FERRARI'S NEW CALIFORNIA T HANDLING SPECIALE
A TEST DRIVE OF THE NEW SHARPENED UP AND LOUDER 2016 PACKAGE ACROSS LIGURIA
Photography by Craig Landale
The Ferrari California T, a model first introduced by the luxury sports car maker way back in 1957 and today is a model which makes up 50% of Ferrari’s total client-base. We’ve recently been driving around Italy testing out the forthcoming Ferrari California T ‘Handling Speciale’ model which launches in June 2016 this year. This new handling package will add £5.5k to the £155k price tag but we think it’s well worth it. Reasons include the fact that it’s more comfortable on bumpy roads, it includes cleaner higher engine acoustics and there’s a new exhaust system.
“I was both nervous and excited for my first Ferrari driving experience but thankfully it went very well. I felt in full control of the car and it had great handling capabilities which gave me confidence to test the power and speed on the winding roads across Liguria, Italy. Driving the California T felt special, like a new level of driving, with an addictive engine sound I hope to hear again very soon.” – Craig Landale, Director, MenswearStyle.
So, what’s new?
The Ferrari California T epitomises the sublime elegance, sportiness, versatility and exclusivity that has distinguished every California T model since the 1950s. It boasts cutting-edge technological solutions that make it absolutely unique, most notably the new turbocharged V8 engine. The new model boasts true sports car dynamics, thanks to reduced steering wheel activity and more direct response courtesy of its modified steering box and suspension set-up.
Meticulous design work has retained the dimensions of the previous model yet endowed the California T with a whole new personality. Its proportions were penned by the Ferrari Styling Centre in collaboration with Pininfarina, and are very much in line with Ferrari’s front-engine ethos. The cabin was designed to be as ergonomic as possible and exudes warmth and craftsmanship, with luxurious semi-aniline leather trim. The interior space is flexible, and owners can make the most efficient use of the generous boot capacity with a set of golf clubs or weekend luggage even with the top down, thanks to split and folding rear seats. There’s also an infotainment system with a large, extremely intuitive 6.5” display and a choice of both button and touch-screen controls.
The new turbo engine sounds classically full with the usual exhilarating Ferrari soundtrack. But with this high roar comes a strikingly compact car, a fact that boosts its sporty handling dynamics. It takes just 14 seconds for the California T to convert from a sophisticated coupe to a chic, seductive convertible, courtesy of its retractable hard top made from weight reducing aluminium panels – and it may just save you in an unexpected sudden downpour.
The new design
The front of the car is dominated by a generous, typical Ferrari grille which lends it an aura of power and sportiness. The side air intakes incorporate the intercoolers for the new turbocharged engine while the front brake intakes are located on the front underbody. The sleek bonnet emphasises the muscular wings either side which hold the headlights and the characteristic vents used to dissipate hot air from the engine. The rear of the car features horizontal styling elements that give it a distinctive sporty stance. All the cabin elements have been completely redesigned and carefully studied to combine exceptional standards of sportiness and comfort.
The dash is decidedly compact and uses sleek horizontal movement along with two-tone leather trim to accentuate its dynamism. Huge attention has also been given to the lavish seats which have fixed headrests integrated into the backrest. They are light and boast extremely high containment, yet are also extremely comfortable thanks to the new shape foams specifically designed for long journeys. The rear seats mean that the car can accommodate up to four (with 2 children in the back). All Ferrari clients can also configure their California T so that it is unique thanks to a vast amount of personalisation options. Choices include luxury fabrics, colours, original finishes and technical materials.