Displaying items by tag: Sport Cars
Porsche's special-edition Boxster bundles corner-carving goodies but doesn't forget about the commute.
Sports cars don't ride this well. After a few miles, disbelief turns to awe. You see, this Porsche Boxster T is aimed directly at the lunatic fringe of car buyers who crave the sportiest handling in a base Boxster. We had a short drive of a European-spec Boxster T in 2019, but we've now spent a few days surfing the potholes and shattered asphalt of our home turf in the United States version. And an apex-slaying suspension just isn't supposed to be this livable.
Porsche makes all of the Boxster's chassis goodies standard in the T and then sprinkles some Ferry dust on the whole thing. The suppleness is surprising considering the T model is equipped with a sport suspension that drops the Boxster nearly an inch (20 mm) and includes 20-inch wheels with tires whose sidewalls appear to offer all the impact protection of a leather helmet. And yet, the Boxster T's ride compliance betters that of many sports sedans. No crash, no smash, no harshness.
Vital to the ride quality are the sport package's standard adaptive dampers—PASM in Porsche language—that adeptly smooths those high-frequency jolts that tend to discombobulate performance cars. A button next to the shifter allows the driver to tighten up the dampers' responses, but there's no real reason to take them out of Normal mode since they continuously adapt to how hard you're driving and whatever bad breaks the road throws at them. But, if you want to ruin the ride, go right ahead and select Sport.
If that over-the-road grace is surprising, the Boxster T's handling isn't. Like a regular Boxster or Boxster S, the T's moves and primary controls foster a close connection that shrinks the car around you. In addition to the sport suspension and 20-inch wheels, the T model makes a few other optional bits standard fare. Every Boxster T comes with brake-based torque vectoring that helps rotate the car into corners and active engine mounts that stiffen or soften to help keep engine motions from upsetting the handling.
A small-diameter sport steering wheel with a drive-mode selector knob is also standard. As precise as the atomic clock, the steering sends all the right signals from the tires and road without any kick or ugliness.
What the T doesn't add is more power. Bolted in behind the driver is the same 300-hp 2.0-liter flat-four that has powered the base Boxster since 2017. The 2.0-liter pulls hard from low rpm once the turbo lights things up, and the engine delivers more than enough acceleration to dispel your regrets over foregoing the 350-hp Boxster S. The flat-four issues a guttural grumble, especially at idle, but the sound improves when zinged to the 7500-rpm redline. The engine will never be confused with a BMW inline-six—or even Porsche's flat-sixes—but tries to compensate for its inability to carry a tune with an angry exhaust note.
Coupled with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission ($3730), we expect the Boxster T to get to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, the same time as a mechanically identical PDK Boxster we tested back in 2017. All automatic T models will be able to repeat that performance as many times as you please, since they come standard with the Sport Chrono Package that adds the all-important launch-control function. Left foot on the brake pedal, floor the accelerator, release the brakes, and there you have it: the perfect launch, easy enough to merit an infomercial.
Still, we'd skip the dual-clutch automatic in favor of the six-speed manual. Not only is it's less expensive, but it's more in keeping with the driving-joy ethos of the T. In our testing of the non-T Boxster manual, the DIY gearbox runs to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Plenty quick.
Some Boxster buyers might wonder about the T's cloth and leather seats. Porsche's puritanical models of the past—the 1988 911 Club Sport, the 1992 911 RS America, and the 1993 911 Speedster—came with pinstriped cloth upholstery, and the T's cloth seats speak to its mission statement. Cloth is grippier than leather, so the thinking is that since you love corners enough to buy this car, you'll want the cloth holding your butt in place. Fabric door pulls replace door handles, another nod to Porsche's racing heritage and the GT models. Our test car wore the T Interior Package ($2770) that adds contrasting stitching throughout and a few bits of trim. At $2770, the option seems expensive for the minor dress-up.
