Feeling Ferrarri

Ferrari Roma—Italian design at its very best

Ferrari brands its new model, the Roma, as “La Nuova Dolce Vita,” which translates to “The New Sweet Life.” For over 70 years, any new Ferrari was certainly part of a sweet life, and the Roma is no exception. Ferrari goes on to say, “With its distinctive flair and style, the car is a contemporary representation of the carefree, pleasurable way of life that characterized Rome in the 1950s and '60s.”

At the very first glance you can just imagine Sophia Loren tantalizingly climbing out of the car in front of the Opera House, or perhaps Gina Lollobrigida seductively doing so at trendy Pierluigi as she pops in for an Aperol Spritz.

A major departure from the aggressive and racy designs of the last 30 years, the Roma harkens back to the sensuous flowing lines of iconic models like the fabled 250 Lusso and the Superfast 500. Those cars are now worth infinitely more than when they were new, with 275’s selling for several million dollars, and both a vital part of any serious collection.

The Roma is devoid of vents and other superfluous appendages that detract from the sinuous lines. Even the spoiler has been incorporated invisibly into the trunk lid, but rises as needed to provide additional downforce at speed.

Like all Ferraris, the fit and finish are perfect. It’s a Grand Tourer in which the miles will disappear at a prodigious rate, no matter how many, and leave you wanting for more.

Ferrari manufactures two types of production cars—basically front-engine grand touring cars and mid- engine sports cars, although both have the desirable mid-engine balance due to the positioning of the engine between the front and rear wheels. This results in greatly improved performance, both handling and braking. With its illustrious history in Formula 1 and sports car racing at revered tracks like LeMans, Spa, and Daytona, Ferrari has a very deep well of expertise from which to draw for its production cars.

The Roma is powered, and boy is it ever powered, by a mid-front engined, twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V-8, pumping out a very robust 612 horsepower at 7,500 RPM, and 561 lb-ft of torque at just 3,000 RPM, for aggressive acceleration. The exhaust note, depending on the effort from your right foot, ranges from a basso profundo to a banshee wail which would make Verdi, Puccini, or Tosca proud. All this power is transmitted to the road through an 8-speed dual-clutch, paddle-shift transmission that permits you to control the optimal gear with lightning-fast shifts on fast, winding roads, or use automatic shifting in city traffic.

Advanced technology has also made the Roma more fuel efficient. Ferrari does claim 17 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway, which are more than respectable for a car of this power.

With a top speed just one MPH short of 200, and a 0-62 MPH time of 3.4 seconds, not much is going to beat you at the lights, but you’ll be doing it not only in luxury and comfort, but in safety, too. Electronic aids include Side Slip Control, F1 Traction Control, Electronic Differential, and Dynamic Enhancer, all of which combine to turn even a neophyte into a Formula 1 prodigy.

The cabin—although cockpit may be a better term since it looks more like a fighter jet—consists of distinct driver and passenger safety cells. The dashboard is sculpted to flow elegantly into the doors, and the sweeping center console blends into the rear seat area. A state-of-the-art digital instrument panel incorporates a large 16-inch gauge cluster dominated by a large tachometer. Like a Formula 1 race car, the racing style, flat-bottomed steering wheel has the most important and frequently used controls on the front of the wheel for instant use by the driver. There is even a separate 8.4-inch screen for the passenger so that they can also be involved in the driving experience.

The seats hug almost any size body and fit like the proverbial glove. It goes without saying that they are composed of the finest leathers and faux suede. There are even two rear seats suitable for short distances or extra luggage capacity for a trip, or a Costco run.

One of the many joys of buying a new Ferrari is the actual purchase process. At the dealership you’ll be taken into a private room where you can select from an extensive range of exterior and interior colors, and a seemingly inexhaustible list of options that results in virtually no two Ferraris being exactly the same. This is truly a bespoke process should you wish. Another wonderful feature of any new Ferrari is the seven-year, unlimited mileage complimentary maintenance.

As a Ferrari owner myself I’d be remiss in not offering a word of caution. Ferraris are highly addictive. They’re like cashews. You say you’re only going to have one, but they are so delicious that you can’t help yourself. It starts with those love-at-first-sight, long admiring looks as Miss Roma sits in the dealership showroom. The next stage is when you find yourself looking for excuses to get something you need from the garage, followed by more excuses to get things you’ve forgotten at the store. Pretty soon, you’ll be going for early morning drives, then weekends away. You’d better get used to those envious and admiring looks from other drivers, gas station attendants, and pretty well everyone else.

You’ve just joined one of the most exclusive and prestigious clubs in the world. In fact, Scottsdale Ferrari will offer you a complimentary membership in the Ferrari Club, where you’ll meet like-minded owners at exclusive events ranging from shows and drives to dinners and F1 viewings, even a Black-Tie Awards Dinner. So be prepared for a busier social life.

And, it’s not just here in the Valley—you’ll be welcomed to this very exclusive fraternity all across the country, and even internationally. Wherever you travel simply look up the local club, contact them, and ask if they have any events going on.

I’ve been to the launch of the 488 Spider in Saudi Arabia, and taken to dinner by the presidents of the Ferrari Club of Australia and of New South Wales when visiting Down Under. Locally, you’ll soon expand your circle of friends and be invited to events even beyond the club itself.

To learn more about the Roma, visit Ferrari.com or visit Scottsdale Ferrari at Scottsdale Road and Chauncey Lane.

Photographed at 8389 N. 58th Place, Paradise Valley. Listing by Joan Levinson, Realty ONE Group; more information at JoanLevinson.com

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