The California T's retractable hard top transforms it from a chic 2+2 coupé into a sleekly sophisticated spider in 14 seconds.
New Turbo Engine
The primary new feature on this California, and the reason for the 'T' suffix, is an entirely new turbocharged 3855cc 8-cylinder engine, which Ferrari says "delivers absolutely superb levels of performance, blistering pick-up and the most exhilarating soundtrack any turbo has ever yielded".
Ferrari claims virtually zero turbo lag from the new engine, and a torque curve that increases constantly across the rev range thanks to Variable Boost Management.
The engine is mounted very low in the chassis in a mid-front position and delivers 560cv (552hp or 412kW approx.) at 7500 rpm, which translates into a specific power output of 145 cv/l - the highest in its category - along with maximum torque of 755 Nm. 0 to 100 km/h sprint is quoted at 3.6 seconds and top speed at 316 km/h.
Compared to the outgoing model, the turbocharged California reduces fuel consumption by around 15 per cent* despite 70cv (51kW) more power and a 49 per cent increase in torque. Emissions are down to 250 g/km over the combined cycle which equates to a 20 per cent reduction in the CO2/cv ratio (0.44 g/cv) compared to the previous, normally-aspirated Ferrari California.
The California T's V8 also features very low inertia twin-scroll turbines to ensure ultra-sharp throttle response. The Scuderia's methodologies and plant are also used for certain phases of its production, particularly at the casting stage.
An intense Ferrari engine sound was achieved through design and special manufacturing techniques for components like the flat-plane crankshaft, the three-piece cast exhaust manifold and turbo housing. The engine note, which becomes more powerful during both the intake and exhaust phases, is claimed to be a first for a turbo engine.
The California T's turbo engine delivers power through an F1-style 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Built by Getrag, the new transmission is described as being world class, and a significant improvement over the outgoing's California's gearbox.
Suspension and Brakes
The California T also features a new steering box and suspension set-up, with the latter consisting of new springs and latest-generation Magnaride dampers (which respond 50 per cent faster). Combined with body motion accelerometers, roll and pitch is reduced, resulting in more precise handling without sacrificing ride comfort. Ferrari's latest evolution of the F1-Trac traction control system has also been fitted to the California T, for maximum acceleration out of corners.
The CCM3 carbon-ceramic braking system (featuring new composite discs and pads) from Brembo is integrated with the ESP 8.0 premium which controls the high performance ABS for a 100 to 0 km/h braking distance of just 34 metres.
While broadly faithful to the outgoing California design, the California T has been revised in all areas, carrying elements of the F12 Berlinetta and FF, but also dipping into the Prancing Horse's back catalogue for flanks that are said by the Ferrari Styling Centre to be inspired by the 250 Testa Rossa.
The front end features a new, narrower headlight design, along with an altered grille and bumper design, while the bonnet features two large reversed vents instead of the single air intake of the previous model.
The flanks feature revised front guard exhaust vents and reprofiled cutouts that extend deeper at the front, but taper earlier at the rear than the previous design. General profile is the same as the outgoing California.
The rear features vents that cut deeper into the rear guards, a new triple-fence diffuser and quad exhausts in a more conventional horizontal position, rather than the vertically-stacked units on the previous California.
From launch in March, two exterior colours will be available: Rosso California, an intense, deep new red inspired by classic Ferraris; and Blu California, a rich, mid-blue metallic shade.
Ferrari says the California T's cabin was designed to be as ergonomic as possible, with luxurious Frau semi-aniline leather trim throughout. Interior space options are increased, even with the top down, thanks to an opening between the luggage compartment and rear seats.
The steering wheel features paddle shifts for the 7-speed transmission, engine start/stop, and 'Manettino' switch that allows for on-the-go suspension and stability/traction control changes, while the dedicated Turbo Performance Engineer (TPE) gauge features between the two air vents in the centre of the dash. The TPE display's touch-sensitive surround allows users to scroll through screens with information on making the most of the new engine's performance.
A new infotainment system includes an extremely intuitive, high-resolution 6.5-inch screen featuring both touch-screen and conventional controls like those in the F12 Berlinetta.
The California T will be officially unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in March.
*The consumption cut is calculated on a driving cycle that realistically reproduces a clients' use of the car
FERRARI CALIFORNIA T - TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Type direct-injection 90 V8
Total displacement 3,855 cc
Maximum power * 412 kW (560 cv) at 7500 rpm
Maximum torque * 755 Nm (77 kgm) at 4750 rpm
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
Length 4570 mm
Width 1910 mm
Height 1322 mm
Dry weight** 1625 kg
Weight distribution 47% front - 53% rear
Top speed 316 km/h
0-100 km/h 3.6 s
FUEL CONSUMPTION*** 10.5 l/100 km
C02 EMISSIONS *** 250 g/km
* With 98 octane fuel
** With lightweight optional equipment
*** Combined cycle (ECE+EUDC) with HELE system