The Boxster T starts at $69,850, or $8900 more than the base Boxster. With one exception, it's possible to add the T's many chassis options to a base Boxster, and the price works out to be about the same as the T. What you miss out on are the T's even lower Sport suspension (a 0.8-inch drop versus 0.4 inch) and its heritage-inspired cloth interior and door pulls. And, while you can build a Boxster to mimic most of the T's goodies, it's unlikely you'd ever find one on a dealer lot. By bundling these options in a new model, dealers can easily order an enthusiast special, and enthusiasts can skip the special order from Stuttgart. The T makes a handling-optimized Boxster easy to find, and its ride makes it easy to drive every day.
The MR2 might make a debut in 2024, let's have a look at all the possible technical enhancements and beautification which one could expect.
Toyota globally marketed the MR2 as a fun 2-seater sports car for a term that stretched over a span of 3 decades. They re-designs with each model aimed to overcome the flaws and append additional elements for styling and performance. Even today automotive enthusiasts hail this a majestic model for its best in class and rare mid-engine layout. How would you feel if you got to know that this ageless mini sports car could make an iconic come back soon? Also, have you pondered about how the fresh Mister Two (MR2) would look like?
With the rumor mill churning out reports that the MR2 might make a debut in 2024, let's have a look at all the possible technical enhancements and beautification which one could expect.
The pressing focal point for the designing wizards is to deliver an agile sports car with an emphasis on giving it a modern, sleek, and futuristic makeover. Clean and curved edges will not only enhance its flamboyant features but also be in tune with the operation of the law of aerodynamics. The first look of the revamped version of MR2 rendered digitally based on the archetypal model features a lightweight, dynamic, and easy to steer machine. Further, judging by the rumblings going on for quite a while now, we reckon that it will make a comeback with either an entirely electric or hybrid power train.
Besides that, one can expect a lot of improvements and sophistication in terms of elimination of the mishaps, as noted in the third generation W30 model. There are some wicked renders out there for all our favorite cars, and the MR2’s iconic status makes it one of those cars that have several renders available online.
Even though the idea of reuniting the brands' '90s marquees, namely: the Celica, Supra, and MR2 have just made it to the discussion phase, there are talks in the town that Mr. Akio Toyoda would love to see the three sisters of the yesteryear make a comeback. Toyota has already launched GR Supra and the GT86 in the recent past which can be the replacement for the reconditioned versions of the erstwhile Supra and Celica, respectively.
The past releases hint towards future prospects that Toyota plans to do the same with MR2. Further, just as it collaborated with Subaru and BMW for the production of the 86 and Supra, there may be a probability that another such affiliation may already be in the pipelines.
Since the company is at the forefront to explore the electric car divisions, it may do so by introducing a full-fledged electric-powered prototype. An electric engine sounds fascinating for it would lead to an increase in peak performance measured in terms of horsepower. Drivers can expect an increase in the swiftness and acceleration of the car because of a lower center of gravity because of placing electric batteries under the floor.
All the models launched by Toyota to date, including the more recent ones like 86 and 2.0 Supra coupes, have been able to generate a maximum horsepower of 205 and 255 respectively. We expect the MR2 to glide this number up high to around 300+ HP. Moreover, in case Mr. Toyoda resolves to go for the same he may also have to possibly consider a long-term affiliation with Panasonic since at present it is the leading producer of EV batteries.
The most recent reports of the automobile industry suggest that the day is not far when Toyota will be power-packed to launch a fresh chapter of the MR2.
Minor concessions in comfort return huge gains in driver engagement.
Buying a performance car often costs more than money; it costs comfort and convenience. If you're buying a 2020 Honda Civic Si, though, it doesn't have to.
The Civic Si is essentially a mono-spec vehicle. As such, it rings in at just $26,155, making it one of the cheapest sports cars on the market in the best way possible. For that price, you get 31 more horses than a standard Civic, two-mode electronically controlled dampers, and a limited-slip differential. We spec'd ours with the $200 High-Performance Tire (HPT) option, but aside from that, all you could add to this car are some dress-up parts, a wireless phone charger, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The last two would've been nice, but we easily lived without them.
