You buy a Ferrari because testosterone and red blood cells infuse your very being. You’re monstrously successful and attractive and have a love affair with speed, risk, excitement. That’s what a lot of Ferrari owners clearly tell themselves, as they squeeze their boardroom belly into a Ferrari red teeshirt and don the matching baseball cap to hide the bald spot.
But if you fancy a Ferrari and don’t feel like paying insane money, and you don’t fancy spending your whole time trying to prove something, then the California T could be for you. The clue’s in the name – California, sunshine, laid back surfing and hot yoga.
But let’s not go too far the other way, this is still a Ferrari that can hit 62mph from rest in just 3.6sec. Make my day. The twin-turbo V8 does that by making 552bhp, so 196mph is on the cards. That’s pretty mental, but this is still a Ferrari aimed more at those who want to cross a continent than those who want to set a faster lap time.
Compared to other Ferraris, the California T isn’t the most agile, but that reflects its intended use. It’s fairly comfy in any mode, but it won’t stiffen up as much as some others. Should you want to corner faster, flatter and with more panache, then you need to fork out another £5000 on top of the £150,000 starting price, which gets you the Handling Speciale pack.
That does do what it says, but really you have to question whether that’s what you should be spending the money on, rather than upgrading your suites along the way as Europe flashes by.
One thing that might not amuse as the miles mount up is that loud exhaust note. Ripping up and down the box it sounds exhilarating, blaring away constantly on a motorway it is considerably less enjoyable.
However, even given that, you’ll probably spend quite a bit of your time in the car with the roof down. You sit low in the cabin, with the wheel set high, so you’re relatively free of buffeting and gales. It feels a comfy, sort of right position for covering the miles. The infotainment system isn’t up to much but at least you can have Apple CarPlay functionality now.
If you do have the roof down you’ll have a much smaller boot to carry your travelling bags, but frankly that’s just Ferrari’s way of telling you to buy more clothes on the way. You’ll certainly be comfy whatever you’re wearing up front, although you definitely wouldn’t relish setting off on a long journey if you were forced into either of the rear seats.
If you were in those rear seats you’d be looking for fairly frequent fuel and coffee stops, at which point you’re going to start to worry. Because by the standards of Ferrari this is reasonably fuel efficient and there’s a large 78-litre fuel tank. No need to stop for hundreds of miles,