The eight-speed dual-clutch ’box even likes mooching in auto mode – maybe a bit too much, as it’s very reluctant to kick down. Better to take control with the paddles, the response to which is instant.
Drive a bit harder and you quickly run into the conservative traction control setting of Comfort mode. Moving up to Sport isn’t the jump I expected – slightly firmer, a bit more noise, but the car’s character remains fundamentally the same.
Race is where things get exciting. You get more noise (noise is the word – let’s not go there again) and the gearbox thumps home upshifts (unnecessarily uncouth, but many people seem to like that kind of theatre). More interesting is that the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer kicks in. It’s effectively a combination of torque vectoring by braking and a more permissive stability control setting.
The Roma lacks the CT-off mode of some spicier Ferraris that lets you take some sideways angle, but Race is still very well suited to the road, allowing the car to tighten its line on the throttle without ever letting things get so wild that it requires great skill to keep the car on the road.
The steering has the same ratio as in the coupé, but the engineers say the softer suspension and body mean it’s slowed down in practice. It’s still Ferrari steering, so you wouldn’t call it anything other than quick, but it doesn’t require the familiarisation that we noted with the coupé. While it’s not fizzing with feedback, there’s enough to combine with the unburstable front grip and a small but perfectly checked amount of body roll to tell what’s happening and give you massive confidence in the car.
Enough to go all the way and twist the manettino to the end, which disengages the ESC and releases the Roma’s balance. There’s still massive traction, and when it’s breached, the car rotates fairly quickly, but the quick steering gives you the tools to catch the oversteer, making it exciting rather than scary.