Has it been 50 years? In 1973, Ferrari debuted the soft-topped 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider. Five decades after the last of those convertibles left the Maranello, Italy factory, Ferrari recently announced the Prancing Horse will gain be worn on a soft-top, front-engined grand tourer.
The automaker took the veil off the roofless Roma with “Spider” at the end of its name. The Roma Spider will replace the Portofino M as the new entry-level Ferrari. A company spokesperson confirmed the news to Road and Track.
The new Roma Spider is complete with a retractable, woven fabric soft-top and a powerful, turbocharged V8. Ferrari reworked several mechanical elements to make the Roma Spider as road-worthy as its coupe counterpart. The soft-top, available in two finishes, can operate at speeds of up to 37 mph and can open or close in 13.5 seconds.
Ferrari exterior designers didn’t meddle much with Roma’s aesthetics. The rear spoiler was redone and tweaked to compensate for suboptimal aerodynamics that come with top-down driving; it has three downforce modes that increase aerodynamic grip as the speedometer rises. The rear chassis has also been modified to be tougher and more rigid since there’s no longer a hardtop.
Such changes result in a weight increase of 185 pounds and a change in weight distribution eliminating the previous generation’s 50/50 distribution. The extra rear weight results in 48/52 distribution — still impressive.
The Roma Spider’s performance is equally impressive, clocking in a Ferrari estimated 3.4 seconds. The Roma coupe’s eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and 3.9-liter, turbocharged V8 produce 620 horsepower and revving to 7,500 rpm.
The engine isn’t a carbon copy and nor is the transmission despite being borrowed from the coupe. Ferrari noted the Spider comes standard with a revised oil pump that speeds up the cold start process and increases flow midway through the rev range, as well as modifying the gearbox to aid in fuel economy.
Minor revisions inside the cabin are expected to provide major improvements. Ferrari added a nolder — a 5mm aerodynamic element to manage cabin airflow — above the windshield in addition to having the ability to move the rear headrests up and out to create a wind deflector. Steering wheel buttons have also been subject to change as they are now easier to use and glow red for greater visibility.
These small changes allow Ferrari to retain the same modern and simplistic interior design found in the original Roma coupe. The 8.4-inch, vertically-integrated touchscreen, metal trim and leather upholstery are themes present in the new Spider and existing coupe. But numerous additional creature comforts make the Roma Spider a daily-drivable vehicle. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are included as are several leather seating options.
The Roma Spider’s arrival date and starting price haven’t been revealed. Considering the coupe’s $250,000 starting price, expect the Spider variant to command a $280,000 starting price.
Mason Bloom, a sophomore at Aptos High School on the California central coast, is a reporter for TheWeeklyDriver.com. When he’s not writing industry news or new car reviews, he’s reporting on motorsport events or playing golf.