Hagerty Video: FIRST DRIVE! New Ferrari Roma Spider Review | Henry Catchpole – The Driver’s Seat

Reading Time: 8 minutes
Posted: 2023-09-26 23:01:00
Author: Hagerty
Why is the new Ferrari Roma Spider the biggest challenge for the famous Italian supercar manufacturer? Because this is meant to represent the spirit of La Dolce Vita. And capturing the spirit of a 1960s film in a car is hard. You can’t just add more power or more grip. You need to tap into people’s emotions. You need to bottle lightning or at least trap it in the glovebox.

Of course Ferrari has done it in the past with cars like the 250 California and Daytona Spider. But somehow it seems increasingly difficult with modern cars. Nonetheless, a return to a fabric roof rather than the hard top of the Portofino is a good start because it instantly seems more glamorous. It will also furl and unfurl in just 13.5 seconds and at speeds of up to 37mph.

That’s not to say that the Spider is all style and no speed, because with a 3.9-litre, twin-turbo V8, putting out 611bhp through a twin-clutch gearbox, it is capable of 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds. The steering has the familiar Ferrari sharpness to it and the chassis, despite a 30 per cent reduction stiffness compared to the coupe, remains very capable when you’re on a good piece of road. And we certainly found a good piece of road on Sardinia; quiet and sinuous, with a feeling of being up in the mountains yet within sight of the sea, it was pretty magical.

We hope you enjoy this Ferrari Roma Spider review. If you’d like to support the channel, then do please think about becoming a member of the Hagerty Drivers Club (https://bit.ly/Join-HDC-Henry), which has numerous benefits including 24/7 flatbed roadside assistance and a subscription to the award-winning Hagerty magazine. If you’re not able to purchase a membership, then a simple thumbs up, share or free subscription to the YouTube channel would be great. If you do the latter then you won’t miss any of the episodes from the likes of Henry Catchpole, Jason Cammisa and Larry Chen.

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Hagerty Video Transcript

– The Roma is the baby Ferrari, but particularly in this new Spider version, I think it has perhaps the trickiest task of any car in the current Ferrari range. You see, they set out for this to be, well, the truly glamorous one. The one without so much of a focus on performance.

And whilst it’s easy in some ways to have a clear goal of being the fastest around a lap, how on Earth do you conjure up the essence, the feeling of “La Dolce Vita?” Because the sweet, carefree glamour of Marcello and Sylvia in that famous ’60s film, is exactly what this is intended to capture in automotive form. You can help support these videos by joining the Hagerty Drivers Club. It includes a subscription to our award-winning magazine, unlimited access to our valuation tool, 24/7 flatbed roadside assistance, free classified listings, exclusive coupons and offers, and early access and VIP perks to select Hagerty events. More info in the link below.

Right, that took about 20 seconds, which is six and a half seconds longer than it takes for the Roma Spider’s elegant new roof to furl or unfurl at speeds of up to 37 miles an hour. It’s gonna be staying resolutely down today then. What an amazing road. (laughing) It’s just fabulous. So much of this island seems to be frantically busy, but we’ve got a little slice of it up in the mountains all to ourselves. Up through these shallow turns just picking out the apexes. If you go all the way up to the end of the manettino, then it is surprisingly, (laughing) fun to slide around. Sardinia is obviously a perfect setting for the Roma Spider. With its rugged but beautiful coastline and plenty of ancient ruins, it’s just the sort of place a Roman would want to explore with a beach towel on a summer holiday. And for all that you can waft around with the warm Sardinian breeze ruffling your hair, when you do want to go for it, this still has 611 brake horsepower and 560 pounds foot of torque to play with. (laughing) Which is more than enough. It is a truly rabid engine, this. The response is fantastic, so angry. Quite capable of just soothing along when you want, but as soon as you put it into sport or race, activate these big paddles here, It shows a really aggressive side still, this. I’m not sure if there are any fight scenes in the famous “La Dolce Vita” film, but this feels up for one. (laughing) The 3.9 liter twin turbo V8 will propel the Spider to 62 miles an hour in just 3.4 seconds according to Ferrari and carry on to over 199 miles an hour. The fact that it is a flat-plane crank engine means it perhaps lacks a little musicality, but the clever way in which Ferrari does

Without the rear silencers means it’s definitely an engaging and authoritative soundtrack. Ferrari’s chief test driver, Raffaele de Simone, was describing how they’ve worked hard on the sound of this, actually, just to make sure that the sound is still there, both in the sort of the higher gear, so up in sort of sixth, seventh gear, but also that it doesn’t get

Just sort of taken away in the slipstream. It certainly sounds pretty good. It’s not the sort of screaming of a naturally aspirated engine, obviously. But there’s more than enough here to keep you interested when you’re driving quickly. It’s not just a sort of genteel apologetic soundtrack. Flavio Manzoni and his team have done, to my eyes, a cracking job with the Spider. It costs about 15% more than the Coupe or 210,000 pounds in the UK. With the roof up, it really does retain the lines of its fixed roof sibling. And being fabric, there is a less aggressive aesthetic

