The California moniker is not new to the iconic Prancing Horse stables – the first example, the Ferrari California GTB Short Wheelbase of the late 1950s and early 1960s is now a highly prized collector car, with limited availability and a lofty price tag if and when one can be located for sale. Early pristine examples have been known to sell for a king’s ransom. The latest example is the Ferrari California T.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2015 Ferrari California T||$268,761.||$334,799.||560 @ 7,500 rpm / 557 @ 4,750 rpm|
|EPA Rating||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||10.5 mpg city / 14 mpg highway||Not tested|
The legendary Italian supercar builder staged a comeback of the California nameplate in 2010 with the Ferrari California as an all-new model. It was the Italian automaker’s first Granturismo to appear with a power retractable hardtop and styling that rivaled their F430 Spider in terms of beauty and performance capability. It also happened to be the first mid/front mounted V8 engine to feature Direct Injection to power a Ferrari. That engine was a 4.3-liter, longitudinally mounted 90-degree, naturally aspirated V8 with Direct Fuel injection that cranked out 453 horsepower @ 7,750 rpm, while producing 357 pound feet of torque @ 5,000 rpm. The engine mated to an F1 dual clutch automatic transmission with 7 gears plus a console-mounted reverse button and steering column mounted paddle shifters. In keeping with Ferrari tradition, power drove the rear wheels.
As in Formula 1 cars, the driver of the 2010 California was able to change several setup factors of the car utilizing a single, steering wheel mounted selector dial called the Manettino by Scuderia Ferrari drivers, which functioned as a commutator switch featuring five specific settings: Ice; Low Grip; Sport; and Race. There was also a setting that turned off both the traction and stability controls, giving the driver full control over the car’s actions.
Now, there is a Ferrari California T (the T is for turbocharged), which is powered by a smaller displacement (3.85-liter) 90 degree, twin-turbocharged V8 with Direct Fuel Injection engine that actually generates more power – 560 prancing horses to be precise, at 7,500 rpm, while also developing 557 pound feet of torque at 4,750 rpm. The engine is still mounted up front in a longitudinal orientation and mates to an F1 style dual clutch automatic transmission with steering column mounted paddle shifters for 7 forward gears and a reverse gear which is activated via a console mounted button. Motive force continues to be directed to the rear wheels.
As with the 2010 California, this latest Ferrari California T is a car of exceptional elegance, born with a spirit to race, that evokes exclusivity, master craftsmanship and exemplary refinement. The 2015 California T echoes the spirit and emotion of the past, while also possessing a wealth of modern technological innovations to enhance one’s driving experience.
The Ferrari California’ T’s breathtaking design showcases a combined effort with Ferrari’s historical partner Pininfarina. The styling displays an athletic form with sculpted lines and surfaces that flow gracefully, reflecting ideal proportions with the top up or down. The sides emphasize fluid motion via a strong dynamic line that runs from the stylized “gill” in the quarter panel, through the door, rising above the handle and curving over the rear fender and muscular wheel well arch, to the short overhang of the rearend. The vehicle’s nose develops the overall theme characteristics typified by the convex and concave surfaces that blend harmoniously and effortlessly. The functional slender air vents in the hood are flanked by teardrop headlamp clusters above the slatted “egg-crate” grille and front splitter and lower air vents. The overall styling prompts a host of descriptive terms – curvaceous, racy, breathtaking, stunning, sexy and outrageously beautiful. It sits low, with the wheels and tires nicely filling the wells with no wasted space around them. As with other Ferrari models, the California comes across visually as a fine piece of sculpture, displaying the same level of appeal and elegance with its top up or down, exhibiting proper proportions in either mode. The coefficient of drag is 0.33 – definitely aerodynamic and it’s as slippery as it looks.
The Ferrari California T’s interior exhibits the same tasteful sophistication as the exterior. The leather seating features special stitching, perforation and unique detailing. Occupants sit low in the car, which is exaggerated by the high, rising beltline. Switchgear is positioned for optimum ease of use, and the analog gauges are highly legible. The engine start button is wheel mounted, and there is no traditional gear shift per say – gear changes are manipulated by the column-mounted paddle shifters, with the exception of reverse gear, which is activated by the center console mounted button.
The power retractable hardtop operates quickly in either direction at the touch of a switch.
My test 2015 Ferrari California T was delivered wearing a Rosso California exterior finish – a dark red, almost maroon metallic tint, with a Beige Tradizione interior featuring Charcoal toned trim and Carbon Fibre elements. The base sticker was set at $268,761. It was outfitted with the following options: Carbon Fibre Driver Zone and Central console Bridge, Horse stitched headrests, sport exhaust system, heat insulating windscreen, high emotion low emission, “Scuderia Ferrari” fender shields, Dual mode Magnaride suspension, electric inside and outside mirrors and Homelink, Charcoal seat piping, 20-inch forged dark painted alloy wheels, fully electric seats, leather headliner, foldable rear seats, Backrest, High Power Hi Fi System, special interior stitching, tire pressure monitoring system and Nero carpeting which combined to bring the final total price to $334,799.
SUMMARY: Driving the Ferrari California is certainly a more rewarding experience than simply looking at it. The car evokes a sensory overload – it has everything going for it, and is without question a truly emotional design execution. Any ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ gear-head is sure to relish the authoritative rumble emanating from the mighty turbocharged V8 and its Sport Exhaust system. Acceleration is mind-boggling, (even without utilizing the Launch Control feature) unless of course you want to simply cruise about, displaying its elegant beauty in a more relaxed and leisurely manner. Either way, the California T is perfectly at home.
Shifting through the gears may be done in rapid-fire fashion with the F1-style steering column mounted paddle shifters. The seating is not only visually pleasing, but exceptionally supportive as well, with a feeling of spaciousness. The quality of the ride is surprisingly compliant considering the car’s ride height and low profile performance rubber. The handling is indeed “Ferrari-like” – with positive on-center preciseness. The California T stays flat over challenging twisting and curving and backroads, without the tires chirping at all. Perhaps I should’ve pushed harder, but hey, when you’re entrusted with this kind of sophisticated performance machinery in the form of rolling sculpture, why press your luck by taking unnecessary chances.
For most of my life I hadn’t been bitten by the need or desire to own a Ferrari. There are now several possibilities – my favorites offering high performance, open air motoring. The new California T is certainly one model that instills such lust. It is a vehicle that epitomizes Italian passion. Enzo’s spirit and ideals are destined to live forever in the cars that are his legacy. The Ferrari California T is a car that I would add to my bucket list of vehicles to own if only I had the wherewithal – Maybe when my ship comes in. Currently, the waiting list ranges from a year and a half to two years, so if you’re in the market for ownership, you need put your order in early and often for this highly desirable Ferrari model or any other model of the famed Marque for that matter.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2015 Ferrari California T a Buy It! if you’re able to afford it.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Ferrari California T
Base Price: $268,761.
Price as Tested: $334,799.
Engine Type and Size: 3.85-liter-235.25 cu.In. (3885cc) 90 degree twin-turbocharged V8
with Direct Fuel Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 560 @ 7,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 557 @ 4,750 rpm
Transmission: F1 dual clutch – 7 gears plus reverse.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Double wishbone.
Rear – Multilink
Brakes: Power-assisted Carbon ceramic four wheel discs.
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero 245/35 ZR20 front / 285/35 ZR20-100Y rear, mounted
on 5-sculpted spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
Length Overall: 179.9 inches
Width: 75.2 inches
Height: 52.0 inches
Curb Weight: 3,813 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 20.6 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 10.5 mpg city / 14 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.33
0 – 62 mph: 3.6 seconds – Top speed196 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.