The California, Ferrari’s most popular model, has been unveiled and announced, much to the interest of Ferraristas around the globe.
The new California T marks its difference from the earlier version by what’s under the hood as reflected in the name. The “T” stands for turbo, a boost in horsepower the California needed to deliver more power without increasing emissions and with better fuel economy. That’s the good news.
Turbocharging presents as a mixed bag among Ferrari cognoscenti, because Ferraris are craved neither for their fuel economy nor spewing less CO2 — the environmentally beneficial molecule that the EPA declared a pollutant. While satisfying governmental air-quality regulators, turbocharging disappointed customers who would need to endure its drawbacks while enduring submission to “green.”
Turbocharging has three main drawbacks including turbo lag, heat sink, and attenuated exhaust sounds. The first of these produces non-linear power response. The second, simply stated, causes the engine to run sub-optimally in warmer weather. The third announces an approaching California with an anemic audible from the exhaust, a disappointment for those who bought one for the familiar Ferrari growl.
The California T boasts tighter steering and stiffer suspension, which were softer and lighter, respectively, than before. Both yield the more precise and responsive performance Ferraristas have come to expect. It is for these reasons that earlier Californias earned the nickname “Ferrari Lite.”
Yet, there’s a lot to like in the new California T besides the 553 horsepower in the brand’s best-selling model. Styling details improved over the original design by side sculpturing that integrates better into flowing lines along the body length. The window sills remain high, although this is necessary to accommodate the rear deck, which also seems too high since it must accommodate the convertible top. The resulting effect raises the visual center of gravity of the entire form.
The roof line looks too small for the mass of the car, but that is the nature of hard top convertibles. That’s the design price one pays for seeking a plein air environment for carrying four folks in outdoor Ferrari splendor. The hard top is carried with the car even when the sun shines.
On a final note, Ferrari rid the California of its “smiley face” grille, installing instead a slightly squared off shape. Its larger size and modified countenance impart a more aggressive appearance so appropriate for a car carrying the Ferrari name.