Ferrari Roma lives ‘la nuova dolce vita’ in Singapore
The fastest way to enjoy ‘la nuova dolce vita’, the Ferrari Roma is a beautiful marriage of comfortable elegance and supreme speed – and looks even more stunning with Singapore as her playground.
Words: Aw Yizhong. Photos: Ital Auto.
The latest Prancing Horse has left the stables and arrived on the streets of the Lion City. Luckily for me, Ital Auto, Ferrari’s dealer in Singapore, invited Yacht Style to trial the new Ferrari Roma and experience a slice of la nuova dolce vita, the new version of Italy’s grasp of the ‘good life’ or ‘sweet life’.
When one thinks of the supercars that make up the marque’s impressive catalogue, the first thing that comes to mind is of a beast possessed of great power that must be tamed before one can bring this force to bear. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
We’re not saying the Roma isn’t powerful. It is. But at first glance, the sleek lines and graceful curves of the Roma conjure feelings of lightness and speed rather than overwhelming force.
Think of the difference between a rapier and a broadsword. The former was designed to be light enough to strike quickly while the latter has more heft to it and provides more force to a blow when swung.
With its small, almost dainty proportions, the Roma is one of Ferrari’s lighter cars and this contributes to the way it accelerates and handles. But more on that later.
Apart from its sophisticated curves, the Roma also sports an eye-catching paint job. For the model we tested in Singapore, Ferrari went with a more understated colour rather than their trademark Rosso corsa.
The dark blue coat had the same effect as a classic black tuxedo, giving off an air of mystery and allure. But under brighter conditions, the reflective specks in the paint caught the light and came alive, wrapping the Roma in a starry night sky.
The interior was similarly understated yet classy. The moment you’re seated, you become more aware of the car’s SG$888,000 price tag. The seats and much of the dashboard are finished in a mix of luxurious, full-grain Frau leather and Alcantara, while streaks of chromed aluminium and carbon-fibre provide tasteful highlights.
The classic furnishings of the dual cockpit blend seamlessly with the more modern appointments such as the driver’s widescreen display for main instruments and two additional touchscreens. The radical digitalisation of the Roma is Ferrari’s most extreme to date.
Practically all the controls were either an electronic switch or a touch-sensitive surface, apart from the iconic red ‘manettino’ knob used to switch driving modes.
Along with the choice to place more of the car’s instrument controls on the steering wheel, this is all part of Ferrari’s ‘eyes on the road, hands on the wheel’ philosophy. Slightly confusing at first, but much more intuitive than other layouts once you’re used to it.
TAMING THE STALLION
As mentioned, the Roma isn’t a speed monster that you must struggle with to control. Right off the bat, it handled like a dream.
As with the other turbocharged cars in the Prancing Horse stable, its throttle response was instantaneous, necessitating a gentler touch on the accelerator pedal. The 3.9-litre V8 mid-front engine produces 620hp and combines with the car’s small size and light weight to produce startling acceleration, reaching 100kmh in 3.4secs.
All the Roma’s innovative features, like the new eight-speed gearbox, come together to create a driving experience that’s beyond pleasurable.
When put in the hands of Sean Hudspeth, a professional race driver and official Ferrari driving instructor who accompanied us, the stallion’s full potential was revealed. With the manettino set to ‘Comfort’ mode, the Singaporean showed us how Ferrari designed the Roma to be more than just a sports car.
Accelerating and braking was efficient, and oh so smooth, even making it enjoyable to cruise along Singapore’s shorter roads, where traffic lights abound. Switching to ‘Sports’ mode then kicked things up a notch and left us in no doubt that we were riding a Ferrari.
Yes, we were in good hands with a pro behind the wheel, but for someone who only popped his supercar cherry about 10 minutes earlier, speeding round the bends of Vigilante Drive was both exhilarating and slightly terrifying for me. All I could do was try not to dig my nails into the expensive leather upholstery.
On the ride back, though, we swapped places and my heart skipped a beat as I had my first hands-on experience of la nuova dolce vita.
While I’m not a professional driver like my co-pilot, the ease with which the Roma handled amazed me. Switching lanes and overtaking other vehicles was a breeze.
One thing I will point out, though, is that the hood of the Roma is a little longer than conventional cars, owing to the front-mounted V8 engine, so be wary of that stop line.
To conclude, Ferrari’s new Roma is a masterful fusion of super speed and luxurious comfort. With good looks and superior handling, this new addition to the legacy of the Prancing Horse provides a heart-racing introduction to the good life. www.ferrari.com www.singapore.ferraridealers.com
Yacht Style’s annual Multihulls Issue highlights new models from the world’s leading cruising catamaran builders and features reviews of the Aquila 70, Lagoon 55 and Bali 4.8, as well as MCY 76 Skylounge and Ferretti Yachts 500, while Gulf Craft Chairman Mohammed Alshaali, Lee Marine and Water Revolution Foundation are also in the spotlight.