Ferrari’s California Gets a Turbo and a Lot More Vroom-Vroom

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Typically the terms “Ferrari” and “entry-level” don’t get thrown around together a lot, but the Ferrari (FIATY.PK) California is about as entry-level as the Italian brand gets. At about $198,000 for the 2013 model, it’s the most affordable Ferrari on the market.

However, earlier this week Ferrari unveiled the California T, its new iteration of the popular grand touring car. Though its strikingly similar in name, that T signifies some substantial changes to the car.

From the exterior, not a whole lot has been changed. Ferrari has definitely tweaked the cosmetics a bit; smoothing the front out, laying the stacked exhaust pipes flat, but all in all it’s clearly California — nothing extraneous or unexpectedly was wrought upon the outside of the car.

Under the hood is a different story. The engine — a new, turbocharged unit displacing 3.9 liters across eight cylinders — now produces 560 horsepower and 557 pound-feet of torque, substantially more than the outgoing V8 that produced ‘only’ 483. Ferrari assures us that there will be “virtually zero” turbo lag, and also promises ”the most exhilarating soundtrack any turbo has ever yielded.” Torque is up 49 percent over the outgoing model.

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Ferrari has improved the California’s steering response, reduced the roll and pitch in the corners, and threw on some carbon ceramic brakes to help with handling. To match the speed of the car, Ferrari made sure that the retractable hardtop can open up in a scant 14 seconds.

The addition of the turbo (the last generation was naturally aspirated) cuts fuel consumption by 15 percent and emissions down by 20 percent, despite the increase in power. There’s a 6.5 inch touchscreen in the cabin, which as one would expect, is made of Ferrari-worthy materials in laid out in an intuitive and efficient manner.

For now, we only have the press images and a short teaser video, but the car will be showing up at the Geneva Auto Show next month for a formal reveal.

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