What Is It?

The 2015 Ferrari California T is the only car from the famed Prancing Horse stable to have a retractable hardtop, just as its predecessor (the California minus the T) was. To have such a complex array of levers, pulleys and motors adds weight to a car. And given the extreme sportiness of Ferrari machines in general, that's a bad thing. However, this revamped model brings improvements both in terms of power and pounds.

A new 3.9-liter V8 deploys twin turbochargers (hence, the T in the new name) to bring forth 553 horsepower and 557 lb-ft of torque. That's a 49 percent improvement over the outgoing model. Meanwhile, various weight-saving measures have shaved 235 pounds from the previous curb weight. Fuel economy is also better by 15 percent.

Ferrari claims that a new active suspension is 50 percent faster than the already quick-acting version in the older California. This is complemented by revisions to the steering system.

To top the whole thing off, the California T exhibits tweaks to the original design that critics seem to be receiving well; many of them never warmed to the original's looks. It all adds up to a fine 2+2 seater using a front-engine/rear-drive layout (the sportiest Ferrari models have their engines mid-mounted) for the choice of comfortable touring or getting a little crazy when the right conditions align.

To that end, sprinting from standstill to 60 miles per hour takes just 3.6 seconds, while top speed is 196 mph.

How Much?

Nothing official yet, but earmark at least $202,000 and you won't go far wrong. This is Ferrari's least expensive car, by the way.

When Can You Get It?

If you're paying that kind of money, presumably you can get it right now.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because?

You prefer the newer design to the original, you like the idea of more power and sharper handling and you have a couple of hundred thousand bucks you're wondering what to do with.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Aston Martin DB9 Volante -- No turbo, but a sonorous and forceful V12 engine.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet -- Super-fast, super-grippy and super-desirable. Ferrari applies most of its motorsport expertise to its road cars; Porsche applies an equal amount.

2014 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible Sport -- Not as much power as a 2015 Ferrari California T (just 454 hp from a Ferrari-sourced V8) but arguably a more pleasing design. And a Maserati always feels like a less obvious choice than a Ferrari.

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG -- Available as a coupe with cool gull-wing doors, though designed from the outset as a convertible, the SLS ends production soon. It's a fine driving machine.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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