Gear up for Ferrari’s California T Handling Speciale

Gear up for Ferrari’s California T Handling Speciale
SPORTIER PACKAGE | The HS package elevates cornering capability and heightens performance sensations on mountain roads

Here’s a sneak peek at the California T Handling Speciale and the zippy features adding a sharper edge to the roadster—ahead of the official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show next month

The Ferrari California T Handling Speciale is due for its official coming out party at the Geneva motor show in March, and there’s a lot that’s special about it.  According to information made available by the company, California’s present suspension setup has been overhauled, new springs developed, shock absorbers addressed, transmission reprogrammed and a new exhaust added in the pursuit of making the car more driver-focused.

Like all cars sporting the Ferrari emblem, the standard California T is no slouch. It eats up the 0-100km/h test in 3.6 seconds, metal folding roof up or down, and tops out at 315km/h. That means that in a straight line, there is not much out there in the cabriolet class, with a 2+2 seating arrangement, which can surpass it.

Famously, the California was conceived in the Grand Tourer or GT fashion rather than as a proper speed demon. Of course, it was aimed directly at clients on the west coast of the US. Like all GTs, it is a car for long, straight roads and—in the case of the California in particular—dappled by guaranteed sunshine. The smoothness of the ride quality is a priority, even in a muscular proposition like this.

The US continues to be Ferrari’s biggest single market, but in its most recent financial figures, published at the start of the year, Great Britain, a country famous for its twisty roads and infamous for its weather, has cemented itself in third place, just behind China—a position it has held for much of this decade.

The HS option is designed therefore to put a smile on the faces of northern European drivers who are lucky if they ever get the chance to drive their California with the roof down. Well, you could wear a raincoat but you would definitely not be wearing a smile after such a ride. The HS reportedly sacrifices some ride smoothness in favour of better responsiveness and superior handling. This is particularly true when the steering wheel-mounted switch is in sport mode, which triggers enhanced rigidity, stiffness and reduced body roll.

The new exhaust system delivers a unique note that increases in intensity as the engine revs closer to the limit, ensuring the perfect soundtrack for traveling on the most twisting of canyon roads. And to ensure the car’s looks match these performance changes, Ferrari has switched out the California’s front grille for something slightly more aggressive and has redefined the rear diffuser too. The exhaust pipes sport a matte finish and the center console carries a plaque warning passengers that this is the HS edition.

More details, including pricing, will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show. All the more reason for you to be there!

ROAD ROMANCE | Even with the Handling Speciale calibration, California T remains the Ferrari for romantics, the Ferrari for sybarites
ROAD ROMANCE | Even with the Handling Speciale calibration, California T remains the Ferrari for romantics, the Ferrari for sybarites