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Ferrari California T debuts at Geneva motor show

Tue, 04 Mar 2014

Ferrari is officially back in the turbocharging business, and the first turbo model on offer will be the California T, which the Maranello-based company brought to the Geneva Motor Show this week. A turbo under the hood isn't the only new thing the California T will offer -- the 3.9-liter V8 engine is all new and the car itself has been thoroughly redesigned inside and out. Let's take a closer look at what this new California retractable hard top will feature.

While the F40 may have been the last Ferrari to offer a turbocharger it was still subject to turbo lag, and that's one thing that Ferrari promises the California T will not carry over from past engines. Speaking of promises, the engine is rated at 560 hp and 557 lb-ft of torque, which is 70 hp and 49 lb-ft more than the last California, for those of you keeping track. The result is a neck-breaking sprint to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Despite the eye-watering performance, Ferrari has managed to improve fuel economy by 15 percent, while reducing emissions by 20 percent.

Pininfarina along with the Ferrari Style Center is responsible for the design of the new California T, which was inspired by the 250 Testa Rossa and its famous pontoon-fender styling. The modern reinterpretation of that classic design cue adds a crease line at the top of the fender, but the basic shape along with a substantial grille opening should be immediately recognizable to anyone who's seen a 250 Testa Rossa, or other Ferraris from the 1960s.

The engine and the skin aren't the only things that Ferrari has tweaked, as the California T features a thoroughly redesigned chassis with only 40 percent of the components migrating over from the previous model. The California T features new springs along with Magnaride dampers, which along with body motion accelerometers should provide more precise handling with a comfortable ride. New composite discs and pads are featured on the CCM3 carbon-ceramic brakes, and are integrated with Ferrari's ESP 8.0 premium, which manages the ABS system to ensure extremely short stopping distances. 111 feet is all it takes for the California T to decelerate from 62 mph to a complete stop.

The retractable hard top folds in just 14 seconds.

A few other changes to the California are worth a mention, including front seats that slide further forward to the benefit of ingress and egress of rear passengers, CarPlay Apple (an iPhone integration system which offers users a safer way to use an iPhone in the car with voice commands) and an entirely new steering box which is said to be more precise.

Three new configuration options will be available when the California T debuts, including Ski, Golf, and Country. The Ski package will include a luggage compartment lined in anti-scratch carbon-fiber with metal inserts, while the Golf package will consist of tartan patterns in the interior. The third configuration package, Country, will feature warm leather tones and a luggage compartment lined with Testa di Moro leather used in the cabin itself.

In addition to bringing the California T to the Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari is also exhibiting the F12 berlinetta, which is the company's most powerful mid-front mounted V12, along with a 458 Spider and two Ferrari FFs.

By Jay Ramey