2020 Honda Civic Si: The Cost Of Caring
The Civic Si doesn't cost much in terms of comfort, either. The standard setting for the adjustable shocks is firmer than that of the average compact sedan, but not much. The shocks get firmer still in Sport mode, but that's just for when you're pushing the car on a good road. The front seats have big bolsters on the sides to keep you in place, but they're big, soft pads, not rigid extensions. If the Si is any louder inside than a standard Civic, it's not enough to notice (interior noise has long been a Civic weak spot).
The Civic Si costs almost nothing so far as convenience is concerned—provided you don't consider driving a stick shift in traffic inconvenient. In sedan guise, it gives up nothing in rear-seat space or access, and you get a big, secure trunk. And although there's no navigation option, it does come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility so you can use your phone's navigation instead.
In fact, the Civic Si is comfortable and convenient enough that my wife and I didn't have a second thought about taking it on a three-hour journey to celebrate our anniversary at a house—with a pool—we rented. I thought for sure we'd stuff the car to the roof with clothes, food, drinks, and entertainment for a week, but we barely filled the trunk. Hours on the freeway to and from were no big deal, as the car was neither too stiff nor too loud for a road trip (nor were the seats too stiff).
On this particular trip, the Honda was just a nice little compact sedan with some extra zip for passing lane hogs. On other trips, especially those up into the mountains to go hiking, it was the best sports sedan for the money on the market (the Civic Type R is a hatchback). The composure of the chassis could teach things to more than a few sports cars that cost three times as much.
2020 Honda Civic Si Sedan: Momentous Performance
The Civic Si is what we call a momentum car. With 205 hp, it's no performance monster, but at 2,900 pounds, it's light enough to chuck about without constantly needing to slam on the stoppers. There's a delightful dance to be had in braking just enough to safely make the corner without losing any more momentum than absolutely necessary. The brakes, which aren't even upgraded past a set of performance pads, stand up to anything you can throw at them, which isn't much because again, you don't really have to slow down much for most corners. On the way out, the Civic Si's limited-slip lets you get back on the power early and pull it out of the corner, making the most of every pony. The manual transmission, the best of any this side of a Porsche, never lets you miss a shift, and the pedals are perfectly spaced for heel-toe downshifting.
Its shortcomings are few and far between. If you're something of a drag racer, this isn't the car for you. Although the Civic Si feels quicker than it is, it's still held back by an engine that lags below 3,000 rpm and runs out of steam a thousand rpm before redline. The little Honda sedan is best when hustled on a road where you can keep both its speed and the engine's speed up. Around town, you're best off shifting before the turbo switches on, and when you're hustling, short-shifting. You'd also be well advised to keep a rag in the car to protect your hand from the cool-looking but scalding-hot or freezing-cold aluminum-topped shifter. When you're done driving, make sure to wait until the engine actually stops running after you switch off the car. If you release the clutch in gear too quickly ... well, it could get ugly.
It's easy to overlook the Civic Si when the Civic Type R is right there on the lot and only $11,500 more, but whether you're on a budget or just not ready to make the compromises its more powerful kin demands, the Si delivers. It's rewarding to drive on the best roads and comfortable on the commute. Ultimately, the Civic Si demands very little in exchange for the fun it provides, leaving you with a practical sedan every other day of the week.
Highlighted by the Sport Turismo wagon model, Porsche's updated Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid gains power, refinement, and 30 percent more electric range.
Recent headlines regarding Porsche's four-door cars have naturally gravitated to the company's new Taycan electric sedan. And given the performance of the 750-hp Taycan Turbo S—the most powerful Porsche currently available—that hype is understandable. But Porsche has partially electrified its Panamera sedan and Sport Turismo wagon (and Cayenne SUV) for several years now with some spectacular results. For the 2021 model year, a range of updates comes to the second-generation Panamera lineup, with the most anticipated of those changes being an uptick in power, performance, and refinement for the range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid models.
