FERRARI CALIFORNIA T AUSTRALIA
Ferrari’s California is back for another swing, this time with a turbocharged engine and a (relatively) sharp new entry price.
Debuting in Melbourne this week, the upgraded California ‘T’ is now priced from $409,880 - a handy $49,407 less than the T-less model it replaces.
Ferrari’s entry-level offering also gets a whole new look for 2014, but the real trick is under the bonnet, where you’ll find a turbocharged 3.9 litre V8.
Replacing the 360kW/505Nm naturally-aspirated 4.3 litre V8 of the previous model, this new mill gives the California a welcome boost to 412kW and 755Nm.
The new engine sits at the front, with the bulk of its mass behind the front axle, and overall weight distribution in the convertible is a 43/57 front to rear split.
As Ferrari’s first turbo model since the ‘stuff of legends’ F40, the California T promises a properly quick 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds.
That may only be a 0.2 second improvement over the old model, but here’s the kicker: the new California will now hit 200km/h in 11.2 seconds - a full 2.1 seconds quicker than its predecessor.
Top speed is also improved, for those that ever get near it, increasing from 312 to 316km/h.
A part-throttle system and taller gearing in the revised seven-speed dual-clutch auto - along with the new engine’s own characteristics - also sees the more powerful new model’s fuel consumption drop 15 percent to 10.5 l/100km.
Other improvement to the California T include a revised chassis, improved steering response and the latest version of Ferrari’s F1-Trac traction control system.
There’s new springs all round, plus the latest-generation 'Magnaride' dampers, which Ferrari says respond 50 percent faster.
Inside, the new California gets an updated dash layout, featuring a semi-electronic instrument cluster and a 6.5-inch touch screen.
As for the styling, the California T shares little with the pre-update model, although the folding hardtop that covers the 2+2 seating layout remains unchanged.
The rear seats are again little more than a glorified parcel shelf, but thanks to the folding rear shelf, it means the 340 litre boot space can expand to accommodate that universal storage benchmark: two sets of golf clubs.
The folding hardtop promises to convert the California T from convertible to coupe in just 14 seconds - and back again.
The California has been dubbed the ‘everyday Ferrari’ (although we’d give that title to the wagon-like FF), and the company says around 70 percent of its Australian buyers are new to the brand.
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