Ferrari has joined the turbo revolution with its comprehensively overhauled California thanks to a new V8 that churns out a thumping 552bhp and improves the economy at the same time. The California T retains the folding hardtop roof for the same coupe/convertible dual personality that made the current California so popular. However it now goes a lot faster thanks to the addition of the new engine Ferrari also shares with stablemate Maserati.
The turbo not only boosts the power from 490bhp in the old car, but massively ramps up the torque from 372 lb ft to 557lb ft. It also has the practical advantage of being able to shave off half a liter in the capacity and improve the claimed economy from 22mpg to 27, thanks in part to an engine stop/start function at idle.
All this means the California T accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.6sec against 3.8 for the old car and on to a top speed of 190mph.
Designer Pininfarina has helped Ferrari smarten up the exterior of the 2+2 by remodelling the smiling grille to something more angular and aggressive, while the dramatic headlights now stretch back onto the wings. A new triple-fence rear diffuser improves aerodynamics and draws the eye in an area of the car that divided opinion on the current model.
Ferrari promises all that visual sharpening comes with greater dynamic sharpness too. A new steering box is said to improve response for less input, and new active dampers are claimed to respond 50 per cent faster for more precise handling while still offering enough comfort for the California not to fail in its all-important boulevard cruiser role.
In the same time the remodeled cockpit is lined in sumptuous leather and offers a useful separate access to the boot via the rear seats, but head out on to a track and the racing tradition comes to the fore with easy access to paddle shifters behind the the flat-bottomed steering wheel to operate the dual-clutch gearbox.
The California T is expected to go on sale this autumn.