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An S.U.V.? Ferrari Sees the Writing on the Road


He added, “Our exclusivity won’t be jeopardized because we have new members of the family.”

Consider the Ferrari Roma a flirty letter to those prospective buyers — perhaps wrapped in a “Blu Corsa” bow, like the model I recently drove in upstate New York. If I squinted, the cliff-hung curves overlooking the Hudson River, including Storm King Highway near West Point, might have been the Italian Riviera, considering the Roma’s alluring lines and 612-horsepower performance.

For 70 percent of owners, Mr. Galliera estimates, the Roma will be their first Ferrari. That’s not merely because, at $222,620 to start, the Roma is easily the most affordable Ferrari coupe. The Roma is also a two-plus-two GT with surprising weekend luggage space, a livable ride — including an adjustable magnetic suspension — and a less swaggering demeanor than models like the new, $276,000 F8 Tributo.

“We were looking for something with a little more understated elegance,” Mr. Galliera said of the Roma. “It’s an F1 car in evening dress.”

Yet the Roma is not built solely for red-carpet entrances: The blue bullet I drove can launch to 60 miles an hour in 3.4 seconds, and nip 200 m.p.h.

The Roma’s romantic curves do offer whispers of great Ferraris past, such as the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso. But the Roma is no exercise in retro nostalgia, often thumbing its pretty nose at company traditions. Below the stretched hood thrums a twin-turbocharged V-8, not a naturally aspirated V-12, whose high-revving howl was once inseparable from the company myth. That includes Ferrari’s first road car, the 125 S of 1947, whose near-miniature, 1.5-liter V-12 had critics dismissing Enzo Ferrari as “a nut case” but quickly proved its worth in racing.

The Roma further adopts a brake-by-wire system and digital displays, designed to minimize distractions and keep a driver’s hands on the steering wheel. Readouts include a striking digital tachometer that animates the blazing yellow background and sweeping marker needle — complete with digitized shadows — of Ferrari’s classic analog tach.

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