Although the Panamera Sport Turismo has been around since 2018, the wagon remains a rare bird, even in car-crazy Los Angeles. Our 2021 Turbo S E-Hybrid test car has been collecting lustful stares all morning, even from a few Tesla drivers. Exterior changes are subtle. Aside from new wheel designs, the previously optional SportDesign front fascia is now standard; a reconfigured SportDesign package, with or without carbon fiber, is in the works. To bring the car's rear end in line with the look of the brand's fresher sports cars and SUVs, a continuous light strip now spreads across its tail. The only upgrade inside is a new steering wheel with simplified audio and information controls. Our German-spec example was not fitted with a panoramic glass roof, but it will remain standard on United States models.
Mechanically, things haven't changed much either. The plug-in Turbo S E-Hybrid retains its all-wheel-drive system, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, and an electric motor integrated into its eight-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission. Engine calibration enhancements have increased the V-8's output from 550 horsepower to 563. Peak torque stays at 567 pound-feet, and the electric motor contributes an additional 134 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. As a result, combined horsepower climbs from 680 to 690. And with 642 pound-feet of total torque plus a low 5.97:1 first gear, hard launches strain back muscles and rearrange bodily fluids more than ever. Tummies twizzle.
Porsche says the updates shorten the wagon's 60-mph dash from 3.2 seconds to 3.0 flat, but we've already clocked a 2.7-second run from a 2018 Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, which also covered the quarter-mile in 11.0 seconds at 126 mph. We won't know for sure until we get the updated car to the test track, but the 2021 model should shave a tenth of a second from those times. Porsche also claims a 196-mph top speed, which is an increase of 4 mph. We'll buy it.
The most significant powertrain upgrade is an increase in battery capacity from 14.1 kWh to 17.9 kWh, which ups the Turbo S E-Hybrid's all-electric driving range by 30 percent. On a full charge in the E-Power driving mode, there are now enough electrons for about 20 miles of travel. But get aggressive with the throttle, and the V-8 fires up quickly to deliver a boost of power.
Hybrid mode maximizes the system's efficiency by blending both power sources with remarkable refinement, running the engine only when necessary to either charge the battery or answer your request for harder acceleration. "We spent a lot of time under the hood optimizing engine and suspension systems to enhance the bandwidth between performance and comfort," said Thomas Friemuth, vice president of the Panamera model line. EPA fuel-economy estimates aren't finalized yet, but the current car's 48-MPGe and 20-mpg combined ratings aren't expected to change.
Sport and Sport Plus modes keep the engine running and retune the transmission for more immediate response. They also dial up the volume of the active exhaust system, giving the V-8 a thumpy idle and a pleasant growl. The Turbo S E-Hybrid's adjustable air springs use the same hardware as before, but ride quality has been improved, and the range between the suspension's three settings have been broadened. Normal is a bit softer than before and Sport Plus a bit stiffer, but each setup retains the relatively supple ride quality and excellent body control that we've previously been impressed with.
The Turbo S E-Hybrid's regenerative braking system helps replenish the battery pack rather quickly. A half hour of moderately quick driving in the hills above Malibu increased our indicated electric range from 7 to 21 miles. Porsche has also made some adjustments to the Panamera's Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport system, which governs the car's active anti-roll bars, torque-vectoring system, rear-axle steering, and more. There's more steering feel than in other big sedans and wagons, and a new electromechanical brake booster seems to have eliminated the brake pedal's previously squishy transition from regenerative to friction braking. Massive carbon-ceramic rotors with Acid Green-painted calipers are still standard.
Porsche continues to mount the battery pack under the Turbo S E-Hybrid's cargo floor to help balance the weight of the chassis, which helps lend the car incredible grip and agility. You can notice some road noise from the updated 21-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S summer tires (275/35R-21s in front and 325/30R-21s in the rear), but their impressive grip is a fair tradeoff. Despite weighing around 5300 pounds, we recorded 0.99 g of stick on the skidpad from the previous version of this electrified wagon. While it does feel big and heavy on the road, it's also seriously quick, stupendously stable, and it simply explodes from corner to corner.
