Home » The 199-MPH Ferrari Roma Spider Has A Polarizing Butt

The 199-MPH Ferrari Roma Spider Has A Polarizing Butt

Ferrari Roma Spider Topshot

As the Earth’s northern hemisphere is set to enter Spring, legions of Europe’s most-lubricated businesspeople are setting their sights on seaside destinations. Right on cue, the speed merchants of Maranello have just the car for them. This is the Ferrari Roma Spider, and it should effectively be the replacement for the Portofino cabriolet. However, it’s not what I’d call Ferrari’s prettiest cabriolet of all time. Look at how they massacred my boy.

Ferrari Roma Spider Profile

It’s no surprise that to create the Roma Spider, Ferrari took a Roma coupe and snipped the roof off at the C-pillars. The result is a rather awkward deck that bulges well above the rear haunches, a bit like you’d get on a Porsche 911 cabriolet. Then Ferrari decided to accentuate the deck height with a double-bubble tonneau inlay which, why? What’s more, the actual deck has been split into two pieces, one that opens up for luggage space and one that’s a hinged cover for the roof compartment. Oh, and to make things extra-weird, the rearward of the two sections has a dark trim inlay that doesn’t blend well with anything. Is there a chance this thing looks better with the fabric roof up than down? In addition to the styling, there’s another downside: Ferrari claims that the Roma Spider weighs 185.2 pounds more than the coupe. That’s like carrying an entire human everywhere you go without the benefit of being able to take the HOV lane.

Ferrari Roma Spider Above

Still, the rather aesthetically-challenged roof removal does mean that the Roma Spider gets vestigial rear seats, perfect for shopping or shopping bag-sized dogs. There’s a powered air deflector in the rear deck to mitigate buffeting, and the front occupants are cosseted by 18-way power-adjustable seats with neck-heating elements. Perfect for year-round Riviera motoring, I reckon.

[Professional Designer’s note: Jesus. The reason is has a fat ass is they have to package spray-on rear seats, a functioning hood with a glass rear windshield, and a big enough trunk to carry however many golf bags are required on a Thursday afternoon, when us normal people are working for a living. Oh, and all the actuators and linkages and all the bullshit to make the roof operate on its own because you know, the help isn’t always around to put it up and down for you.

Ferrari Roma Spider Top

The numbers around the Roma Spider are heady: Zero-to-62 mph is claimed to flash by in 3.4 seconds, zero-to-124 mph should take just 9.7 seconds, and top speed is a very impressive 199 mph, the same as the coupe. The engine in charge of making all of this possible is a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 putting out 612 horsepower and 561 lb.-ft. of torque. An eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox means that the Roma should always find a sufficient ratio for the task at hand, and the traction control in various settings on Ferrari’s multi-mode Manettino dial should prevent drivers from exiting roundabouts backward unless they’ve set all systems to kill.

Left Front Three Quarter

[Editor’s Note: I don’t think the rear looks that bad. The front, however…I’m not sure about that grille. -DT]

[Editor’s Editor’s Note: It looks great from the front 3/4, y’all is crazy. The grille is the best part! The rear is fine, too. Haters, all of you. -MH]

The al fresco grand-tourer roster has been whittled down as of late, but some very good picks remain. There’s the Aston Martin DB11 Volante for anyone whose breakfast contains cocaine, the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet for people who wanted to be astronauts when they grew up, the new Mercedes-AMG SL for successful real estate agents, and the Bentley Continental GTC for those who want a 200-mph castle. If none of those tickle your fancy, Maserati’s working on a drop-top version of its beautiful new GranTurismo. Oh, and if you don’t really need to go from a dead stop to 60 mph in less than four seconds, the soft-roof version of the Lexus LC 500 is an absolute bargain with a naturally-aspirated V8 bark that will etch itself into your dreams.

Ferrari Roma Spider Rear

In conclusion, the Ferrari Roma Spider is a little bit uglier and a little bit heavier than its fixed-roof brother. That would’ve been fine in the past, but brand loyalty is low right now and the competition is stiffer than a titanium girder. I’m not entirely convinced the Roma Spider will win over those who weren’t already faithful to the prancing horse, but perhaps it doesn’t need to. After all, plenty of Ferrari owners still have Californias in their garages, so this could be the exact replacement they’re looking for.

(Photo credits: Ferrari)

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39 Responses

  1. Still has some of the hump back that always plagued the California and its successor, but it’s definitely not terrible. I think the Roma coupe is one of the prettiest Ferraris in ages, though I would prefer if the grille was a satin silver or chrome as opposed to body color.

    Side note, have they even sold any yet? The internet has very few pictures beyond road tests and press photos.

  2. …I don’t think it’s that bad? It just reminds me of a 911 cabrio and the bump at the back has never really bothered me on those. It’s also important to keep in mind, like Adrian implies, that there are always compromises that have to go into convertible-ifying cars. With the 911s and I’d imagine this as well you get a vehicle that mimics the coupe’s lines when the top is up. The opposite end of the spectrum is something like a Nissan 350/370 Z convertible, which look great with the roof down but absolute ass when it’s up.

    And as someone who’s done a lot of convertible driving over the years let me tell you…you’re going to have the roof up more than you think you will. When it comes to just puttering around it’s usually easier to keep it up, if you have to fit cargo in it it’ll usually have to be with it up because of how much space the folded top takes up, and if you’re going to work do you really want to show up with your hair blown all over the place?

    That being said the front of this car is still ugly. I didn’t like the Roma when it came out and it hasn’t grown on me at all. It looks like a fish. If I was some kind of jackass who had this much money to incinerate on a weekend car I’d almost certainly get the nicest 911 drop top or targa that I could and equip the manual. I’d probably go Carrera GTS in that same metallic berry color Matt Farrah has on his Deman 718 or a British Racing Green equivalent.

