New Ferrari Roma Spider 2023 review
Ferrari hits the bullseye with the superb Roma Spider drop-top grand tourer
The Ferrari Roma is already a great coupé, but the new 199mph Spider could be an even better car. It’s a touch softer but is no less thrilling to drive. It also looks sexier inside and out and has a dynamic personality all of its own. It’s not cheap, far from it, but even at £210k, it’s hard to think of a more desirable open-top car right now.
The Ferrari Roma Spider is not a car that will help save the world. Nor is it one that many will ever see, let alone get to drive. But for the exceedingly fortunate few it is without doubt one of the sexiest and plain best open-top grand touring cars that (an awful lot of) money can buy right now.
Based unashamedly on the Roma coupé, the Spider costs £210,313 and boasts the same 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox as its fixed-head sibling. It costs almost 30 grand more, however, because even in the rarefied world of Ferrari ownership, prices have gone up since the coupé was unveiled three years ago. Plus it has more than a few extra bits and bobs – both above and beneath its distinctive new composite bodywork – that distinguish it beside the fixed-head.
The new hood, for example, is a work of art. Not just because it can be raised or lowered at up to 40mph and takes just over 13 seconds to glide into position, but also because it’s made from cloth this time, and is subtly colour-coded to match whatever paint you specify on your Spider. It also provides very good refinement and eschews the folding hard-top design of the previous Portofino M, which the Spider broadly replaces within Ferrari’s line-up.
Beneath the skin the Spider has undergone numerous modifications to make up for the fact it has no roof. There’s a partially new rear subframe and the sills have been heavily reinforced to make the body stiffer. So although the torsional stiffness is still down by around 30 per cent compared with the coupé, you wouldn’t necessarily notice it on the move.
The overall weight distribution has also shifted fractionally towards the back (it’s now 48:52 as opposed to 50:50 in the coupé), all of which means the Spider is slightly softer and deliberately less aggressive in its overall responses.
But it’s barely any slower in a straight line and, when it comes to sound, even more dramatic to listen to. How so if it uses the same 612bhp, 760Nm twin-turbo V8 as the coupé? The Spider’s exhaust has been tuned to deliver a fair bit more noise so that you can appreciate its soundtrack more obviously with the hood down at motorway speeds, says Ferrari. The resulting note stops some way short of tingling the spine (Maranello’s twin-turbo V8 has never made a particularly lovely sound), but it’s moving enough in isolation. In a tunnel, you’d certainly know it’s there.
Outright performance is pretty special, with 0-62mph taking 3.4 seconds and a top speed just shy of 200mph. It feels every bit as bombastic as the coupé in a straight line, despite weighing 84kg more.
It corners pretty well, too, even though its rear-drive chassis feels a fraction softer at the back than the coupé’s and the steering doesn’t feel just as aggressive off centre, despite there being no mechanical changes to the rack.
There’s some lateral movement when you really lean on the Spider on the entry to a corner, but it’s nicely controlled, plus there’s zero scuttle shake, which was one of Ferrari’s main aims with the software tweaks made to the suspension and differential.
Cabin quality and tech are hard to fault, even if the steering wheel layout is still busy. The interior feels expensive and is well thought out ergonomically. There’s a new wind deflector that can be deployed at up to 105mph, which works a treat to reduce wind blast with the hood down.
There’s even a half decent amount of room in the rear seats for short journeys, but the 255-litre boot would struggle to swallow four people’s luggage. The 80-litre fuel tank does provide a decent touring range, though.
Anyone expecting the Roma Spider to be a flawed genius due to the removal of its roof should think again. If anything, the Spider is the sweetest Roma, not just to look at and travel in, but to drive as well, and that’s a highly unusual achievement. No question, the Spider is a peach.
|Model:||Ferrari Roma Spider|
|Powertrain:||3.9-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive|