The 2017 Ferrari California is one of a kind
The California T is Ferrari’s entry-level model and one of three convertibles produced by the automaker. The Italian sports car ranks below the GTC4Lusso T, the 488 GTB, and the 488 Spider in Ferrari’s V-8 model lineup and behind the 488 Spider and the LaFerrari Aperta in the convertible lineup.
Although the two-door hardtop convertible is the entry level model, the California T (T for Turbo) is powered by a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 that produces 557 lb-ft of torque and 553 hp at a sky-high 7,500 rpm. Power is routed to the rear wheels through Ferrari’s F1 dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain propels the Ferrari to a manufacturer claimed 0-62 mph time of just 3.6 seconds, achieves a top speed of 196 mph and manages to deliver an EPA-rated 16/23 mpg city/highway. The California T places 53 percent of its 3,800-pound curb weight over the rear wheels.
The $8,000 Handling Speciale (HS) package gives this grand touring supercar more thrills by providing sportier driving dynamics. This package includes stiffer springs, modifies the gearshift logic that results in faster shifting, enhanced the SCM3 magnetorheological dampers to have a faster response and improved efficiency, and revised the F1-Trac traction control system to ensure better acceleration on bumpy road surfaces and when exiting corners. Additionally, a redesigned exhaust system is designed to create an exhaust sound that progressively increases with the engine’s speed, providing an aggressive sound when driven hard. Aesthetically, the HS package provides a front grille and rear diffuser painted in matte Grigio Ferro Met, matte black tailpipes, and a special Handling Speciale plaque inside.
Some safety features of the 2017 California T include front and rear parking sensors, dual side-mounted front airbags, F1-Trac traction and stability control system, and four-wheel antilock brakes. The optional AFS adaptive headlight system improves night time visibility by adjusting the headlight beam depending on the vehicle’s steering angle, speed, and lateral acceleration.
In a 2017 First Drive of the Ferrari California T with the Handling Speciale package, we were impressed with the new twin-turbo V-8 that doesn’t produce any noticeable turbo lag, the loads of torque, and a great transmission. We also enjoyed the handling: “Wondrous steering, excellent grip, light feeling despite itself—the big takeaway is that it’s just so much fun to drive. Yes, the massive layers of power help things, but the car handles fabulously.”
In the end, it was difficult for us to call that the California T a grand touring (GT) car and said, “If the 488 is your idea of a sports car, then the California T HS splits the difference between a GT and an out-and-out sports car.”
In a 2015 First Drive review of the California T, we liked the handling and capability of the Italian GT car but felt it lacked passion, “…The California is a wonderful car for its intended customer, and no matter what we purists think, that’s what matters. This California will continue to be Ferrari’s best-seller and it has every reason to be.”
Source: Motor Trend
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