Test drive: Ferrari Roma Spider is the new fun standard

WIND in hair with sea breeze in the air, it's a different kind of sensation when you're going through the motion with a Prancing Horse.

All you think about is the Mediterranean Sea even though you're only cruising through the coastal cliffs of Batu Ferringhi, Penang.

This is the dream that the Roma Spider promises and Cars, Bikes and Trucks was privileged enough to cruise in one thanks to Ital Auto Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the official importer and distributor of Ferrari cars in the country.


Unique in its own right, the Roma Spider is Ferrari's first front-engined soft top model in 54 years after the 1969 365 GTS4.

On the surface, it is very much like the standard Roma coupe model, although it does receive some modifications, including the obvious retractable soft top.

Changes include a revised windscreen, A-pillars and the rear section for the retractable roof, which can be opened in 13.5 seconds at speeds up to 60kph.

The soft top is made from a special fabric that is woven from bespoke two-tone material drawn from a palette of four colours. Additionally, there's also the option to have the fabric with iridescent red contrast elements.

For the model design, Ferrari focused on maintaining aerodynamic performance and keeping turbulence and wind noise levels down in the cabin with the top down.

This is achieved with a 5mm nolder on the new windscreen header rail and a new patented wind deflector that is integrated into the backrest of the rear bench, which can be deployed through a button on the central tunnel. This creates a "bubble" of sorts to bolster an aerodynamic shell effect while driving.

The rear active spoiler on the car's upper body with a hidden mobile spoiler in the rear lid can be deployed into three different positions: Low Drag (LD), Medium Downforce (MD) and High Downforce (HD).

In technical terms, these modes can and will be applied depending on drive conditions, with the threshold value selectable and linked to the Manettino on the wheel.

The LD configuration is maintained until the car hits a speed of 100kph while the mobile element is at a 150-degree angle to the rear screen in MD mode to generate around 30 per cent of maximum downforce with an increase in drag of under one per cent.

The HD position is activated when the mobile element is at its maximum 135-degree angle height to generate around 95kg of downforce at 250kph, yet increasing drag by a mere four per cent.

The spoiler is in MD mode at speeds of over 300kph.

Much like the coupe variant, the Roma Spider houses a 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine that's paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that comes straight from the SF90 Stradale.

The setup delivers 620PS at 7,500rpm and 760Nm of torque at 5,750rpm to the rear wheel drive (RWD) drivetrain.

Dynamics change in regards to weight as the Roma Spider comes in at 1,556kg, or 85kg heavier than the standard coupe variant.

This mainly affects its zero to 200kph performance, coming in at 9.7 seconds compared to the standard Roma's 9.3 seconds.

Otherwise, it has the same century sprint time of 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 320kph.

The cabin mostly adopts the standard Roma coupe's interior with a dual cockpit configuration that offers individual cells for both the driver and passenger in a wraparound layout.

It offers a 16-inch digital instrument cluster and a portrait-oriented 8.4-inch central display with the infotainment system capable of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Its Stradale-styled steering wheel is lifted from the Roma coupe, although the unit's interface has received minor changes, such as the touch controls now featuring indents to offer tactile zone identification on the left-hand spoke and improved swiping on the right-hand side.

The Roma Spider is priced at RM3,200,000, inclusive of duties and taxes. It comes with Ferrari's extended seven-year maintenance programme that covers all regular scheduled maintenance for the first seven years of the car's life.


The Roma has been a beautiful machine since day one. It may be the more entry level model but the elements work well together.

You've the sleek-sportiness with a premium executive touch that is between the classic and modern Ferrari aesthetics, giving it that aquatic-aerodynamic theme that would cut through air like butter.

The model's design is such a standout that it can easily rival its more iconic or pricier siblings.

It is simply ingenious for the Roma to get the convertible treatment. Personally, the Roma Spider simply takes everything about the standard coupe to a higher plane.

What is also smart about this design "marriage" is how owners can get a taste of the convertible experience without being forced to go up the luxury price chain.

The Roma is also as easy to handle on the roads as it is comfortable to drive in. It delivers the right amount of the usual Ferrari flair that fans have come to love. When you put the elements together, it becomes the ultimate show-stopping convertible sports car that you don't mind driving daily.

As there was no way to properly test the efficiency of the rear wind deflector during the short drive, drivers may want to leave their top covered if they wished to speed through the coastal roads.


Moving away from the beauty and technicalities, the Roma Spider is a very fun car to drive.

One look at the car and your mind starts imagining you're riding waves as a dolphin one moment and then making sharp decisions like a shark the next.

The car becomes what you want it to be at that moment in time and best of all, managing that change is simply effortless.

The Roma Spider, much like the standard Roma and the Portofinos, is extremely accessible and comfortable to be in. This means you get to focus on the drive without worrying you've fumbled with some hidden controls or may be scrunched into an unfavourable seating position.

Unless you're looking for something specific or even pricier Ferrari models, then the Roma Spider is all you need.

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