Ferrari Roma in Singapore: priced to conquer?

Ferrari Roma

The Ferrari Roma is in town for a sneak preview. At S$888,000 without extras or COE, it’s the most affordable coupe from Maranello. Still want that Aston?

SINGAPORE — The Ferrari Roma rolled quietly into town last week, and it’s currently in a secret room inside Ital Auto’s building on Alexandra Road.

The local Ferrari dealer has invited potential buyers for a close up look of the new coupe, in small, socially-distanced groups at a time until Wednesday, after which it’s Arrivederci, Roma.

If you’re invited, what you’ll see is Ferrari’s latest grand tourer, a two-door fastback with 2+2 seating and a V8 engine up front. The unusual layout — can you think of another V8 front-engined Ferrari coupe? — signals that the Roma isn’t merely a new Ferrari, but a new kind of Ferrari. 

That much is also suggested by the styling. Instead of the sharp lines, giant air scoops and aggressive stance of a mid-engined sportscar like the F8 Tributo, the Roma has a far more understated look, with gentle curves and elegant styling. While Ferrari’s own sportscars appear space-age, the Roma looks more like a classic coupe from half a century ago that’s been updated for today.

That, of course, is literally by design. “We would like to attract people to come to the brand, who are not so much up for buying an aggressive looking car or being so loud about the good things that they have,” Dieter Knechtel, the head of Ferrari’s Far East and Middle East operations, tells us.

Typical Ferraristi, as fans of the brand are known, are sportcar fans with the odd Formula 1 fantasy, but the Roma is for a different kind of buyer, Mr Knechtel (below) explains.

“I would almost say it’s an all-purpose gran turismo. It’s very, very discreet, and has a beautiful elegance,” he says. “If you don’t know what it is, probably you like it just because it looks beautiful, but then in the second step you go, ‘Oh, it’s a Ferrari!’”

The Roma, in short, is Ferrari’s way of acknowledging that some people are more interested in a car that looks like a rolling sculpture than in showing up at Sepang with the fastest, sharpest tool for a killer laptime.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a real Ferrari. The 3.9-litre, twin-turbo V8 is certainly the business, with the headline numbers as scintillating as you expect: 620 horsepower from 5,750rpm to a revvy 7,500rpm, with 760 Newton-metres of peak torque at 3,000 to 5,750rpm.

Ferrari says the 1,570kg coupe has the best power-to-weight ratio in its class, but in any case it isn’t a slow car: 0 to 100km/h takes 3.4 seconds, while 0 to 200km/h takes 9.3 seconds. If you can find somewhere long, straight and empty enough to keep the throttle pinned, the Roma will keep going past 320km/h.

The cabin is a showcase of Ferrari’s latest approach to its cockpits: a 16-inch screen for full digital instrumentation, haptic switches on the steering wheel for what it calls its “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel” philosophy, and an optional 8.4-inch touchscreen for the satnav and infotainment stuff.

Speaking of options, you can also have a second 8.8-inch colour screen for the passenger, as part of Ferrari’s dual-cockpit strategy but more so the other person in the car has their own way of knowing how fast you’re going.

Mind you, if you can restrain yourself at the options list, the Roma sells for a surprisingly competitive sum. The price in Singapore is S$888,000 without Certificate Of Entitlement or options. 

That means the Roma isn’t the cheapest Ferrari in Singapore (that is still the S$855,000 Portofino, a 2+2 seater convertible), but the price tag puts it in the neighbourhood of rival cars like the Aston Martin DB11 4.0 V8 or the Porsche Turbo S.

If you’ve ever been tempted by either of those, surely you’re tempted by the Roma? In the end, it’s easy to see what Ferrari was hoping for in naming it after Italy’s capital. The Roman Empire did its fair share of conquering, after all.

WATCH: What a “traditional” V8 Ferrari is like to drive…

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about the author

Leow Julen
CarBuyer's managing editor is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 25 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.