The body sides have an aeronautical, fuselage feel, and the rear lights use new tech to minimise their size and presence. No signature round lights here. Note also the vortex generators upfront and deployable rear spoiler, which has a Low Drag, Medium Downforce and High Downforce setting but mainly stays out of the way (the Roma’s aero balance is superior to the Portofino’s). This is also a car that suits sober colours. Time was when every new Ferrari was launched exclusively in rosso corsa. This is a different Ferrari for different times.

But does it still drive like a Ferrari?

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What's the verdict?

It might be a more 'accessible' Ferrari, but don't be fooled - something of an assassin still lurks within

On its current form, it was unlikely Ferrari was going to get the Roma wrong. There’s something seductive about a small(ish) Ferrari with a V8 engine mounted in the front, as opposed to the middle – just as they were in the company’s earliest days. Dynamically, the Roma covers all the bases: as befits the GT remit, it could convey you and a lucky passenger across a continent with charismatic ease, and not disgrace itself should there be a circuit at the other end. This is a Ferrari where everything has been deliberately dialled down a bit, and made more accessible. But don’t be fooled: something of an assassin still lurks within.

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