Ferrari Roma Spider has a lot of explaining to do. This is done for us by the man responsible for its creation

Ferrari’s new roadster is a car that, in parallel with the admiration for its lines, raises many questions. Why was it created almost four years after the Roma coupe’s debut? Does it replace the Portofino M? Why does it have a fabric top? Emanuele Carando, Ferrari’s Commercial Director, answers all of this and much more.

We are standing next to a car that I never expected to be created in my life. Why did Ferrari create the Roma Spider?

Ferrari tries to be unpredictable and change the market rules of the game with each new deal. We have the privilege that our clients already have everything. They are looking for new experiences. When they enter our world, they want to be surprised. This is how we meet their expectations.

Why was the Portofino M model still in production for so long, while the Roma Spider had already been waiting in the starting blocks for a long time?

The Portofino M and Roma Spider are two different cars. They already differ in body design. The new roadster is more elegant, whereas the Portofino M built a sportier vibe with its appearance. The Portofino M is a true “two-in-one” – it is a roadster as much as a coupe, it even looks like a full-fledged coupe when the metal top is folded down.

The Roma Spider is also fully versatile – its 255-litre boot is similar in size to that of the Roma coupe – but here we offer the full Spider experience. This is a car with which we speak to a different audience: lovers of the wind in their hair. Driving the Roma Spider with the top and side windows down is like riding a motorbike.

We know the relationship between the Roma Spider and the Portofino M. And how does it compare between the Roma Spider and the already well-known Roma coupe? Won’t these models take away clients?

They won’t for the simple reason that when the production of the Roma Spider ramps up, we will be already ending the production of the closed counterpart. We have already sold out the entire production pool of the Roma coupe. We will continue to produce it for another year or so, but we are no longer taking new orders for it. In this way, we fulfil the promise made by the founder of our brand to produce “one car less than demand.” Or even, for that matter, many, many less… In parallel to the models mentioned above, production of the Portofino M will also continue for some time.

The main difference between the Roma Spider and the Portofino M is the presence of a fabric top. Why did Ferrari decide to return to it?

It was a difficult decision precisely because we were able to bring the construction of the metal folding top to such a technically advanced stage already. However, we wanted to offer our clients something completely different and new. We have not had a model of this type – a soft-top convertible with the engine in front of the cabin – in our offer for 52 years. Previously it was the 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider presented in 1971.

Someone might say that this is going backwards, but the truth is exactly the opposite. The compact fabric top allowed the neat, proportional form of the rear known from the closed version to be retained. The material construction opens and closes in 13.5 seconds – so it is also faster than the previous solution. It also offers our clients new personalisation options: four standard roof colours and one special roof colour made of a material with a three-dimensional effect. Individualisation will be further enhanced by contrast stitching.

One of the reasons we didn’t use it from the 1960s until now was the simple fact that fabric tops were just not good enough. After years, they finally meet our expectations in terms of quality, durability, driving comfort and dynamic characteristics of the car.

What has changed in the interior?

Almost nothing: due to the very good reception from clients, we left the cabin design without major changes. We only used the updated software that has also been present for some time in the closed-body Roma and the ergonomically improved steering wheel from the Purosangue model. However, a deflector mounted in the rear of the cabin is a complete novelty in the entire automotive industry. It’s a device composed of a single component that, when raised by pushing a button, eliminates noise and wind gusts from the cabin up to speeds as high as 180 km/h. It’s amazing that such an effect was achieved with the help of an apparently shamelessly simple solution.

And is it not the case that the Roma Spider was introduced in place of the Portofino M as part of a simplification of the brand’s range? You’ll admit that there are now really a lot of models in it and someone who is not a dedicated Ferrari fan might get lost in it. Now, at least, he knows that the base of the offer is Roma – in open and closed versions.

We regularly hear concerns prophesying that Ferrari will increase its production to such an extent that the unrivalled exclusivity of the brand will be lost once and for all. I can assure you that this will not happen. At the same time, however, I have to respond to ever-increasing demand from an ever-widening group of people from all parts of the world, who are recording ever-higher incomes and expect more and more from life. We maintain our exclusivity by creating ever new, more precisely tailored models for them. We have presented as many as 15 of them between 2018 and 2022, but the level of exclusivity of each has remained unwavering.

Does this make the Ferrari range complicated? Well, it needs to be explained. Navigating it is not made any easier by the constant changes in model names. Some of the other car brands on the market have been using the same names unchanged for 50 or 60 years. Of course, it would have been easier if we had also made a Ferrari California, then a California II, a California III and so on… However, we are not going down that road because we believe that every single model of our brand is a work of art. And each work of art is unique and has an irreplaceable title.

This also involves one inconspicuous detail that few people pay attention to: we never present our entire product range in a single photo. Indeed, in the case of Ferrari, the concept of the existence of a model range – at least in the sense in which it applies to mass manufacturers – can be questioned. When a client enters our showroom, we don’t greet them with the words: “Good morning, these are our products, please decide what you like.” Instead, we want to understand the client’s needs and, based on this, match them with the suitable model from our offer. It’s like visiting a tailor. When you go to a good tailor, the tailor will look at you, tell you your size and indicate which materials and other details will suit your suit. The client does not have to learn the entire offer of the place to make the best decision.

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