Ferrari California T revealed in Geneva

4 Mar, 2014 11:28am Tom Phillips

Turbocharged 553bhp 3.9-litre V8 for facelifted Ferrari California T

This is the new Ferrari California T, disrobed today at the Geneva Motor Show. And while it’s clearly based on the California that’s been with us since 2008, Ferrari says it’s so thoroughly facelifted and re-engineered that the firm considers it a new model.

As well as being the first Ferrari to feature a folding hardtop, which drops into the body in 14 seconds, the outgoing California was Ferrari’s first front-engined direct-injection V8-powered car.

But while the old model featured a 4,297cc naturally aspirated V8, the new California T gets a 3,855cc V8 boosted by a pair of twin-scroll turbochargers. The new engine develops 553bhp at 7,500rpm, up from 483bhp at 7,500rpm.

More significant is that maximum torque climbs by 49 per cent, from 505Nm at 5,000rpm to 755Nm at 4,750rpm.

In terms of performance, a couple of tenths are shaved from the 0-62mph time, which drops to 3.6 seconds, while top speed climbs from 194mph to 196mph.

However, for models equipped with Ferrari’s HELE fuel-saving tech, fuel consumption improves from 24.6mpg to 26.9mpg, while CO2 emissions fall from by 20g/km to 250g/km.

The engine is related to the unit that Ferrari makes for the Maserati Quattroporte. However, it’s completely overhauled for use in the California, featuring a slightly different displacement, and a flat-plane crank for extra punch, instead of a cross-plane crank for smoothness.

There are also new electronics to ensure the engine works with Ferrari’s manettino control, and a new three-piece cast exhaust system to ensure that the turbo engine sounds ‘powerful and engaging.’

As well as a new engine, the California T features revised steering and a new suspension set-up, which includes a new generation of Magnaride dampers that react 50 per cent faster. The California T also has the latest evolution of Ferrari’s F1-Trac traction control system.

The brakes have been overhauled, too, including new composite discs and pads, and a new ESP 8.0 system that allows the California T to brake from 62mph to 0mph in just 34 metres.

The new California T features a new design penned by the Ferrari Styling Centre in collaboration with Pininfarina. The nose gets new headlights that look more similar to Ferrari’s latest models, plus a wider front grille, flanked by larger, triangular air vents. The bonnet now features a pair of vents to reflect the pair of turbos hiding beneath, rather than a single scoop.

The flanks now feature more graceful curves, with a swooping crease running back from the sleeker-looking vent in each front wing. The vent ahead of the rear wheel is now moved to the rear bumper, too.

The design of the rear is much improved, with the light twin light units of the old car amalgamated into just two circular units. The vertically stacked twin quad exhausts are now lined-up horizontally, and sit either side of a new triple-fence diffuser.

Buyers can pick from a couple of new colours, too – dark Rosso California red that’s supposed to recall classic Ferraris, and Blu California. New wheel designs complete the changes.

Inside, the California T benefits from Frau semi-aniline leather trim, and a redesigned centre console and dashboard. There’s a new 6.5-inch touchscreen in the dash. Above this is a new Turbo Performance Engineer, which sits between the two central air vents. This also features a touch-sensitive display that lets the driver scroll through a number of info screens which detail the new engine’s performance.

Orders open at the same time, with prices set to be similar to the outgoing car, which starts at £152,154. The first UK right-hand drive cars will be delivered in September 2014.