Pricing for Turbo S E-Hybrid versions of the Panamera and Panamera Sport Turismo will be released closer to the cars' availability in spring, but we'd expect slight increases over their current base prices of $189,050 and $193,050, respectively. With its improved performance and additional refinement, we could make a case for the top Sport Turismo model as Porsche's best all-around car. Sure, both the electric Taycan Turbo S and the updated 911 Turbo S are quicker, and we'd rather have one of the company's GT sports cars for pure driving joy. But none of them combines speed, comfort, efficiency, and versatility as stupefyingly well as the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. It may be the perfect ride for the deep-pocketed enthusiast with a family and a single parking space.
Back on the road, and a run to the track for some revealing numbers.
As travel restrictions lifted, we hit the road in our 2020 Toyota Supra, and we've added more than 5,000 city and highway miles since the first update. As a result, our once-empty-road fuel economy (27 mpg average) is now more representative of real-world driving at 25 mpg. The EPA estimates 26 combined, so we're close. A couple long drives that nearly drained the tank proved the Supra can be quite miserly, returning 30 to 31 mpg.
Not only are we driving more, we had an opportunity to run to our test facility to see how this 3.0 Premium measures up against two "Launch Editions" we tested last year. There's no difference in hardware, only a 21-pound weight difference, so we didn't expect a difference in performance.
We were right; identical 0-60 mph times (3.9 seconds), the same quarter-mile times (12.5 seconds) and trap speeds were all within a half mph of one another. The three are separated by 7 feet braking from 60 mph, with ours in the middle at 103 feet. Lateral acceleration on the skidpad was a dead heat with all three posting an average of 1.01 g. On our "race track in a bottle" figure-eight test, they were separated by 0.4 second, ours bringing up the rear with a 24.3-second lap.
Supra Testing Notes
During the quarter-mile acceleration runs, the test driver commented, "It really doesn't matter if TC [traction control] is on or off, there's a just-right amount of wheelspin regardless. Launch control does the same thing, as well. Very consistent, but it can feel a little dicey until the shift to second gear. Sounds great as it upshifts at redline."
Regarding the braking test, he said, "Brakes (and tires) like a little heat as the distances grew shorter. Firm pedal, very little dive, and no squirm to speak of. Highly controlled, even from 100 mph. In order: 106, 106, 103, 104 feet." For sports cars, we do at least one stop from 100 mph to ascertain a theoretical 0-100-0 mph time. Our Supra earned a highly respectable 13.9-second time.
All things considered, the Supra is living up to its lineage, convoluted as it may be with this generation.
Porsche's entry-level 911 doesn't have a big horsepower number, but it has the performance goods to justify its price.
12/1/20 UPDATE: This review has been updated with test results for a 911 Carrera equipped with the automatic.
This is very likely the least expensive new Porsche 911 you'll ever lay eyes on. At $106,290, it has a mere $7540 in options, which, if you don't believe is a picture of restraint, go spend a few minutes on Porsche's online configurator. This car had just four add-ons: a Sport Exhaust system ($2950); the Sport Chrono package, which includes launch control ($2720); Lane Change Assist, which most other automakers call blind-spot detection ($1060); and Sport Seats Plus ($810). Let's see if the extreme low end of the 911 lineup lives up to six-figure sports-car expectations.
A peak horsepower figure of only 379 from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six is not a great start toward credibility. A V-6 Camry also has a power figure that starts with a 3 yet costs a third as much, and there are many examples of more for less when it comes to maximizing underhood output.
HIGHS: Legit performance, curb weight has been kept in check, outstanding highway fuel economy.
