As Porsche market their new electric sports car, big rivals Ferrari counter with… a front-wheel drive V8 turbo supercar.
Will it save the planet? No.
Will it do 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds? Yes.
The new Ferrari Roma: La Nuova Dolce Vita (to give the full name) was launched in Rome with the sort of aplomb you’d come to expect from the Prancing Horse – with a heavy emphasis on ‘style’ and ‘beauty’.
Forget the F40 or GTO, this is a somewhat new venture for Ferrari as it attempts to reel in a different, less ostentatious, customer with a more practical sports coupe.
With that in mind, it doesn’t even come with the iconic yellow Ferrari badge either side as standard. They are deemed ‘superfluous’.
Instead the Roma is muscling in on the Aston Martin and Porsche 911s territory with a four-seater (well sort of) Gran Turismo – going against the grain of the iconic rear-engined Ferrari supercars mentioned above.
As Porsche launch the Taycan, Ferrari tech bosses admitted in the press conference they could have given this more traditional mid-front-engined car a hybrid element.
They just didn’t want to (on this model at least).
Instead petrol heads get a 620 horse power – or 7,500rpm – V8 engine which makes it the most powerful in the class, with a new light-weight 8-speed gearbox also the fastest shifter in the market.
Looks-wise, there’s a rear spoiler pops out at high speed and retracts into the back when you just want to stop and just look at the Roma.
Which you probably will. A lot.
Styling-wise the designers say they’ve gone for ‘sophistication’ with two waves flowing through the chassis from the long bonnet.
It’s wide too, at nearly two metres across while the boot capacity goes up to 345 litres.
Driving-wise Ferrari say that the light-weight gearbox – it’s six kilos lighter than the old 7-speed Ferrari transmission – makes the car more agile and responsive on the road.
Both the bodyshell and the chassis have been lightened too, giving the Roma the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.
Inside there’s ‘two cockpits’ with the driver and the passenger having their own controls as a large central console almost ‘cocoons’ them in.
On it as a high-tech computer with a 16in wrap around screen, while the steering wheel looks like it’s from F1 with all the tech to match.
Even the key is brand new, small enough to put in your pocket with ease – but big enough for people to know you have Ferrari (and that’s pretty important too).
According to the Ferrari PR machine La Nuova Dolce Vita stands for ‘finding time to do what we like’ – they want you to have fun driving a new Gran Turismo that is full of ‘understated luxury’.
So understated it doesn’t even have those iconic Ferrari yellow ‘shields’ on the side as standard, taking away all superfluous detail deemed to ‘ostentatious’ for the model.
But you can have them added – and to be honest I would. I mean, you’ve got to let people know it’s a Ferrari.
The Roma is Ferrari’s attempt at an everyday car. Something you can drive around winding roads, down the piazzas of Rome – or take to ASDA for a big shop.
There are two seats in the back to take small children – or even smaller adults – along with you, just don’t expect them to see anything of the journey out of those tiny back windows.
Of course this ‘every day’ car will set you back just under £200,000.
But then, some days are more expensive than others.
Price: Around 200,000 Euros (around £171,000)
Engine: V8 – 90 degree turbo
Top speed: 198mph
O-62mph: 3.2 secs
Emission: Under homologation
Available: From next summer