First published in March 2015
My first love was a Ferrari. I was 16, it was Spring, and it seemed like destiny at the time. David Ferrari and I didn’t last the year, but I was seriously tempted at the time to marry him just to secure probably the most amazing surname ever. Fast forward 20 years and it seems I was just a little confused in my teens. My destiny wasn’t to BE a Ferrari. It was to drive one.
The Ferrari California T to be exact.
Over the span of my PR and media career, I’ve been lucky enough to have driven some pretty incredible cars, but nothing even holds a candle to this shining star of the automotive world. The fact that it’s incredibly sexy initially lured me in, but as soon as I got behind the wheel, my world changed forever. If I win the lottery, or strike it rich some other way (suggestions accepted), this will absolutely be the car I buy.
I have to admit, I’m not a car buff, so to ensure I didn’t let the rev heads out there down, I took my car loving finance, Steve, along for a ride. Let’s just say, he hasn’t stopped talking about it.
The term “corners like it’s on rails” comes to mind when I think of elite automotive metal-gods, like Ferraris, so after a brief drive along the coast, we decided the destination HAD to be the Adelaide Hills.
But first, we braved the rain clouds and put the hard top roof down. In 13.6 seconds. Amazing.
The GPS worked a treat, and we managed to find the windiest roads possible to get us to our first stop – Longview Vineyard. I took the first leg to the journey, and after driving like an overly cautious grandmother for the first five minutes, I gave in to the car’s will, and started to really enjoy what this $440,000 beast had to offer. It DID corner like it was on rails. The incredible responsiveness of both the acceleration and the breaking gave us both some jerky lessons while we learnt the best way to enjoy the super sensitive handling. I also had to watch the speedometer like a hawk, because you can blink and hit 100kmph (it literally only takes 3.6 seconds), and a speeding ticket was the last thing I needed.
For those in the know, the maximum power in the California T is 412 KW (560 CV) at 7500 RPM. That actually means nothing to me. But boy does the engine sound FANTASTIC. It’s a head turner, that’s for sure.
When we cruised into Longview, we managed to gate crash a private function. Erin and Adam’s wedding to be exact. Luckily for us, the groom was a HUGE Ferrari fan, and the bride (as her first wedding gift to her husband it seems) agreed to have some wedding photos taken with the car.
Everyone LOVED the car, and pretty much everyone figured we were celebrities or on the BRW Rich List, so we just played along and enjoyed this bucket list moment. Someone asked Steve what the top speed he’d driven the car at was, and knowing that we had only hit 100kms on the way to Longview, Steve just smiled and let them assume whatever they wanted.
Post-wedding snaps, we also managed to take some photos of the California T before the sun went down and the rain set in.
As a first-timer in a Ferrari, Steve said that the thought of and dreams of driving a Ferrari quickly turned to nerves as he pressed the start button firing up the most powerful output of kilowatts of a Ferrari on the market. You don’t actually need to drive this car anywhere to be impressed. You can just sit in it and listen to the engine as your heart rate races before you take off. Fortunately for Steve, a virgin Ferrari driver, the California T is by far the most civilised and driver-friendly car in the Ferrari range. There is not the usual concern of avoiding every pothole and bump and car park entrance that comes with a super car with only millimetres of clearance. The California T is the only model in the Ferrari range that doesn’t require to raise or lower suspension. With that in mind, with the skies turning grey, and the rain starting to spit on the windshield, there was no way Steve was about to turn off the sports mode, just yet. It was Steve’s turn to take the car through its paces on the windy Adelaide Hills road himself. In full sports mode, the tiptronic gearbox with buttons on the steering wheel, the car effortlessly took every bend and corner in its paces at whatever speed you attempted to go around it in. This is, after all, a Ferrari. With brake disks the size of most family car wheels, the California T stops decicively. Steve likened the acceleration and engine breaking to that of his 1000cc Honda Fireblade motorbike, more than any car he’s driven.
Where the super car comes into its own as a sports tourer, is the ease and comfort in which you can get in and out of the car all day, without the need of a chiropractor. As the weather turned, and the skies opened, we once again transformed the convertible into a hard top coupe with the push of a button. If you hadn’t seen it transform, you’d never know the car was in fact a convertible. It’s even more beautiful with the roof up.
After putting the car through its paces during the day in sunnier conditions, the rain made us change our mindset and put our sensible hat on. It was time to see how a super car could deal with normal life conditions on wet, winding, slippery roads. We turned off the sports mode and turned on the automatic mode.
In automatic mode, this car needs to be truly commended. the throttle response, acceleration, braking and gear selection changed completely, turning this roaring beast into a sensible grand tourer instead of an out and out super car. And hey, it still looked amazing.
When we dropped the keys off, both Steve and myself agreed that the California T is such a comfortable drive that you could easily enjoy your Ferrari on a daily basis, unlike some other elite sports cars, which are saved for special occasions. It has the engine to ensure anyone who loves power, control and excitement has the car of their dreams, which you don’t forgo any comfort necessary for driving to work or around town. But here’s a hot tip: Just don’t choose the suede interior if you’re picking a kid up from sports practice. We had a heart attack just thinking about it. We’d be the people asking our friends to put on a hazard suit before entering the car to ensure it stayed pristine…
Find out more at https://california-t.ferrari.com/en/
Photos by Akil Madan Photography. Full gallery here.