Ferrari has revealed a comprehensively revamped version of its entry-level California model prior to the car's debut at the Geneva Auto Show. Now dubbed the 2015 Ferrari California T, this 2+2 retractable hardtop GT will arrive here late this year boasting sleeker styling, enhanced dynamics and for the first time since Ferrari's fabled F40 supercar, a turbocharged engine.
The heart of the California T is a new 3.9-liter force-fed/direct-injected V8 that shares its basic architecture with the 3.8-liter engine Ferrari supplies to Maserati for use in its Quattroporte. However, for California T duty, this mid-front-mounted powerplant is upgraded with a new flat-plane crankshaft and Variable Boost Management for its dual-scroll twin-turbo system plus a unique three-piece cast exhaust manifold and turbo housing for each cylinder bank.
Ferrari claims this setup virtually eliminates lag while giving the engine a high-intensity exhaust note that only gets better as the revs rise. It also helps the all-alloy V8 churn out 552 horsepower and 557 lb-ft of peak torque. For the record, that's 69 more ponies and a huge 185 lb ft of additional torque compared to the 4.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 in the current California. Backed by a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, this turbocharged thriller will send the new California T from 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds, let it touch 196 mph on the top end and still manage to return 15-20 percent better fuel economy than the car it replaces.
To ensure that added muscle can be fully exploited, Ferrari engineers also revamped the existing California's chassis bits. In addition to a retuned suspension, the 2015 California T benefits from a more responsive steering system as well as the latest generation of MagneRide magneto-rheological dampers which respond 50 percent more quickly than the current shocks and further reduce body motion without hammering the ride quality. It also gets the most recent evolution of Ferrari's F1-Trac traction control system that maximizes acceleration out of a corner and bolsters stopping power with the use of CCM3 carbon-ceramic brakes.
Effectively redrawn by the Ferriari Design Center and the automaker's long-time collaborator Pininfarina, the 2015 California T's bodywork boasts an edgier but more refined character. Up front, a larger grille and air intakes are set off by a twin-scoop hood while the rear dispenses with the current California's awkward "stacked" exhaust outlet configuration in favor of a tidier conventional twin-paired setup flanking an aggressive tri-blade diffuser. New side sculpting and pontoon-style fenders recalling those on Ferrari's classic 250 Testa Rossa further add to the California T's new look.
While much remains familiar in the California T's 2+2 cabin, the 2015 revamp includes the automaker's multifunction steering wheel, Poltrona Frau semi-aniline leather upholstery and a bounty of brushed aluminum trim with a new infotainment system that features 6.5-inch touchscreen. Also joining the mix is a "Turbo Performance Engineer" display positioned between the two center air vents on the dash. In addition presenting instantaneous boost, the multifunction TPE can scroll through a host of other engine-related data accessed via its touch-sensitive bezel. Cycle time on the retractable top remains about 14 seconds, but now it stacks in a tidier manner giving the car a lower, less hunchback appearance.
Pricing for the 2015 Ferrari California T will be announced closer to its U.S. on-sale date. However, it's expected to be fairly close to the current model and start around $205,000. Launch colors for this new Ferrari will include Rosso California and Blu California.
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