Ferrari hasn't fielded a turbo since it stopped building the F40 hypercar back in 1992. That changes in March when the car maker premières its mid-front-engine, retractable hard top berlinetta California T at the Geneva Motor Show. With the T standing for Turbo, the new California Grand Touring sports car has been redesigned to mark the occasion by the Ferrari Style Center and Pininfarina with aerodynamics to match the new powerplant.
Weighing in at 1,625 kg (3.582 lb), the California T has the same dimensions as the previous California. Ferrari says that it went for classically-inspired influences, while borrowing the pontoon-fender styling of the 250 Testa Rossa. The grille is a bit lower and has been given a redesign to give it a bit more aggression, which is nicely balanced by the intakes for the turbo intercooler.
There’s also a more blended bonnet feeding into a stronger collection of lines in the profile. Meanwhile, the boxy rear is a much more interesting collection of lines culminating in the subtle boot spoiler lip and the new triple-fence diffuser. And then there’s the California T’s real party trick – a retractable hardtop that vanishes in 14 seconds.
Mounted very low in the chassis is a new 3.8-liter, V8 turbo engine with direct fuel injection and very low inertia, twin-scroll turbines re-designed by Maranello and building on Scuderia Ferrari’s experience with the F14 T’s power unit. To reassure drivers who worry that the turbo might make the California T less responsive, Ferrari says that there’s zero turbo lag because of its Variable Boost Management that adapts the torque curve to each gear change through the dual-clutch F1 flappy-paddle gearbox.
The upshot of all this is that the California T cranks 552 bhp (412 kW) and 556 ft-lb (755 Nm) of torque while putting out a growl that, according to Ferrari, is the most intense of any turbo. Top speed is 196 mph (316 km/h) and the car hits 0 to 100 km (62 mph) in a nice 3.6 seconds.
Behind the powerplant is a Magneride suspension with body-motion accelerometers to reduce roll and pitch, a new steering box that reduces steering wheel activity to improve responsiveness, and Brembo carbon ceramic brakes. Ferrari also says that fuel consumption has improved by 15 percent to 10.5 l/100 km and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to 250 g/km thanks to the turbocharging.
The semi-aniline leather-trimmed interior of the California T has the same 2+ seating as its predecessor. Even the rear passengers get to sit in cockpits, though there’s (no surprise) hardly any leg room.
The Ferrari California T is currently priced at around £155,000 (US$258,000).