by Chris Wall
Italian supercars are known for their looks as well as the performance, and there aren’t many as good looking as the Ferrari California T. It’s a 2-seater roadster that offers the best of both worlds thanks to a retractable hard top, so up or down the car looks just right. Under the hood of this prancing horse is a 552 hp twin-turbocharged V8 to make the performance back up the looks, this car can also reach 196 mph. It’s one of the new generation turbocharged Ferraris, and the return to boosted power is a welcome change to the Ferrari philosophy.
The interior of the Ferrari California T follows the usual styling cues from the automaker with the deliberate separation of the dash and the tunnel, and also the use of the well-known round vents in the upper center of the dash. Between them is the Turbo Performance Engineer that instructs on how to best use the engine. The sports seats, tunnel and cards, in fact everything, is made from the best leathers and trims and pieced together by hand.
The mid-center of the dash is where the screen for the infotainment is found, and below that the sweeping rise of aluminum or carbon fiber that’s home to buttons that replace a shifter. There are rear seats, but they won’t be home to any people, unless they’re really, really small. The instrument cluster is tailored to speed with large dials and numbers and the multifunction steering wheel is brilliant, complete with paddle shifters, start button and drive mode selector. Trunk space is limited, but only thanks to the retractable roof.
Driving is what a Ferrari is all about, and the California T offers up a brilliant drive. The turbocharged engine is crisp and responsive, especially if you engage sport mode. The ESC can be turned off for when you hit the track, or what to show off a bit, but daily driving needs this. Even with the systems working they allow a fair amount of wheel spin, so you need to pay attention. Handling is brilliant, things are soft and compliant but when needed, but in Sport mode the F1-Trac traction control adjusts things, and so the MagneRide variable dampers stiffen up the magnetorheological suspension and the transmission quickens shifts to match the sharper steering. The Ferrari California T is a precision driving tool, a racecar for the road. There are some special packages available for the California T, like the HS (Handling Speciale) that makes things even sharper and focused.
Being a Ferrari you know things are going to be impressive in the performance department. The California T is powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 with a 3.855-liter capacity and power is rated at 552 hp with torque up at 557 lb-ft. – directed to the rear wheels, this equates to performance figures of 0 - 60 mph in as little as 3.3-seconds, 0 – 124 mph in just 11.2-seconds and a top speed of 196 mph. 7-speed dual clutch transmission is perfection, the F1-derived technology is clearly evident. Getting the car back to zero again is done easily thanks to monster discs and calipers all round.
The architecture of the chassis is where the safety starts on a Ferrari California T, the aluminum chassis is lightweight with high torsional rigidity, and from there it runs into electronics with traction control and 4 airbags. Convenience features are made up of navigation, a reverse camera, cruise control, Bluetooth and climate control. As expected, the options available relate mainly to the materials used to fill the cabin; a range of leathers along with carbon fiber or aluminum finishings to get the car to be a little more custom to set owners apart from the rest of the millionaires out there.
It’s easy to recommend a Ferrari because no matter what age and what spec it is, it’s guaranteed to be put together with the best parts available and that its going to be faster than most other cars it shares the roads with. The Ferrari California T is a winner in the looks department, no matter if the roof is up or down, and on the performance front the twin-turbocharged V8 is pretty hard to beat. It’s a supercar for the street and a weekend track toy wrapped in luxury finishings. As expected, a premium Ferrari costs premium money so you can expect to pay a fair amount of money, but it’s worth every dollar