The New Ferrari Roma Spider Harks Back To Iconic Convertibles

When the term ‘la nuova dolce vita’ – ‘the new sweet life’ – was coined to describe the stylish Ferrari Roma it was a nod to the original ‘dolce vita’ of 1960s Rome, famous for the elegance and joyousness of its cinema and style. And also to highlight its sports car performance. Now, that Roma family is expanding with a brand-new soulmate: the Ferrari Roma Spider.

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And if this Spider feels somehow new yet familiar at one and the same time, that should come as no surprise. Remarkably, it is 55 years since Ferrari last launched a front-mid-engined spider with a soft fabric roof, the 365 GTS4 in 1968, long known to enthusiasts as the ‘Daytona Spider’. Now the Roma Spider reinvents this iconic format in an all-new form: a front-mid- engined, V8-powered, two-plus soft top.

The concept of ‘new yet familiar’ applies every bit as much to the Roma Spider’s design, which preserves very closely the perfect proportions and widely-applauded volumes of the Roma coupé. In its elegance, it undoubtedly acknowledges iconic Ferrari spiders of the past – think 250 GT California and 365 GTS4 ‘Daytona’ – whilst also expressing a resolutely forward-looking aesthetic.

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The perfect beauty and proportions of the Roma, from which the new Spider is derived, can be readily appreciated whether the roof is closed or open. One new twist is how the Spider’s looks can be tailored to your wishes, thanks to extensive customisation options. For instance, you can choose between five different soft top colours, with contrasting roof-stitching replicated to match that of the interior. Moreover, two different roof fabrics are available, including a new technical material, designed specifically for Ferrari, that mimics the appearance of carbon fibre.

The rear tonneau cover is a significant design element in its own right, explains Fabio Massari, Head of GT Cars Interior Design: “We worked hard to integrate the back seats, headrests, and tonneau cover. Our concept was to move away from a glass wind stop and instead design a wind deflector that, when closed, is completely integrated into the rear seat – a completely new aerodynamic solution.”

Massari expands: “The overall aim of the design is to create one clean line, whether the roof is open or closed. The result is a perfect balance of coupe and spider.”

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Opening the roof is marginally faster than the retractable hard top employed on recent convertibles. Moreover, it’s possible to deploy the opening mechanism at driving speeds of up to 60kmh, faster than with the retractable hard top solution. And the procedure is simplicity itself: press a single button and it disappears under the tonneau.

Sound insulation and thermal performance are equal to those of a retractable hard top. You can drive at high speed with the same feeling as the Roma coupé – only very minor changes have been made to ensure that the magnificent sound of the V8 engine can be fully appreciated when the roof is down.

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There are no compromises when it comes to vehicle dynamics, either. The Roma Spider is designed for driving purists. Thanks to its all-aluminium chassis and lightweight components, it has the best weight-to- power ratio in its class. The 620cv V8 engine and eight- speed dual-clutch gearbox ensure excellent performance (the 0-100kmh sprint of 3.4 seconds equals the Roma coupé), as well as comfort and efficiency. Heightened driving thrills in all situations are guaranteed by its Side Slip Control 6.0, Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, five-setting manettino, and standard carbon-ceramic brakes.

Never has the ‘dolce vita’ description been more apt, and never has the idea of twin souls in a Ferrari been more complete. The Roma Spider is perfect for open- air trips to the seaside or up into the hills. As relaxing or as thrilling as you wish: the perfect symbiosis of sophisticated elegance and dynamism.

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Report by Chris Rees

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