Ferrari is bringing back the front-engine soft-top for the first time in more than five decades.
The Prancing Horse has just unveiled the new Roma Spyder, a convertible version of the automaker’s V-8 grand tourer. It’ll be the marque’s first front-engined model to feature a retractable fabric roof since the 365GTS/4, according to Car and Driver. And that soft-top was released way back in 1969.
If you found yourself wondering what Ferrari’s gorgeous everyday driver would look like without a roof when it debuted in 2019, it would seem that you weren’t alone. The answer, unsurprisingly, is quite chic. The roadster retains the standard vehicle’s long nose and smooth curves. In fact, the only real difference you’ll spot is the lack of a roof. It’s been replaced by a fabric top that can be erected in just 13.5 seconds at speeds of up to 37 mph. That could come in handy if you end up driving into an unexpected rainstorm.
The removal of the roof and installation of the hardware needed to retract the fabric top required a couple of important modifications. The first was strengthening the chassis’s rear portion to support the additional 185 pounds of weight from the system. The car’s active rear spoiler has also been redesigned to accommodate driving with the top down. It has three positions, each of which produces more downforce as the convertible speeds up.
The interior has received some subtle reworking, too. The front, with its leather seats and 8.4-inch vertical infotainment touchscreen, remains the same, but a wind deflector has been integrated into the backrests of the rear seats. It can be deployed at the touch of a button, but only if no one is sitting on the cramped rear bench. The new element reduces wind noise when the top is down. When it is up, Ferrari says its multi-layer fabric material provides the same “acoustic comfort” as the removable and retractable hard-tops it usually uses.
The Roma’s turbocharged 3.9-liter V-8 has been left untouched—and with good reason. It’s mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic that sends 612 hp and 561 ft lbs of torque to the rear wheels. No performance numbers were mentioned, but the coupe can rocket from zero to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 199 mph. The convertible will probably be a tad slower but still in the same neighborhood.
Ferrari hasn’t said how much the Roma Spyder will cost but expect it to come in higher than the standard grand tourer’s current $247,310 starting price. A release date hasn’t been announced either, but you can expect it to go into production sometime this year. If we’re lucky, deliveries will begin while it’s still warm out.
Click here more photos of the Ferrari Roma Spyder.