1,000 horsepower that is, with the SF90 Stradale, plus the Portofino M and Roma at its exclusive Esperienza Ferrari drive event in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Travelling is still tricky, but Ferrari Singapore made sure its customers and prospects got a taste of the Cavallino Rampante right here at home with its Esperienza Ferrari event last Saturday.
The event allowed 27 Ferrari customers, prospects and other VIPs to experience the performance of three Ferraris on a track set up at the Changi Exhibition Centre.
While some people have managed to make it to Italy to drive the more focused version of the SF90 Stradale (that’s the SF90 AF, no we’re not kidding about the name), the rest of us in Singapore have contended with two years of driving at utterly legal speeds. It’s enough to destroy a person’s soul slowly, which is why you can imagine the Esperienza Ferrari was very much welcomed by its target audience.
A tight handling track at Changi is not Fiorano of course, but it could easily inspire some of the guests here to try out the full-blown Ferrari Corso Pilota courses in the future.
On hand to coach participants, and to do some demo laps, was home grown racing talent Sean Hudspeth, the racing driver who has won Italy’s GT Championship Pro-Am Class 2019, and last year’s Italian GT Endurance Championship Pro Am Class.
CarBuyer had a go at all three of the cars at the event, and this is what we thought.
Ferrari’s hard-top cabriolet and the perfect entry to the world of Ferrari ownership. It launched in Singapore in June of this year at S$898,000 without COE/options. This is the updated version from the original Portofino, itself the successor of the California model.
While the Portofino M is ‘entry level’ (as far as Ferraris go, anyway), the update means it packs 620hp, it’s still rear-wheel drive and has a new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Ferrari’s 3.9-litre turbo V8 also lacks lag, and the Portofino is no ‘all port and no ship’ pony. That power is tamed with accessibility though, as on track we felt comfortable enough to take some liberties with it – which is where the additional driving modes (Wet, Comfort, Sport, Race)come in.
Ferrari’s all-new addition to the stable, it’s a gorgeous 2+2 GT that emphasises style and a little more comfort than say, an F8, and takes aim at cars like the Aston Martin Vantage and Porsche 911. It debuted in June 2020 at S$888,000 without COE, you can also read Ju-Len’s test drive of it on Singapore roads to see if it captures that ‘something intangible about being behind the wheel of a Ferrari’.
It’s my first time behind the wheel of the Roma, and given the car’s related to and positioned similarly to the Portofino, I expected a similar experience but was immediately proved wrong.
The Roma’s front end is quick, as in ‘one of the pointiest things I’ve driven’ quick, so much so that I was stunned for a lap or two: Isn’t this supposed to be a more accessible front-engine, rear drive GT? But this is Ferrari, which always plays by its own rules, and in fact the company terms the car front-mid engined, and a ‘2+’ seater, with ‘+’ meaning tiny humans or partial humans.
In any case, with the lag-free 3.9-litre V8 still providing more torque than normal people can handle, the Roma’s terrifically quick and feels like a properly focused sports car – fitting for what could be the last purely non-electric Ferrari. As for GT manners, Changi’s square of tarmac has its fair share of bumps. So while we didn’t drive it on the road, I imagine twiddling the manettino to ‘Comfort’ and driving home with ease if this were a trackday further afield.
EV Weekend is Singapore’s First and Largest Electric Vehicle event, and it’s on from 3-12 December 2021 at Resorts World Sentosa! Check out the latest EVs from Audi, BMW, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Mini – see them in person, test drive them, and understand all there is to know about EV ownership and more. Sign up at evweekend.sg to find out more and win exciting prizes.