Than the folding hard tops that have been prevalent ever since the F430 Spider, “a Panama hat instead of a helmet,” to paraphrase one of the designers. But, things have come a long way in the last 20 years and when it’s up this five layer fabric item really feels every bit as cozy

And sturdy as a folding hard top. The color of this particular car, by the way, is Celeste Trevi, a new hue that’s a reference to the famous fountain scene in Federico Fellini’s film. Now, because this is not an overtly performance orientated Ferrari, you might think that talking about aerodynamics was, well, a little bit pointless, but what I want to talk about, when you press this little button here, that is the rear wind deflector. And I think it’s really quite clever. Believe it or not, this little piece here has been the subject of many computational hours and even sessions in a wind tunnel because, well, it’s trying to stop the airflow from coming into here, swirling around and then going back straight onto the driver or passenger, incorporating buffeting as we know it.

And, well, yeah, it’s a little bit more technical perhaps than it must first look with this shape here and then this transverse slot as they say down here, which helps push the air down into the rear seats like that. Which, yeah, I just like the fact

That even the Roma Spider and something like this has been subject to wind tunnel hours. And I think it’s successful because there’s nothing worse than having a wind deflector that’s a piece of mesh that just sort of sits up here. Or even worse, the ones on the header rail there,

That stop the turbulence over it. Just horrible. Why on Earth would you do that to an otherwise beautiful car? The rest of the interior is, to my eyes, slightly less successful than the exterior, simply because it’s rather busy technical aesthetic seems to reflect the sportier character

Of something like the SF90 or the 296, rather than the more elegant suave personality the Roma is going for. I suppose I’d like more of the brushed metal gear selector that mimics an old fashioned open gate and less of the haptics, which despite their new indents, still feel rather fiddly and fussy.

Now, just to be comprehensive, I did try the rear seats and I can confirm that they are not intended for a six foot five human. So how has knocking the roof off this Roma affected it? Well, understandably, torsional stiffness is down because a lot of the stiffness goes through those roof beams. Ferrari reckons that static, actually you lose about 30% of the torsional stiffness with the Spider, but they claim that from the driver’s seat, through your hands and feet and backside, you won’t really notice a difference. Some of that obviously comes down to the fact that they’ve strengthened the chassis,

So particularly at the back with a sort of a new play there and then down in the sills as well. That’s slightly upset the weight distribution. So it’s 50/50 in the Coupe, it’s now 48/52. This is also 84 kilos heavier. Dry weight still comes in at around 1,550 kilos, but that’s dry.

So you’re looking at just over 1,600 kilos, probably as a curb weight. Do you feel it in the car? Yes. I’d be lying if I said you couldn’t feel it because there is, over bumps, a bit of shake now and again. Is it detrimental to the driving experience? Not really, no.

Ferrari has always, I think, struggled just a bit to disguise the fact that it’s taken the roof off something in terms of that sort of, I suppose traditionally it’s scuttle shake, isn’t it? You can occasionally see the door mirrors wobbling a bit. But there is no lack of precision

In the way this goes around corners. Strangely enough, I think you can feel the slight lack of torsional rigidity, the tremors, a little more when you’ve got the roof up and also when you’re not going quite so quickly. It was the same in the F8 Spider. Pick up the pace, however, put some real load through the chassis, and curiously the whole car seems to tauten and come together. It’s like a non-Newtonian fluid. And when you push the pace, it is a beautifully balanced car. Albeit you need to really use the full range

Of the little manettino to fully exploit it. We’ve got five settings on the manettino. So we’ve got Wet, Comfort, both fairly self-explanatory, then Sport, Race and then ESC Off. And actually it might be one of those things you think, well, Race is never gonna get used ’cause you wouldn’t take this to a race track.

But on this bit of road, Race is perfectly usable and just heightens the agility and sense of urgency nicely. The Roma to me has always been, in some ways it feels initially like a bit of a mismatch because you have this distinctive Ferrari sharp steering, sharper in fact than the Portofino M, but then with a little bit more suspension travel than you’re used to,

Certainly from things like an FH or a 296 GTB. So it can take you just a little bit longer to dial into it. And it’s a car you almost find yourself driving sort of very fingertips Being quite sort of delicate and precise with it.

But a road like this really shows off its agility and it has such a nice balance to it. Just occasionally you feel a weight over the front end. Perhaps it just wants to push a little bit, but that gives you the confidence actually to push the nose into corners.

And if you want oversteer, well, it is there for the taking if you turn the ESC all the way off. But in Racing we’ve got Side Slip Control 6, which as ever does a fantastically good job of letting you have just a little bit of fun,

But then pretty seamlessly reining you back in. The Roma Spider then, still has some proper Ferrari dynamics on a road like this, but does it manage that more difficult ethereal task of capturing the sophisticated suave style of a seminal ’60s cinematic experience? Well, put it this way. If they ever shoot a remake,

I think it would be a more than adequate replacement for a Triumph TR3.