The lights turned on before the covers were pulled off the tomato red California T creating an aura of mystery. And when the engines purred to life, it set the pulse racing. I was not surprised when the Company officials claimed to already having made eight bookings, at the launch of the Ferrari California T, held at JW Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi. With a price tag of about Rs 3.5 crore, it is definitely the cheapest Ferrari on Indian roads.
There is much excitement amongst those that love power cars, with the arrival of Ferrari back in India with its brand new California T model, after a long hiatus. The penchant of Indians for flashy, expensive automobiles has seen luxury car brands doing brisk business in even remote towns. And owning a Ferrari, leave alone a brand new model that debuted last year in the Geneva Auto Show, borders on fantasy.
About California T
The California T, like its predecessors is a grand touring sports car. The ‘California’ tag was first used for its Ferrrari 250 GT model in the late 1950. This updated California T (the T stands for Turbo) comes with a new turbocharged V8 engine, increase in torque by 49%, and a 15% reduced fuel consumption.
The updated California T, which is built in a new production line adjacent to the existing factory at Maranello in Italy, the home of Ferrari, now comes with a revised body design to match the new engines. It has retained its signatures such as the 2+2 concept, wherein the car has a retractable hard top roof (RHT), which transforms it from a chic coupé to a sophisticated spider in just 14 seconds.
The 8-cylinder turbocharged engine delivers top level performance, blistering pick-up speed and the most exhilarating soundtrack any turbo has ever yielded, that too with virtually zero turbo lag. Expect instantaneous response to command and, as with naturally spirated power units, a torgue curve that increases constantly across the rev range thanks to Variable Boost Management.
The direct – injection, 3855 cc turbocharged 8 – cylinder is mounted very low in the chassis in a mid-front position and delivers 412 kW at 7500 rpm, which translates into a power output of 107 kW per litre – the highest in its segment – along with maximum torque of 755 Nm. Ferrari California T delivers an extra 70 CV and a massive 49% more torque, yet somehow fuel consumption has fallen by 15% increasing its range by 20%. Even Turbo lag has been eliminated by cutting on overall masses and inertia, and the use of the F1 derived flat-plane crankshaft and innovative twin-scroll turbines. Innovative design and engineering techniques have also produced a classical powerful, exhilarating Ferrari soundtrack too. Giving it the necessary tools to be able to display such feats of performance as sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 3.6 seconds and achieve a top speed of 315 km/h. Using its integrated braking system with the ESP 8.0 premium it can decelerate from 100 to 0km/h with braking distance of just 34 metres, using its efficient braking system with new composite discs and pads. Emissions are down to 250 g/km over the combined cycle, which equated to a 20% reduction in CO2/kW ration.
The Driving Experience
To drive the first three gears have had its torque curve deliberately managed so that you get the full surge only by travelling toward the red-line. But in the upper ratios, there’s the full wave of relaxing torque. So it can be a rev-happy supercar one minute, relaxed cruiser the next. The California T delivers true sports car dynamics thanks to reduced steering wheel activity and improved steering response to driver input, courtesy of new steering box and suspension set-up. New springs and latest generation Magnaride dampers (which respond 50% faster), combined with body motion accelerometers, reduce roll and pitch for more precise handling whilst still guaranteeing an incredibly comfortable ride.
On the inside you get the smooth Ferrari leather. California T’s cabin was designed to be as ergonomic as possible and exudes a sense of warmth and craftsmanship. The interior space is flexible for efficient use of the boot capacity even with the top down, thanks to the opening between the luggage compartment and the rear seats.
The human-machine interface encompasses the Ferrari steering wheel with integrated controls while the Turbo Performance Engineer (TPE) is located between the two air vents in the centre of the dash. The TPE display boasts a capacitive touch-sensitive surround to scroll through screens with information on making the most of the new engine’s performance.
The infotainment system comprises a high-resolution 6.5 inch screen featuring both touch-screen and conventional controls. Launching a new sat-nav and a music system which will include Apple Car/Play.u
This wonder that is Ferrari California T has been awarded the Red Dot Award, for which there were approximately 5,000 innovative entries from 56 nations in the competition. The work of the Ferrari Style Centre headed by Flavio Manzoni was selected by an international jury made up of respected designers, design professors and specialist journalists from 25 countries.
Two dealers have been appointed by the Ferrari company in Mumbai and New Delhi each. In Delhi, the Ferrari California T will be available at Select Cars, which is already recognised in the luxury automobile segment. The price tag of Rs 3.45 crores includes a seven years maintenance contract, a four year warranty. Delivery schedules are from three to four months, subject to availability of colours or other customisation options, but with a top time period of six months.