But the 911 is deceptive. In the new-for-2020 992-generation 911, an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission—PDK in Porsche parlance—replaces the previous seven-speed unit. Its general brilliance in terms of both quickness and smoothness is familiar, although the car we drove did bobble a couple of shifts before it was fully up to temperature. Also familiar is Porsche's simple and extremely effective launch-control function, which revs the engine to 5000 rpm before dropping the hammer and perfectly slipping the clutch. The engine speed never drops below 4000 rpm as the car makes a smooth and very swift departure. And it is happy to repeat this launch-toward-the-horizon routine just as often as you'd like. Our test car made consistent, repeated passes of 3.2 seconds to 60 mph and 11.5 seconds through the quarter-mile, which are 0.1- and 0.3-second quicker, respectively, than the 2017 911 Carrera with the PDK that we previously tested. Those results also make the base car just 0.3-second slower than the 443-hp Carrera S in both measures.
Besides the phenomenal performance bargain that is the latest Chevrolet Corvette, any sports car that outruns the 911 costs substantially more. One reason for its more-with-less performance is that the 911 has kept its weight gain in better check than many of its peers. This car weighs just 57 pounds more than before, making it roughly 300 pounds lighter than today's Corvette. Despite adding inches and turbos, the 911 doesn't weigh even 100 pounds more than the 15-year-old 997-generation cars.
In addition to straight-line acceleration, the fundamentals of a great sports car are all here. The 911's buildup in steering effort is just right, and it's constantly atwitter with road-surface information. This is electrically assisted steering done properly. Interestingly, the lid of the center console bin is surprisingly talkative, too. Resting an elbow there intercepts the communicatory tingles of what the car happens to be trampling over at the moment. The 911 also continues to prove the point that seats don't need a lot of adjustments. The headrest on our lightly optioned car is fixed, and there's manual fore-aft, and power adjustment for height and seatback angle and bottom height. That's it, and yet they fit both the short and the tall commendably well. The additional bolstering of the $810 Sport Seats Plus option is soft enough to not be restrictive nor fatiguing on longer drives. Brake feel is nigh on perfect, with telepathic responses and no lost motion. Aided by its rear-heavy weight distribution, the 911's stopping distances of 139 feet from 70 mph and 277 from 100 mph are up there with the best of the best.
LOWS: Base interior has some cheapness, even lightly optioned 911s cost six figures.
We appreciate that changing the 911's drive mode doesn't cause the steering effort or ride control to go overboard in either direction. The tweaks in its calibrations are subtle, and there isn't a bad mode. The only element that makes us roll our eyes is the three artificial-sounding pops that accompany a lift of the throttle in Sport mode, which disappear in Sport Plus. Both sporty modes raise the idle speed from 600 to 800 rpm for a little extra responsiveness. Those who listen for it can hear the turbo hiss from the blow-off valve, but this latest twin-turbo 3.0-liter retains the gritty flat-six undertones that we love, no doubt emboldened by the optional Sport Exhaust on our car. Every 911 has a little piece of the 9000-rpm GT3 rock.
As far as sports cars go, the 911's ride smoothness is reasonable. But on under-maintained roads, it can get clompy over bumps and pavement seams, especially with the narrower sidewall and higher-pressure rear tires. Remember that the 992 went to a staggered-diameter wheel arrangement with 19-inch fronts and 20-inch rears as standard and available 20/21s.
When not wailing, the engine settles below 1800 rpm at 75 mph, allowing for an outstanding 33 mpg on our highway fuel-economy loop, the best result from any 911 we've ever run. That's 2 to 3 mpg better than its 992 S and 4S siblings and also 3 mpg better than the best previous-gen 991 (a Carrera 4 automatic). Despite the improved real-world fuel economy, for some unknown reason the EPA values took a huge hit in the 992 generation, dropping from a 30-mpg highway estimate to 24 for a base car with the automatic transmission.
Base also means a uniformly grained black interior, which, although soft to the touch, is not as convincing in the six-figure space as are the leather-upgrade options that start at $2840. The only thing breaking up the monotony is the knurled gray trim extending from the door handle and on the ridge under the center screen running across the dash.
Surrounding the shifter is a large area of stark piano-black trim, which no amount of money can fix, as even the $204,850 Turbo S doesn't fill in any of its blankness. This is a carryover from the four-door Panamera, which populates this area with controls. There are window-switch blanks, too, as Porsche is deploying shared hardware across car lines with different door counts. A big, beautiful mechanical tachometer remains in the middle of the 911's now otherwise digital gauge cluster. But we miss the depth of the previous mechanical gauges that flanked it.
