Technology

I drove the Ferrari Roma – a ‘cheaper’ supercar with a mysterious red dial, radar and awesome ‘magnetic juice’.

ROM is beautiful. There is so much going on in the old parts of the city that you spend most of your time in awe.

Fittingly, the Ferrari Roma is about the same.

The Ferrari Roma starts at around £170,000

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The Ferrari Roma starts at around £170,000Photo credit: The Sun / Sean Keach
The rear-wheel drive Roma uses magnetic suspension for maximum shock absorption

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The rear-wheel drive Roma uses magnetic suspension for maximum shock absorptionPhoto credit: The Sun / Sean Keach
It's an elegant and luxurious interior, and you can even see the enticing Manettino dial on the steering wheel

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It’s an elegant and luxurious interior, and you can even see the enticing Manettino dial on the steering wheelPhoto credit: The Sun / Sean Keach

You could spend half an hour just staring at it and appreciating every detail – only to forget that it’s actually for driving.

Luckily I had the opportunity to spend a weekend with a Roma (in beautiful blue) and – after a good gawp – I actually set off.

As you’d expect, it’s tremendously fast.

It is powered by a 3855cc V8 engine that has a top speed of 199mph.

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A whopping 610 hp (in a car that weighs just 1,570 kg) helps you accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds.

Unusually for cars in this class, the engine is under the hood and not behind the driver.

But it’s so far back (and the hood is so long) that this still qualifies as a mid-engine car.

There’s an eight-speed automatic transmission (with manual gears if you prefer) which makes occasional driving very easy.

But some clever tricks give Roma a serious advantage.

tech a look

I rode a version with magnetic suspension, which is a serious improvement over the normal shock absorption.

The dampers contain a special liquid of iron particles in a synthetic oil that can be magnetized to move between liquid and almost solid.

This electronically controlled system means the suspension can react instantly, can be prepared in advance by sensing body roll, and has no small parts to wear out.

As a result, the Roma runs extremely smoothly, especially in curves.

Adorable, alluring and potentially dangerous in equal parts is the little red dial on the steering wheel.

It’s a small, red knob known in Ferrari circles as the Manettino dial.

And you can switch between modes including Wet, Comfort, Sport, Race and ESC (Electronic Stability Control).

Go to YouTube and you’ll find endless videos of ruthless millionaires turning off ESC, putting in floor coverings Ferrari on a corner and quickly dumps an Italian supercar worth several hundred thousand pounds.

If you haven’t done race training, it’s probably worth sticking with wetness and comfort and maybe sport right off the bat.

The Roma is also rear-wheel drive, so it needs extra care if you’re not used to that.

I’m glad the ESC-Off mode remains a mystery to me.

The good news: Even in comfort mode, the Roma is an absolute racer – and very easy to control.

There’s a misconception that supercars are a nightmare to drive: in terms of comfort, the Ferrari Roma drives like a dream with a reasonable power curve.

There is a dynamic rear wing that automatically extends for extra downforce at high speeds.

And the underside of the car is really flat for maximum downforce and air management.

retract

The interior is spacious, with a sophisticated, luxurious and satisfyingly symmetrical design.

It is also extremely comfortable, as befits a grand tourer.

There are even two (very, very small) seats in the back, which are fine for kids – but not ideal for tall adults on a long journey.

The Roma I drove didn’t have any Apple CarPlaybut it is now available as a standard.

This is good because it allows you to emulate yours iPhone in Roma for infotainment, apps, music and more.

But the default Roma interface is awesome anyway.

There is a central control panel with a large touchscreen to control vehicle functions, music, maps and more.

And there’s also a handy touch display on the passenger side, which puts your passengers in control too.

My model was equipped with a front radar that enabled automatic cruise control.

And it also helped me avoid an accident with a rear radar and blind spot detection.

A camera system with an all-round view was always practical, since the bonnet is very long.

All very handy as I was in a model with a total retail price of £229,689.

The Ferrari Roma is an immensely satisfying car with a palatable starting price of £170,659.

It’s against the louder Lamborghini Huracan and the futuristic McLaren GT in terms of pricing – but all three have unique styles, so it all comes down to personal preference.

Ferrari has developed a beautiful turbocharged GT that is only slightly more expensive than the stunning Portofino.

And if you have the spare cash, you won’t be disappointed with the Roma.

  • Ferrari Roma from £170,659 – Buy here

The Sun tested a Ferrari Roma with a base value of £170,659 and a total selling price including options of £229,689.

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All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing but may have changed since then. Always do your own research before making a purchase.

If you click on a link in this story, we may earn affiliate revenue.

It looks like a small sports car, but the Roma is actually a four-seater

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It looks like a small sports car, but the Roma is actually a four-seaterPhoto credit: The Sun / Sean Keach
The Roma goes from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds

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The Roma goes from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.4 secondsPhoto credit: The Sun / Sean Keach
This is a powerful Ferrari that can take you up to 199mph - if you can find a legal place to hit those speeds

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This is a powerful Ferrari that can take you up to 199mph – if you can find a legal place to hit those speedsPhoto credit: The Sun / Sean Keach
This Blu Roma version features a turbocharged 3855cc V8 engine

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This Blu Roma version features a turbocharged 3855cc V8 enginePhoto credit: The Sun / Sean Keach
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8668842/ferrari-roma-tested-tech-interior-top-speed/ I drove the Ferrari Roma – a ‘cheaper’ supercar with a mysterious red dial, radar and awesome ‘magnetic juice’.

Fry Electronics Team

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