The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

Geneva show: Ferrari turbocharges the California roadster

More smiles per mile from Ferrari's sunshine state car


FOR JUST a moment, picture yourself on the Amalfi coast with your Ferrari roadster’s roof stowed in the boot, blue skies and sunshine above and the legendary wail of a turbocharged Ferrari V8 motor echoing off the cliffs.

Hang on a minute – turbocharged V8? That’s right: this is the second-generation Ferrari California, called the California T. It features a new, turbocharged V8 motor which should help Ferrari enhance its appeal to wealthy buyers, while addressing practical issues such as CO2 emissions regulations.

Extensively restyled and mechanically overhauled, the direct-fuel injection, 3855cc V8 uses a turbocharger to help generate 552bhp at 7,500rpm, good for 0-62mph in 3.6sec and a top speed of 196mph. At the same time, the turbo helps to improve fuel efficiency (from under 22mpg to almost 27mpg) and exhaust emissions.

Keeping all this in check is a revised steering and suspension system, a new generation of electro-magnetic dampers that, it is claimed, react 50% faster than the previous model’s, and powerful carbon-ceramic brakes.

The restyled bodywork was designed by Ferrari and Pininfarina. Inside, new features include a Turbo Performance Engineer, which sounds like someone you call out to fix your car but is actually a touch-sensitive display that can cycle through performance readings such as, well, the boost pressure of the turbocharger.

The roadster will make its public debut at the Geneva motor show in early March and is expected to cost from £155,000. Canny drivers with an eye for a deal may like to note that used Californias cost from £90,000, and with the arrival of the California T, more examples of the first-generation roadster will come to market, driving down prices further still. Keep an eye on the market and you could bag a bargain.