The new California T might be based on the front-engined coupe-convertible that’s been around since 2008, but Ferrari claims it’s so thoroughly re-worked that it considers it a new model.
The T stands for turbocharged, the first time Ferrari has used a booster since the supercar F40, built between 1987 and 1992. The new engine and its twin-scroll turbo not only helps to cut fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, but delivers maximum torque lower down in the rev range.
The outgoing California (NZ$488,000) was Ferrari’s first front-engined direct-injection V8-powered car, its 4.3-litre naturally aspirated unit delivering 360kW at 7500rpm and 505Nm at 5000rpm to the rear wheels. It was also the first Ferrari to feature a folding hardtop.
The California T uses a 3.9-litre direct-injection V8 delivering 412kW at 7500rpm and 755Nm at 4750rpm, a whopping 49 per cent boost in torque alone. A seven-speed Formula One-type dual clutch gearbox handles power to the rear wheels.
The new car is also more fuel-efficient and cleaner, swallowing a claimed town-and-around 10.5 litres/100km (27mpg) for a C02 rating of 250gr/km. The discontinued California was good for 13 litres/100km (21mpg) and 299gr/km.
The California T is slightly quicker, too, recording a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 317km/h. Ferrari says it has achieved “virtually zero turbo lag” with the engine, which is related to the 3.8-litre twin-turbo unit it makes for the Maserati Quattroporte.
It has been overhauled and uses a flat-plane crankshaft for extra punch, instead of a cross-plane crank for smoothness. There are also new electronics to ensure the engine works with Ferrari’s manettino control, and a new exhaust system to ensure that the turbo engine sounds ‘powerful and engaging.’
There’s revised steering and a new suspension set-up, which includes a new generation of Magnaride dampers that react 50 per cent faster. The car also uses the latest evolution of the company’s F-1 Trac traction control system.
The brakes have been overhauled, too, including new composite discs and pads, and a new ESP 8.0 system that allows the California T to brake from 100km/h to zero in just 34 metres.
It is also fitted with a new infotainment system with a 16cm touchscreen. Above this is a new Turbo Performance Engineer, which sits between the two central air vents. This also features a touch-sensitive display that lets the driver scroll through a number of info screens which detail the new engine’s performance.
The California T remains a 2+2 seater with a retractable hardtop that closes in 14 seconds. The new model keeps the same overall dimensions as the current car but its body has been redesigned by Ferrari’s styling center and Pininfarina.