2021 Ferrari Roma: Step Aside, Aston Martin!

Strong points
  • Exquisite silhouette
  • Ultra-modern cockpit
  • Amazing performance and driving dynamics
  • Remarkable build quality
Weak points
  • Rear seats are so tight they’re useless
  • Many options are necessary yet very costly
  • Delivery times are long
Full report

Ferrari openly admits that the all-new Roma takes a direct shot at the Aston Martin DB11. Both are sublime-looking grand touring coupes aimed at sophisticated individuals who want exceptional performance without compromising luxury and comfort.

Up until now, Ferrari could only attempt to please those customers with the AWD-equipped and highly expensive GTC4 Lusso, which has an unorthodox silhouette, and the Portofino retractable hardtop, which is more like the DB11 Volante.

Now, here comes the Roma, a brand new entry designed to attract a different type of buyer—folks who normally drive Aston Martin cars or others from prestigious German makes.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Exquisite Design

The lines on this Ferrari are so sleek and smooth that adding any ornament would be excessive. You wouldn’t even need the prancing horse emblems on the fenders to make your point. The Roma is exquisitely understated, with a combination of muscle and refinement that speaks for itself.  

Inside, there’s a similarly wonderful and attractive blend of cutting-edge technology and high-class materials. The cockpit draws the attention so much that the two rear seats appear like an afterthought (and they are, considering the ridiculous amount of space).

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Magnificent leathers and suedes accented by contrast topstitching surround the three digital displays providing a ton of information with amazingly clean and simple graphics. There’s the instrument panel in front of the driver where the tachometer proudly takes centre stage, the rectangular display above the glove box putting basic vehicle data and multiple settings under the eyes of the passenger, and finally the 8.4-inch vertical screen in the middle of the dashboard which reminds us of McLaren’s latest supercars but with much better definition. Uniquely arranged buttons on a metallic plate down on the centre console replace the traditional shifter, while paddles on the steering wheel maximize the pleasure of driving the Roma.

With the leather-clad key fob in your pocket, you have automatic access to the interior. Ingress is easy (unless you dare to sit in the rear, of course) and the divinely sculpted, infinitely adjustable front buckets ensure a perfect driving position. Visibility is great, too, although the small rear window can be unsettling at first. The image from the back-up camera appears on the full surface of the centre display, taking all the guesswork out of reverse manoeuvres.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Driving the Ferrari Roma is a treat for the senses even before you fire it up. The heavenly scent of leather and the remarkable tactile quality of the various materials rapidly confirm you’re sitting in one of the finest automobiles on the planet. The exotic nature of this Italian GT is further emphasized by the sound of the engine—clearly more subtle than the F8 Tributo’s but equally pleasing to the ear, from standstill to redline at 7,500 rpm.

All-weather Performance

With Mother Nature acting up during our brief time with the Ferrari Roma, we naturally used Wet mode to prevent unnecessary wheel slip on rain-soaked pavement and other stretches covered in dead leaves. Nothing like a leisurely drive around chic neighbourhoods to get properly acquainted with this car. The suspension is extremely well calibrated, masking a number of road imperfections, while superb steering makes the Roma quite effortless to drive.

Unlike many sports cars and GT coupes, Ferrari’s sexy newcomer doesn’t generate any frustration around town. And when you start to push it harder, it will happily make its voice heard and deliver big-time thrills. Exploiting all the power on tap with great precision is super-easy. That being said, there’s a Sport button on the steering wheel that transforms the Roma into a tighter, more responsive machine making the drive more demanding but also more fun and more rewarding.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes just 3.4 seconds with Launch Control activated. You’ll get to 200 km/h in 9.3 seconds before reaching a track top speed of 320 km/h. On twisty backcountry roads, we enjoyed the high structural rigidity of the Roma and the many benefits of the Side Slip Control system, which manages individual brake pressure, traction control intervention, damping calibration and differential operation to ensure outstanding balance in light drifting situations.

The car’s perfect 50-50 weight distribution further contributes to the exhilarating driving experience—one you wish would never end. The powerful brakes are just as impressive as the engine, helped by Pirelli tires that seemingly have more bite than a hungry lion, not to mention the active rear spoiler that adopts a more aggressive angle to maximize deceleration.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Final Verdict

The 612-horsepower Ferrari Roma is a resounding tribute to the brand’s famed GT cars of the past—and a future legend on its own.

Right now, more than 80 percent of the units that were made available to Canada for 2021 are spoken for. Just for fun, we configured our dream model online and the price rose to nearly $315,000 before taxes. Yep, you can also add “exclusive” and “expensive” to the Roma’s long list of attributes.

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