ROME -- Ferrari hopes the elegant look and "less intimidating" power of its new Roma 2+2 coupe will help to win over deep-pocketed customers who currently pick SUVs for their daily drive.
"The Roma is designed to attract an important number of new customers to Ferrari," Chief Marketing Officer Enrico Galliera said at the car's unveiling on Wednesday at Rome's monumental Foro Italico sports complex, which hosted the 1960s Olympic Games.
"The largest group among them will be car buyers who drive luxury SUVs or sedans and have never owned a proper sports car," he said.
Galliera said the world is full of lucky people who can afford Ferrari cars but only 0.05 percent of them actually buy them.
"Most of them don't buy a Ferrari because they don't know how fun it is to drive one. We want to lower barriers with a less intimidating car," he said.
The car is aimed at customers who "prize understatement and like to drive their car every day," Galliera said.
Ferrari said the Roma's clean, harmonious and elegant styling contributes to the understated look.
"It's like a Formula One car in evening dress," Chief Designer Flavio Manzoni said.
Customers will have the option not to have the Ferrari badge on the side of the car. "The idea was to make the Roma's shape as simple as possible," Manzoni said.
The Roma was inspired by Ferrari's mid-front-engine grand tourers (GTs) such as the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso and 250 GT 2+2.
GTs from the 1960s are among the most popular Ferrari models at auctions. They are designed to be more comfortable on long journeys than sports cars. Ferrari has said that GT models could make up about 40 percent of its total sales by 2022, up from 32 percent now.
The Roma is named after Italy's capital city (Roma in Italian) and Ferrari hopes it will be associated "with the carefree, pleasurable way of life that characterized Rome in the 1950s and 1960s."
It is powered by a 612-hp (620 cv), 3.9-liter, V-8 mid-front mounted engine, coupled with an 8-speed dual clutch gearbox first used by Ferrari on the SF90 Stradale, the company's first series-production hybrid unveiled earlier this year.
The Roma's power to weight ratio of 2.37 kilos per metric horse power (cv), which enhances handling dynamics and responsiveness, is the best in its segment, making it light and easy to drive, Ferrari said.
Its starting price will be at the lower end of the company's price range at just over 200,000 euros ($220,463) in Italy including sales tax. Deliveries are expected to start just before next summer.
Rivals will include Aston Martin's DB11 V-8 Coupe, which costs 188,000 euros in Italy and Aston's Vantage, which costs 162,000 euros; the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, which starts at 134,000 euros; and the 131,000-euro Mercedes GT Coupe.
The Roma's price is more expensive than Ferrari's cheapest model, the Portofino convertible, which starts at 196,000 euros in Italy.
The Roma is Ferrari's fifth new model announced this year, as the automaker seeks to almost double earnings and boost profit margins, without sacrificing exclusivity.
This year's other new releases include the 812 GTS, presented in September, which the company described as a return for the GT model type that has played a "pivotal role in the marque's history," along with the F8 Tributo and F8 Tributo Spider.
Ferrari has promised several special edition hybrid cars and the Purosangue SUV, which is expected by late 2022.
Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri said last week the hybrid SF90 Stradale was attracting "huge interest" despite initial skepticism by clients used to roaring combustion engines.
Ferrari said last year that it wanted 60 percent of its cars sold by 2022 to be hybrids. A full-electric vehicle is also being considered but is unlikely to arrive before 2023.
Ferrari has no plans to build a modern version of its 1960s Dino as an entry-level sports car. The possibility of such a revival created split views within the automaker's management because of fears that it would dilute the brand's exclusivity, former Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne said in 2017.
The Dino is currently not part of Ferrari's future product planning, Galliera said. "Our strategy is based on exclusivity, so we have to keep our current positioning of dream cars."
Reuters contributed to this story