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MOTORING

What’s it like to drive a Ferrari?

Words by Nathan Irvine

EDGAR’s Nathan Irvine reflects on his first time with a vehicle he’s been pining for since he was in short pants. But could it live up to the expectation?

I’ve been a fan of Ferrari for as long as I can remember. My toy car collection as a kid contained every type of car that Matchbox ever felt worthy to diecast, but it was only the red Ferrari’s that remained scuff and scratch-free. They weren’t in the box with the rest, they were on a shelf away from danger. As a young boy I had a Ferrari Testarossa poster on my bedroom wall, which was later framed to protect it from damage. I had no real concept of money back then, but I had aspirations to own that car one day.

Fast forward a few decades, and there still isn’t a vehicle name that sets my heart racing more than Ferrari. And, more importantly, I actually got the chance to drive one.

I’ve been lucky enough to take all manner of cars out for a spin in the name of journalism, but Ferrari – for one reason or another – had eluded me. Until now. The anticipation I built up between the initial confirmation and actually getting behind the wheel was palpable. I felt as giddy as I was when I was ten years old. I’d never felt like this about any other test drive before. Sure, I’d been exciting, but this… this was something else.

In Pictures. 2021 Ferrari Roma

Photos.

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Image supplied Even the gloomiest skies can't take the glow of the Ferrari Roma

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Image supplied Even the gloomiest skies can't take the glow of the Ferrari Roma

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Image supplied Fits in nicely with that yacht life

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Image supplied A stunning backdrop to a fantastic car

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Image supplied A stunning backdrop to a fantastic car

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Image supplied A peek inside the dream machine

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Image supplied Quad exhaust pipes really ripple as you drive

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Image supplied Quad exhaust pipes really ripple as you drive

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Image supplied Sophistication personified

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Image supplied That hand-stitched leather trim is *chef's kiss*

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Image supplied That hand-stitched leather trim is *chef's kiss*

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Image supplied Picture perfect

Could it be magic?

I'd always thought my first Ferrari drive would be in a bright red one. Alas, my introduction to the Prancing Horse was a far more subtle gunmetal hue of the Ferrari Roma – the new front-engine coupe. It’s a car that looks like it’s been lifted out of another era, which is no surprise when you consider it has been designed to capture the laidback Roman lifestyle of the 1950s and 60s. It’s curvy, yet powerful looking. It is unmistakably a Ferrari and oozes style.

A whole range of emotions swept over me once I was free to start it and drive off. I was anxious about driving it as I was little scared that this big moment would fall flat, as it suddenly felt like every other car I’d driven. Like that phrase “never meet your heroes” I was worried this would burst my bubble. Thankfully, for every moment behind the wheel I got exactly what I wanted. It may have been my mind playing tricks, but the Ferrari experience was worth the wait.

From the famous black on yellow logo on the steering to the way the engine revs into action, my arms were full of goosebumps. It’s a cliché, sure, but it’s also the truth. The Ferrari Roma – I was told before I set off – isn’t quite as fast as the others in the manufacturer’s stable, but with an angry V8 under the hood that can hurtle to 100kmh in 3.4 seconds, it’s plenty fast.

Image Supplied

Ferrari Roma Specifications

Engine

V8 twin-turbo

Power

612 bhp @ 7,500 rpm

Transmission

Automatic, 8-speed

0-100 kmh

3.4 seconds

Top Speed

320 kmh

Price

AED 900,000

Showstopper

One of my favourite things about the Ferrari Roma is just how well controlled acceleration is on the gas pedal. I felt I could control every single increase in kmh with the faintest of touches – something I’ve never had until now. You feel at one with the beast. Like it reacts to your handling and need for speed almost telepathically. It’s exactly how I dreamed driving a Ferrari would be – smooth, powerful and full of deeply satisfying exhaust pops as you gun it.

I had neighbours swinging by our place to take a look at what was peeking out of the covered parking. They were fascinated by the Ferrari Roma’s lines, and I was only too happy to take them out in it to show them exactly what it could do. Everyone got out of the car with a bigger grin than when they initially sat in it.

A moment that will stick with me from my time with the Ferrari Roma was as I was driving slowly out of our community. As a young lad – no more than eight or nine years old – did a double-take of the car as it approached, then stood with his mouth wide open in astonishment as I rolled past him. It was clear this was his first up close sighting of a Ferrari and it reminded me of exactly how I felt back when I was a lad. I don’t think I’ll ever shake that feeling, and I doubt he will either. Ferrari can do this to people.

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