Ferrari has officially revealed the replacement for its California – the new California T convertible. Maranello’s engineers have also created an entirely new 8-cylinder turbo engine for the incoming model.
The direct-injection, 3855 cc turbo 8-cylinder is mounted very low in the chassis in a mid-front position and delivers 552 bhp at 7500 rpm, which translates into a specific power output of 141 bhp/l – the highest in its category according to Ferrari engineers – as along with maximum torque of 557 lb-ft. The California T accelerates from the 0 to 62 mph in a claimed 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 196 mph.
Ferrari says this is also the first time virtually zero turbo lag has been achieved on an engine of this type, resulting in improved response to commands and, as with naturally-aspirated power units, a torque curve that increases constantly across the rev range owing to Variable Boost Management.
As in Formula 1 this season, a turbo is used to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Compared to the outgoing model, fuel consumption is down by around 15 per cent despite 70 bhp more power and a 49 per cent increase in torque. Emissions are also down to 250 g/km, a noticeable reduction from the 270 g/km of the outgoing car. The new engine also benefits from several other solutions used on the single-seater, not least compact, low inertia twin-scroll turbines to give better throttle response.
One major challenge involved in the design of the California T was to create an intense engine sound. Ferrari says this was achieved through specific design work and the use of special manufacturing techniques for essential components, such as the flat-plane crankshaft and the three-piece cast exhaust manifold and turbo housing. The sound produced during both the intake and exhaust phases has never previously been achieved with a turbo engine, claims Ferrari.
The California T also promises to deliver improved driving dynamics, with a new steering box and suspension set-up leading to reduced steering wheel activity and improved steering response to driver input. New springs and latest-generation Magnaride dampers (which respond 50 per cent faster), combined with body motion accelerometers, help reduce roll and pitch.
The California T also has the latest evolution of the F1-Trac traction control system for increased acceleration out of corners. The CCM3 carbon-ceramic braking system, meanwhile, gets new composite discs and pads. The brakes are integrated with the ESP 8.0 premium which controls the ABS to deliver a 60 to 0 mph braking distance of 34 metres.
Styling wise, the design maintains the outgoing model’s overall dimensions. Penned by the Ferrari Styling Centre in collaboration with Pininfarina, the new car’s proportions are not too dissimilar to the outgoing model, although the redesign incorporates certain visual elements from both the F12 and the FF.
The California T will be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in March.