    …or I’d spend half the money and get the most beautiful current production car on the road, the LC500, and use the money left over to put some go fast/grip hard goodies in it. It’s my current semi attainable dream car and I hope they continue to remain underrated so I can swoop in and get a well loved one for 60k in a few years. It can remain our secret, Autopian. We must not sing the praises of the LC too loudly.

    1. *”There’s the Aston Martin DB11 Volante for anyone whose breakfast contains cocaine”*

      Cocaine is the breakfast of champions! It should never be relegated to a condiment or a mere side dish.

      This Ferrari Roma is quite hefty. Almost as much as that rolling bank vault of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SDL I used to own. It probably has a similar polar moment of inertia given the engine mass and placement coupled with the mass of the car. Even then, it’s STILL the better part of a half of a ton less heavy than a Lexus LC500, which itself is only about 300 lbs short of a Hummer H3. Yeesh these things have gotten morbidly obese over the years. It’s no surprise that the light, nimble Ferraris of half a century ago are going for so much coin. Nothing like them exists today, nothing like them is being built, and nothing like them will ever exist again unless the current automotive zeitgeist is thoroughly upended.

      The Roma Spyder is heavily reminiscent of the 70s era Daytona Spyder, which came in at a svelte 2,600 lbs. How the mighty have fallen… Throw some modern engines, drivetrains, suspensions, and tires into the classics, and they would run circles around these new SUV-sized behemoths on the track. Things should not be this way after 50 years of technological progress.

      1. I think the LC500 could be the best looking car of the 21st century so far.

        If I win the lottery there will be dozens of cars I’d want to own, but the LC500 is the one I’d buy immediately

          1. It’s admittedly hard to argue with a designer (even a daydreaming one), so I’ll agree that it works least worst on the LC500. However, I still believe it to be a grave design error that company egos won’t let go.

            I saw a new M3 yesterday. It makes the iX almost pretty. More grill hell.

  3. I promise the human sitting in the passenger seat will also be ugly without all the make-up and plastic surgery. Wait, I meant, the first wife. The 2nd wife is almost certainly a full generation younger, and (still) hot.

    1. “I promise the human sitting in the passenger seat will also be ugly without all the make-up and plastic surgery.”

      It’s okay. If they are taking the Ferrari, it’s a night out to be seen, and all the makeup and bling will be on display.

  4. Nice Godfather reference.

    It’s not my thing, but I think it looks pretty good! You know what would help with the packaging issue? Making it an EV.

    Ok Ok! Leggo my arm! I’ll see myself out…

  5. I will die on the hill that the Roma may actually be Ferraris most beautiful current car. It is absolutely gorgeous and elegant and does away with unnecessary fussy design elements without falling into being overly plain or generic. It’s an absolute stunner and the drop top is no different, the coupe is definitely nicer, but this is absolutely acceptable, especially given the packaging efforts for a drop top. I’m dragging this car to the top of the hill I’m dying on and I’ll beat y’all with sticks if you want to argue about its design.

    1. I think the standard coupe is very good, and wears a lot of colors very well: I saw an orange one at a Scarmble at Bicester Heritage last year. It is a little bland though, some attention to the grill area would help. I said it below somewhere – the best car Aston Martin never made.

      The standard 296 is I think the best of the current range and the best for quite some time. It’s stunning.

  6. I like the Roma. I didn’t follow one ten miles out of my way gawking the way I did the first LC500 I saw, but I like it. This thing doesn’t work for me. Adrian explained it so that I understand. At first glance my reaction was “A Ferrari shouldn’t remind me of the Murano Cross Cabriolet.” Butt, thanks to Adrian, now I can express my reaction to both cars more clearly: Don’t squeeze the toothpaste to the back of the damn tube!

  7. The Ferrari Roma, camel-back edition!

    I don’t mind it, but then I also like the Panamera, so who am I to judge? I suspect that Porsche fans are likely more forgiving of that rear end, not just because of the Panamera, but the 911 cabrio has a similar look.

      1. Looking for this comment.
        With Ferrari’s sales model this is the car you get so you can get invited to the cocktail (you pay your own expenses to get there) where you pretend to be important enough to get on a waiting list for the purosangue.
        Ferrari ownership is a joke.

    1. Honestly, I’m going to step up for the California a bit here.

      Personally it’s not what I want for a vehicle, especially at that price, but think of the average person buying it…

      — —– ——

      They’ve mostly been in luxury sedans and crossovers forever, to haul the kids around. They’re now in their late 50s, early 60s. The kids are gone.

      They want something that sounds good, looks OK (yes, not amazing, but it looks better than a crossover or sedan), still handles infinitely better than any sedan or crossover they’ve ever previously owned, and you can actually put stuff in it. You can use it for weekend trips and day trips no problem, still be comfy, drop the roof when it’s nice, and have plenty of room for luggage, picnic lunch, and stuff from the shops — stuff the mid-engine cars don’t do well.

      Moreover, you didn’t need to have spent X before at the dealership to then get on a waiting list to then maybe be allowed to buy one. They were easy to get used, if not new in some markets. At the end of the day, you could at least say you had a V8 Ferrari that sounded good, and handled good enough, rather than yet another luxo-barge.


      Think of something like the Camry Solara. It’s never going to be an enthusiast’s first choice, but there was a healthy market for a convertible to put people and stuff in that looked less boring than yet another mid-size economy sedan.

      The California is functionally doing that same job for a far wealthier customer.

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