Ferrari – The power of red

Building cars is easy. Building dreams is much harder. Ferrari have been doing it for over 70 years.

Ferrari. Is there a more powerful name in the world? Studies say there is not. For the second year running, the Italian car maker has been considered the strongest brand on the planet. Not car brand, mind you – the strongest brand of any brand in any market, anywhere.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, on January 22, Brand Finance CEO David Haig announced the results of his company’s annual study to identify the most relevant global brands and Ferrari came out on top, just like it had done in 2019. Disney took second place.

Ferrari’s brand valuation is calculated at 9.1 billion USD with a 9% growth year on year, due to rising sales and overall brand strength. The Brand Strength Index recognises a score of 94.1 out of 100, the highest of any brand and one of only 12 names in the world with AAA+ rating.

Now remember that this is a small automotive constructor located in a small Italian town, producing around 8,000 cars a year. Amidst the electric revolution, Ferrari still builds the world’s most fascinating internal combustion engines and still appeals to a wide audience, be it those who can buy such a car, or those who will spend their lives imagining what it would be like doing so.

Ferrari is expanding its portfolio to reach every possible niche within the supercar world. At the end of 2019, it showed the world the magnificent Roma, the latest super GT that pays tribute to Italy’s romantic capital.

The Roma is a successor to the grand touring models of the 1960s, where sporty elegance met refined styling and absolute elegance. The first front-engined V8 coupé in the history of the Prancing Horse has a minimalist approach to design, removing any vents or superfluous decorations.

Ferrari’s design chief Flavio Manzoni is as much a designer as he is an artist, and ever since Ferrari started creating its designs in-house (breaking a lifelong partnership with Pininfarina), the Sardinia-born Manzoni had a very clear idea of what the brand’s path should be. He has vindicated that idea in a series of beautiful cars, of which the Roma is the latest example. Pure of form and perfect in proportion, this coupé is yet another masterpiece.

Inside, a new architectural layout introduces a modern vision for a Ferrari cabin. Manzoni wanted to create two separate cells – one for the driver, one for the passenger – exploring further the concept of the Dual Cockpit already seen in prior models. There is a certain organic sense of creation in the symmetrical structure of the Roma that defines the space inside and the perception of such space, in order to make any journey as comfortable and as refined as possible.

Obviously, this being a Ferrari, the character of the Roma’s cabin oozes sporty elegance, using a modern language and a choice of high-quality materials with typical Italian taste: full-grain Frau leather, Alcantara, chromed aluminium and carbon-fibre. It is all very sophisticated, very timeless.

The Roma will certainly look just as spectacular in 10 or 20 years as it does today. Ferrari say this idea of timelessness of the Roma embodies a new philosophy they call “La Nuova Dolce Vita”, where a car is a tool for the enjoyment of life, not a way to go from A to B.

The V8 engine in the Roma is a development of the turbo family voted International Engine of the Year for four years in a row. With 620 horsepower from a 3.9cc displacement, it reaches 100km/h in a mere 3.4 seconds and tops 320km/h. This may be a comfortable and usable grand tourer, but it must use its Ferrari badge with pride – and the performance is a testament to that.

The new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox is 6kg lighter than the previous seven-speed and helps reduce consumption and emissions while providing faster and smoother shifts. The clutch itself is 20% more compact and offers 35% more torque, creating a more consistent feel to the paddles.

As with other models, the Roma incorporates the Variable Boost Management, a software developed to adjust the torque delivery according to the selected gear. More revs, more torque (up to 760 Nm), in order to offer a consistent rise in the delivery of the performance available, which in turn makes the car that much more exciting to drive.

To enhance the acoustic pleasures of every trip, Ferrari has redesigned the entire exhaust system, eliminating the two real silencers and reducing backpressure in the tailpipes. The result is a characterful and rich soundtrack, instantly recognisable and completely unique in the automotive world.

The Ferrari Roma is the four-wheeled materialization of a company in rude health and with a clear vision for the future. When you build dreams, you have the power to live in people’s imagination forever. Clearly, that is what the Prancing Horse continues to do. The world’s strongest brand just keeps on getting stronger.

By Guilherme Marques