Here’s What We Love About The Ferrari California T

Here’s What We Love About The Ferrari California T

Updated for its 2014 launch, the Ferrari California T manifests sophistication and versatility with blistering

Updated for its 2014 launch, the Ferrari California T manifests sophistication and versatility with blistering performance. Preserving its signature features such as the retractable hardtop and 2+2 configuration, this Italian cruiser had acquired a new aggressive look with a more potent, albeit smaller, V8 powerplant. Moreover, the California T possessed both the comfort of a GT car and the agility of a supercar.

The T suffix in the name denotes Turbo making the California T the first modern Ferrari to use turbo technology since the Ferrari F40 back in 1987. It’s true to say the Ferrari California was always represented as an affordable route into Ferrari ownership, appealing to a new clientele. However, it appears Ferrari’s introduction of the entry-level sports car, paid off becoming one of the brand’s bestselling cars.

Indeed, the California was a significant model in Ferrari’s history. Moreover, it was the first Ferrari to have a V8 mounted up front rather than behind the cabin. The first hardtop convertible with a folding metal roof and the first to feature a double-clutch sequential semi-automatic gearbox. With the introduction of turbocharging in the California T, the Italian automaker was certainly marking a new era for the brand.

Irrespective of sales, the previous generation California somewhat disappointed Ferrari aficionados with its soft styling, engine displacement and overall lack of charisma. However, the clever technicians at Maranello addressed these issues with the California T, turning the everyday cruiser into a genuine driver’s car. Furthermore, the design of the Ferrari California T was a vast improvement over the previous model, now acquiring a sharper appearance and sportier cabin. However, the modern enhancements were more significant with innovations derived from Formula One.

Certainly, this prancing horse evolved into a much-improved driving machine with dynamic handling characteristics, explosive performance, and gorgeous styling to become a hugely accomplished machine.

A Return To Turbocharging

Ferrari California T

Ferrari’s all-new V8 not only acquired twin-scroll turbochargers, but the engine also downsized to a 3.9-liter displacement from the naturally aspirated 4.3 of the previous generation. According to Ferrari, the 3885 cc in the California T was more efficient with a 15% reduction in emissions than the previous unit, though the performance was in no way compromised. Moreover, power increased by 70 horsepower to 553 horsepower at 7500 rpm and a massive 557 lb-ft of torque, which had increased by 49%. Consequently, the 0-62 mph time had dropped from 3.8 seconds to 3.6 seconds, thanks to the instant throttle response and the magnificent seven-speed dual-clutch F1 transmission providing lightning-fast gear shifts and aggressive acceleration. What’s more, a top speed of 196 mph was impressive for this boulevard cruiser. Thanks to the carbon-ceramic brakes, the California T had superior stopping power too.

Although the Ferrari weighed 3,813 lbs, the engine was cleverly situated behind the front axle, minimizing the effects of the weight. The California T is a Ferrari with a split personality. It can be a friendly daily cruiser with a comfortable ride and smooth transmission. However, with one turn of the Mannetino dial on the steering wheel, the ferocious engine comes alive and the quad pipes make an exhilarating soundtrack. What’s more, sharper gear shifts and handling enable the prancing horse to cover ground at a phenomenal pace. In addition to acquiring an upgraded MagnaRide suspension, the Ferrari had a revised F1 Trac traction control system which improved steering wheel responsiveness and provided confident acceleration round challenging bends.

Ferrari technicians have tried to make the turbocharged powerplant in the California T behave like a naturally aspirated engine, providing instant responses. This translated to an impressive surge of acceleration across the rev range with virtually zero turbo lag from the superlative power unit.

However, despite its monstrous performance and capabilities, the California T is still very much a GT rather than a track machine like its 458 stablemate. As with the previous generation California, Ferrari offered a Handling Speciale Package (HS) from 2016, costing approximately $7000 on top of the list price at the time. The HS version featured recalibrated magnetorheological dampers minimizing body roll and providing a dynamic drive.

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Upgraded Design and Cabin

Ferrari California T Interior

Aesthetically, the California T is a stunning-looking design by Pininfarina. Certainly, a vast improvement over the Ferrari it replaces and no doubt more attractive.

The fascia of the California T is much sleeker and aggressive in appearance, now housing two bonnet vents. Furthermore, the slimmer headlights provide overtones of the Ferrari F12. In particular, the rear is lower and sportier with four horizontally aligned exhaust pipes as opposed to stacked pipes of the previous generation California. Sitting on gorgeous 20-inch alloys, the cohesive lines of the exterior work well with the roof up or down. What’s more, the folding metal hard top of the California T detracts in a mere 14 seconds, though trunk space can become seriously restricted with the roof lowered. The 2+2 configuration remains, however, the rear seats are better used as extra cabin space.

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The cabin of the California T is driver-orientated with all with switchgear within easy reach and ergonomically placed. The electrically adjustable leather front seats provide superb comfort and support for traveling long distances. Furthermore, the steering wheel with integrated controls is now synonymous with all Ferrari’s and provides that racing sensation. Leather adorns the cabin of the California T, which uses high-quality materials and put together exceptionally well.

Still An Entry-Level Ferrari?

Ferrari California

It’s true to say that the Ferrari California T was an affordable entry point into Ferrari ownership until 2017 when replaced by the Ferrari Portofino. Prices of the California T, when new, started at approximately $202,000. According to, the price of a used 2018 Ferrari California T today is around the $138,000 mark. However, the Handling Speciale versions command a higher price and are sought after for the extra kit.

The 70th Anniversary California Ts are rare and can fetch more than $400,000!

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