Car news

13 February 2014

Ferrari reveals California T

552bhp and 755 torques for the first turbo'd Ferrari since the F40…

Dan Read
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An average weekday can be instantly improved with news of a new Ferrari. So allow us to upgrade your Wednesday with this, the California T. The T, you'll have guessed, stands for turbo. Which means this is the first road-going Ferrari since the F40 to get forced induction. In a year when F1 turns to turbos, this is perhaps not as surprising as it once may have been.

Which means that before talk of horsepower and whatnot, we should first point out the emissions, which - after all - is why even supercar makers are relying on turbos nowadays. And so here's an exotic convertible with a proper V8 that sneaks out 250g/km of CO2 (based on Ferrari's own cycle, rather than the one used by other carmakers). That's about 15 per cent less than its naturally-aspirated predecessor.

But enough. This is a Ferrari. One with a new 3.8-litre V8 with a very healthy 552bhp and 755Nm of torque. That's a jump of 62bhp over the last version of the California, while torque is up by a whopping 50 per cent. Zero to 100kph is now handled in 3.6 seconds, which trims 0.2 seconds off the old car's time. You can thank the turbo for much of this.

Very well. But turbochargers have a habit of culling noise. And what's a Ferrari without noise? Don't worry, they say. The California T still has a trademark flat-plane crankshaft for the distinctive Ferrari wail. And the intake and exhaust harmonics have been tuned like an orchestra, so it'll still rouse the senses when you use the proper amount of throttle.

And what about the fizzy responses that make a Ferrari a Ferrari? Won't there be a brief pause, or a moment's thought, as the turbo readies itself for a big push? Apparently not. The turbo is compact, the turbines have little inertia, and there's a variable boost management system. The result, says Ferrari, is "virtually zero turbo lag". We'll have to drive it to believe it...

What else? There's a new, sharper steering system. And the latest version of Ferrari's ‘magnaride' adaptive suspension, which reacts to lumps and bumps 50 per cent faster than it used to. And should you fancy exploring the limits of grip, you'll be pleased to know the Cali T has Ferrari's newest F1-Trac traction control system - the same system that helps you slide around in the 458 Speciale. Clearly the new California is less of a Riviera cruiser than the outgoing model.

All of this new stuff is tightly wrapped in new bodywork bearing much resemblance to the F12. The grille is wider and deeper, reinforced by three horizontal bars. There's a deep cut from the middle of the door to the front wheelarch. The exhausts are now side-by-side, not stacked. The whole thing looks leaner and sharper than the old Cali. And the sense of solidity is helped by a ‘triple fence' diffuser under its bottom.

Oh, and the roof still goes down. Which will be nice when the storms pass.

Tags: california, california t, ferrari

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