Spe­ciale Touch

A pack­age of tech­ni­cal tweaks for the Cal­i­for­nia T gives Fer­rari’s grand tour­ing con­vert­ible ex­tra ap­peal for those seek­ing an ex­otic sports car suit­able for day-to-day duty, writes Sean Li

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life Cars -

nzo Fer­rari’s love of rac­ing was well known. Rac­ing is part of the very DNA of the com­pany he founded, for its de­vel­op­ment of road cars was to help fi­nance Fer­rari’s rac­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. Scud­e­ria Fer­rari en­tered the very first For­mula One cham­pi­onship in 1950 and is the only team to have par­tic­i­pated con­tin­u­ously.

You can un­der­stand, then, that Fer­rari’s per­for­mance stan­dards are ex­pected to be very high at ev­ery level. While other man­u­fac­tur­ers have ex­panded their prod­uct range to in­clude sports util­ity ve­hi­cles or other brand ex­ten­sions, Fer­rari has stead­fastly fo­cused on ex­otic sports cars, and has gone on record to say that it has no plans to do oth­er­wise.

That doesn’t mean, how­ever, there’s no room to ma­noeu­vre. Take the Fer­rari Cal­i­for­nia. De­signed specif­i­cally as a grand tourer (GT), it was not de­signed to push into the ex­tremes of per­for­mance. It was meant for a mul­ti­pur­pose ex­is­tence, a Fer­rari that can be used on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, whether for the daily com­mute, a weekend away or a leisurely Sun­day drive to the coun­try club. Some of the mar­que’s more per­for­mance­ori­ented en­thu­si­asts have looked down on the Cal­i­for­nia as a softer, less ca­pa­ble Fer­rari. But the tech­ni­cal de­tails leave lit­tle to de­sire. The Cal­i­for­nia T has a 552bhp, 3.9-litre bi-turbo V8 en­gine that gen­er­ates a very sig­nif­i­cant 755Nm of torque for a 3.6-sec­ond 0-100km/h dash and a top speed of 316km/h.

While it may be the “slow­est” mem­ber of Fer­rari’s road­go­ing sta­ble, those fig­ures still place it very firmly in the high­per­for­mance cat­e­gory, per­haps just short of a su­per­car. Bear in mind that the Cal­i­for­nia T is a four-seater, is fully con­vert­ible and has suf­fi­cient room in the boot, even with the hard top re­tracted, to ac­com­mo­date the gear re­quired for a weekend get­away. It very ably ful­fils the goals Fer­rari had in mind in de­vel­op­ing the Cal­i­for­nia.

There are driv­ers, how­ever, who would like to push the GT con­cept fur­ther and make the Cal­i­for­nia sportier. It’s for these cus­tomers that Fer­rari has de­vel­oped a new ver­sion, the Cal­i­for­nia T Han­dling Spe­ciale. The “Spe­ciale” does not match the “track special” Fer­raris de­vel­oped for clients who want to drive their car on the near­est race­track on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Han­dling Spe­ciale refers to a spe­cific for­mula de­vel­oped to change the char­ac­ter of the car on the road, mak­ing its Fer­rari’s Cal­i­for­nia T Han­dling Spe­ciale tack­les the roads around Portofino with aplomb

re­fined pack­age

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