Let’s be clear; the California T might be the least agile Ferrari, but it’s still hugely fast. The engine is a twin-turbocharged 552bhp V8, which has been used since 2012, and it gives the California a 0-62mph acceleration of just 3.6sec, plus a 196mph top speed, which puts it in the top echelon of performance cars. It's certainly faster than an SL 63, but still someway behind the ballistic 911 Turbo S.
For around £5000 more, Ferrari will add its Handling Speciale (HS) package. Its quicker gearchanges are just about detectable — either in manual paddle-shift or automatic mode — to anyone who’s driven a standard California. They’re still very smooth, though, even with the steering wheel-mounted driving mode switch (which Ferrari calls a manettino) set to the more urgent Sport mode.
However, it’s in corners that you notice a difference between the California T HS and its sibling. The stiffer suspension and re-rated dampers give the car a flatter cornering stance and a very accurate corner entry. It'll certainly out-corner an SL.
Since it first appeared in 2009, the California has become well known for light but quick-geared steering that's notably easy to use around town.
The ride comfort may not please everyone. It’s less composed than the standard car in any of the three driving modes, though not so bad as to allow the car to crash into ruts. It’s definitely more sports car than grand tourer. The loud exhaust note sounds great when you’re in the mood, but on motorways it can set up a drone that won’t please every owner.