Also new on the 992 are power door handles that pop out to facilitate opening. Our early-build car, however, didn't have the $550 Comfort Access option that prompts them to present themselves automatically when you approach the car. Having to get the fob out of your pocket to actuate the handles and then squirreling it right back away because keyless ignition is standard is the kind of slight annoyance that we think people who plunk down $100K on a car will find obnoxious. Porsche apparently agreed, as it made Comfort Access standard mid-way through the 2020 model year.
Of course, the 911 retains its familiar small rear seats, an all-important point of justification to wannabe sports-car buyers with small children. That means in addition to outperforming and outdriving most of its peers, it also outseats them. Yes, even the base 911 resoundingly stacks up as a six-figure sports car. Although we would feel compelled to upgrade the interior a little if it were our money.
Ferrari builds a modern GT without relying on the design tropes of the past.
The Ferrari Roma's start button isn't a button. It's an iPad-like touch-sensitive switch at the bottom of the steering wheel. And it's but one of many functions crammed onto the helm. Even after spending 30 hours with the car, we were still uncovering new ones. Ferrari isn't relying on its heritage here. This is only the second V-8-powered front-engine GT coupe in the brand's history—the first being the 2018 GTC4Lusso T, which was the refreshed FF with four fewer cylinders. No, with the Roma, Ferrari focused on making a 21st-century grand-touring car with an almost all-digital interface and without a goofy retractable roof.
Sure, the hardtop convertible Portofino is still around, and there's a lot of Portofino in the Roma, but the Roma is some 200 pounds lighter and 20 horses more powerful, with a 612-hp version of Ferrari's twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8. The upcoming Portofino M will match that output, but it won't rectify the weight discrepancy. And while all three of these Ferraris have an engine that roars like artillery, the Roma is prettiest.
It has the face of a shark. The fenders flare like a Sophia Loren sigh, and the bodywork is free of holes, vents, and gouges. The razor-edge taillights look nothing like the usual round Ferrari fare. The Roma and Portofino share a 105.1-inch wheelbase and their basic suspension design, but the Roma is 0.7 inch lower, 1.4 inches wider, and at 183.3 inches long, 2.7 inches longer overall.
The 561-lb-ft torque peak comes up at 3000 rpm and stays there until 5750 rpm, with plenty beyond that to the 7500-rpm redline. Pop the hood and the Ferrari V-8 looks as good as the body. There's no plastic sound-insulation cover here.
Read more: 2023 Ferrari Dino
Pull the right carbon-fiber paddle shifter and the rear-mounted, Magna-made eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle loads first gear. The Roma is the first of Ferrari's GTs to include a Race setting for the stability and traction-control system. Turn the manettino selector on the steering wheel to Race and the car growls and gets down to the business of ground flying.
Shifted with the paddles, the eight-speed reacts instantly. Downshift into a corner and the car squats flatly, takes a set at the apex, and bolts confidently. The system allows a bit of tail slide, but on public roads, it's hard to get to the cornering velocity where the 285/35ZR-20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires will break free. What's available even in Comfort mode is perfectly calibrated steering and the thrill of feeling the 245/35ZR-20 Michelins up front bite into the surface.
We expect this Ferrari to eclipse 60 mph in 3.1 seconds when launch mode is activated, but the exhaust drama and pull of the engine make it seem even quicker than that. And the Roma is beguiling at triple-digit speeds. It also has a hilarious rear seat and a reasonably sized 10-cubic-foot trunk.
Roma prices start at $222,420. The version driven here carried an option load that put it at $316,240. Skip the $11,812 carbon-fiber rear diffuser, the $5906 front spoiler you're bound to scratch, the $4725 carbon-fiber dashboard inserts, and a few other bits, and a Roma could be a great quarter-million-dollar Ferrari. In the prancing-horse world, that's a bargain.