On the road in the Ferrari California T

In Car Reviews, Ferrari by Tim Barnes-Clay

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Sliding behind the wheel of your most prized possession never fails to take you to seventh heaven.

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Drive: Ferrari California T, Reviewed


The scent of your Ferrari almost intoxicates you as you wrap your hands around the leather clad steering wheel. You appreciate that the marque represents the essence of exotic ultra-sportiness; but you recognise it goes deeper than that – it’s about the emotional connections you’ve been making with the brand since you were in short trousers.

This is why you see the car as an extension of your character, and this is why there’s a whole industry dedicated to automotive magnificence. For instance, Ferrari Tailor-Made is developed for motorists wishing to create a Ferrari that will be a clear expression of their own unique personalities and tastes. Accessories range from carbon-fibre trim to rubberised leather; Alcantara; Kevlar; satin-finish and matte metals.

A case in point is the famous 250 Testa Rossa, which sold at auction at Pebble Beach in 2011 for a record $16.4million. It provided the inspiration for the 458 Spider, sporting blue and white stripes over an historic Rosso Racing body colour. The latter’s seats are upholstered in the same cowhide used in the Formula 1 cars of the past – a trim that’s light, breathable and feels like chamois leather to the touch. The original 250 Testa Rossa had an aluminium dashboard which has now been given an innovative twist in the form of Alutex, a tough, light fibreglass and aluminium material. The cabin is also trimmed with a diamond-quilted fabric inspired by the original Testa Rossa motif.

Likewise, the equally well known Ferrari California epitomises elegance, sportiness, versatility and exclusivity: characteristics that have distinguished every California model since the 1950s.

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The present day model’s beast-like lump of a V8 delivers 553bhp with maximum torque of 556 at 4750rpm, thanks to new exhaust manifolds and engine mapping.

The torque curve has also been modified and is higher across the engine’s generous rev range. That means if you opt for a Ferrari California, you’ll spend your time trying to drag the back of your cranium from the headrest – the pulling power is simply stupefying.

Cutting-edge aluminium fabrication techniques and construction technologies used in the creation of the Ferrari California’s chassis, have led to an overall reduction of 30kg in the car’s weight, without intruding in any way on its structural stiffness and performance.

Drive the California and you’ll experience these enhancements for yourself. They have improved the Ferrari’s athleticism, reducing its 0-62mph acceleration time to an eye watering 3.6 seconds. The top speed of 196mph is even more electrifying. Add meticulously accurate gear changes into the mix and the whole machine feels as alert as a petrolhead on Pro Plus.

The thrusting external design certainly rotates heads and the cabin manages to fuse tech and old-style splendour at the same time. Undeniably, the interior emanates a sense of hospitality and craftsmanship hard to find elsewhere. You can see why the California has won worldwide praise for its performance and extraordinary resourcefulness – resulting from its retractable hard top and 2+2 seating.

The Ferrari California benefits from faster turn-in too, with smaller steering wheel movements thanks to a new direction-finding box with a 10 per cent quicker steering ratio.

All these spanking new features combine to highlight the California’s sporty expertise without affecting its high-performance grand touring talent – a feat very much in line with Ferrari’s DNA.

Features:  Luxurious √  Thrilling √  Comfortable √  Expensive X

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Reviewed: 2015 Ferrari California T

On the road prices: £154,490

Engine: 3855cc, V8, Twin Turbo, 32 valve petrol
Power: 553bhp @7500rpm
Torque: 556lb.ft @4750rpm
0-60mph: 3.6 seconds
Top speed: 196 mph
Fuel economy: combined 24.1 mpg
CO2 emissions: 273 g/km

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About the Author

Tim Barnes-Clay


Tim Barnes-Clay qualified as a journalist in 1994 and is a member of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers. He initially trained in broadcast journalism and has worked as a reporter and news reader at various radio stations in East Anglia and the Midlands. He has also been a motoring journalist for the Mirror Group’s L!ve TV cable network and a presenter, reporter and producer at ITV Central in Birmingham. Tim is now an automotive writer, focusing on car reviews. He has media accreditation with all motor manufacturers’ press offices, and this enables him to test drive the latest cars. He also attends new vehicle press launches at home and abroad.

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