Ferrari’s eagerly anticipated new California T is set to make its first public appearance, continuing the model’s 60-year tradition of combining innovation with striking features.
Not to rest on its laurels, the Italian manufacturer has packed the California with a host of new solutions, not least of which is its 8-cylinder turbo engine, which will sit alongside signature features such as the successful 2+ concept, a refined cabin, and the classic retractable hard top.
As ever, the engineers at Maranello have focused on refining the core California T without deviating from its core concept, and so the roof again folds snugly into the rear, only this time it takes just 14 seconds to transform from a chic coupe.
However, the biggest improvements have been made to the engine, where Ferrari’s team have created an entirely new direct-injection, 3855 cc turbo 8-cylinder power unit that delivers superb levels of performance, excellent pick-up and the most audially pleasing turbo yet seen on a California T.
It is also the first time that such an engine has had virtually zero turbo lag, which Ferrari says guarantees instantaneous response and naturally-aspirated power units, as well as a torque curve that increases constantly across the rev range thanks to the use of Variable Boost Management.
The engine itself is mounted as low as possible in the chassis in a mid-front position and delivers the highest power out in its category at 145 cv/l, along with maximum torque of 755 Nm.
This power enables it to achieve acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds, which makes it the quickest California T yet – something supported by its top speed of 316 km/h.
Another key consideration in the production of the California T – and all of Ferrari’s 2014 output – has been to tie it in closely with the company’s Formula One efforts, and this is reflected in the turbo being used to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Compared to the previous model, fuel consumption is down by around 15 per cent despite it having 70 cv more power and a 49 per cent increase in torque. Furthermore, emissions have fallen to 250 g/km over the combined cycle, which equates to a 20 per cent reduction in the CO2/cv ratio.
Handling has always been an appealing aspect of the California T, and the 2014 model is no exception, with the reduced steering wheel activity and improved steering response to driver input helping to deliver true sports car dynamics, aided by a new steering box and suspension set-up.
The addition of new springs and latest-generation Magnaride dampers, which respond 50 per cent faster, combined with body motion accelerometers, also helps to reduce roll and pitch to enable more precise handling while guaranteeing the most comfortable ride possible.
One feature sure to generate a great deal of interest is the inclusion of the latest evolution of the F1-Trac traction control system, which provides maximum acceleration out of corners and Ferrari says underscores the sportier side of the car’s personality.
“The California T’s architecture, controls and new 8-cylinder engine ensure consistently intense driving pleasure in challenging driving conditions, as well as making the car fun to drive even in more relaxed situations, very much in the Grand Tourer tradition,” the manufacturer explains.
On the safety side, CCM3 carbon-ceramic braking system benefits from new composite discs and pads for added efficiency, while ESP 8.0 premium integration controls the high performance ABS for a short 100 to 0 km/h braking distance of just 34 metres.
The model will be available in two colours – Rosso California, which Ferrari describes as an “intense, deep new red inspired by classic Ferraris”, and Blu California, which “underscores the versatility and elegance of this new model”, the Scuderia states.
Those hoping to see the 2014 California T up close will get the chance at next month’s Geneva International Motor Show, but these pictures should whet your appetite in the meantime.