The Ferrari California T epitomises the sublime elegance, sportiness, versatility and exclusivity that have distinguished every California model since the 1950s. It is a car brimming with innovation that will more than meet the expectations of discerning clients for whom fun behind the wheel is a priority, but who also demand a sumptuously comfortable Grand Tourer they can use every day. The California T is a brilliant expression of Ferrari’s sporty DNA, while its retractable hard top (RHT) and 2+ configuration, amongst other features, make it supremely versatile.
Like all Ferraris, the California T boasts cutting-edge technological solutions that make it absolutely unique, most notably the new turbocharged V8 engine. Turbo technology has an honourable place in Prancing Horse’s engineering tradition, thanks to iconic models of the likes of the GTO of 1984 and the F40 of 1987. It is now also, of course, back at the heart of our latest F1 single-seater.
Maranello’s engineers have managed to design a remarkable power unit that combines classic Ferrari engine qualities, such as razor-sharp responsiveness, blistering performance, superbly powerful acceleration at all speeds and an exhilarating soundtrack, with the advantages turbo technology, such as drastically reduced emissions and fuel consumption, a high specific power output and compact dimensions. A genuinely unprecedented achievement that sets a new benchmark for the industry.
The California T sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds flat and from 0 to 200 km/h in 11.2 seconds. It is also more fuel efficient to the tune of approximately 15 per cent* than the previous California despite punching out an extra 70 CV and 49 per cent more torque in 7th gear. Emissions have also been cut to 250 g/km on the combined cycle, the equivalent of a 20 per cent reduction in the CO2/horsepower ratio (0.44 gr/cv). As a consequence the car’s range increases by 15 per cent.
All these results were achieved thanks to solutions adopted on the F1 single-seaters, including a low-inertia, flat-plane crankshaft combined with innovative twin-scroll turbines to minimise throttle response times. Certain of the manufacturing phases, mostly regarding castings, also make use of the same plant and production processes employed by the Scuderia. Thanks to meticulous design and sophisticated production techniques adopted for essential components, such as the flat-plane crankshaft and the three-piece cast exhaust manifold and turbo housing, the California T’s engine produces an enthrallingly powerful sound that becomes even more impressive as revs increase.
The new model also boasts true sports car dynamics, thanks to lower steering wheel activity and quicker steering courtesy of a new steering box and new suspension set-up. New springs and latest-generation Magnaride dampers (now more than 50 per cent faster), combined with body motion accelerometers, reduce roll and pitch to deliver more precise handling whilst still guaranteeing an incredibly comfortable ride. The car’s electronic systems are also the state-of-the-art in the sector with the latest evolution of the F1-Trac and the ESP 8.0 Premium, both of which help make the car even more responsive, underscoring its nimble sports car dynamics. The combination of the California T’s uncompromising architecture, dynamic controls and new engine guarantees consistent fun behind the wheel both in challenging and more relaxed driving conditions, in perfect Grand Tourer style.
Meticulous and in-depth design work has retained the dimensions of the previous model yet endowed the California T with a whole new personality. The car’s proportions were penned by the Ferrari Styling Centre in collaboration with Pininfarina, and are very much in line with Ferrari’s front-engined ethos.
The California T’s cabin exudes a sense of warmth and craftsmanship, and was designed to be as ergonomic as possible, with luxurious semi-aniline leather trim. The space on-board is flexible too, and owners can make the most efficient use of its generous boot capacity even with the top down, thanks to the communication between the luggage compartment and rear seats.
The Human-Machine Interface encompasses the Ferrari steering wheel with integrated controls while the Turbo Performance Engineer (TPE) takes pride of place between the two air vents at the centre of dash. This is a sophisticated instrument with a touch-sensitive scroll surround and a digital display that provides indications on making the most efficient use of the new engine’s performance. The California T also has a new infotainment system with a large, extremely intuitive 6.5″ display and a choice of both button and touch-screen controls.
Every Ferrari engine is the product of the incredible well of cutting-edge technological know-how that makes all Maranello’s cars unlike any others. Responsive commands, instant throttle response, exceptional performance combined with high revs, a torque curve that increases constantly across the rev range and an exhilarating signature soundtrack are all very much part of the spec of every Ferrari engine. However, the new V8 enhances these characteristics and combines them with the superb fuel efficiency, high specific power output and extreme compactness afforded by turbocharging.
In developing the new power unit, Ferrari’s engineers approached the project with a new take on turbo technology that overcame traditional constraints, such as turbo lag, low maximum revs and a less than thrilling sound. In fact, they have not only retained but actually underscored these Ferrari characteristics in this new engine.
The resources Ferrari poured into the design and development of a V8 turbo that would set a new benchmark for the industry have produced a completely new power unit that is absolutely unique, thanks to a singular mix of in-house design expertise, the use of advanced design and simulation software, sophisticated production systems shared with the Scuderia racing team, and a development programme that ran for over four years.
The new direct-injection 3855 cc V8 turbo punches out a maximum of 560 CV, yielding a specific power output of 145 CV/l, the highest in its category, in addition to maximum torque of 755 Nm in 7th gear. Throttle response is razor sharp and the engine boasts an exceptionally broad power band that goes all the way up to 7500 rpm.
The flat-plane crankshaft’s compact size and lower rotating mass, along with the reduced dimensions of the twin-scroll turbines, ensures exceptionally fast throttle response times (one second) which are 50 per cent quicker than the best-performing engines in the segment, even at lower engine revs.
The engineers also put huge effort into giving the new turbo engine a classically full and exhilarating Ferrari sound. Vital to the end result were the flat-plane crankshaft and an exhaust header made from welded cast-steel components with equal-length pipes which boost combustion harmonics and the quality of the exhaust sound.