IF there ever was such a thing as a bargain Ferrari, then the California T is the model.
Ferrari was slow to move into the turbo-era but with the current California's engine having not one but two blowers it has quickly come up to speed.
And speed is what it's about with the California T. The engine's tuners have specifically set about utilising the wide power spread to give it a stronger pull in the higher of the seven gears so it delivers 755Nm in top under its variable boost management programme which modifies output to chosen gear.
This means it can have longer legs in higher gears to stretch economy without compromising on through-the-gears power delivery, and it works very well. On our test we recorded an overall average of 24mpg, which is very respectable for a 560ps engine and 0-60mph time of about 3 seconds.
There is still a very slight turbo-teaser from standstill but you'd hardly notice and once on the move the power gushes as it whips through gears rapidly hitting the UK legal limit in under 4 seconds.
Mid-range punch is there as well for swift and safe overtaking and the motorway limit is maintained in near silence and sublime refinement.
Gear changes can be left to their own choosing or you have ‘up and down' paddles to prod it along while turning on the sport mode on the steering spokes gives it a much sharper response.
I found it best to let the downchanges be done automatically and smooth out any tendency to hesitate as they matched gears to engine speed. There is also a wild card track setting but we had no opportunity to test this with launch control.
Steering has been enhanced in the California T over the original model and it's a sporting setting to give good feel while allowing the car to be well behaved in town parking situations.
Add to this the damper-variable suspension and you have a car which is ideally suited to touring or track use with instant changes apparent and the £5,500 Handling Speciale system is masterpiece.
It can cope with the worst that Britain's roads can throw at it while also enjoying the best routes you can find and delivers a characteristic throaty exhaust note as well.
All this performance needs taming and the massive Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are well up to the job with unfailing power from very light touch, while the parking brake securely held it on the steepest slope.
My only dislike was the individual buttons left and right on the spokes for the indicators, not the easiest to use when steering through a roundabout.
All that power and potential can be enjoyed from a sophisticated and comfortable cabin with good adjustment on the front seats and a pair of occasional rear seats, but you have to strike a deal on the legroom in the back and front.
The oddments room is very small inside and the boot is barely capable of taking an overnight bag, but the heating and ventilation system is very effective, particularly when the metal roof is folded on its scissor-system and stowed in the upper half of the boot.
The roof takes 14 seconds to deploy either way and it's a single touch operation with hardly any wind turbulence when down and a very snug feeling when closed.
Visibility is slightly compromised to the rear when the roof is in place but side and forward sightlines are clear, the wipers very effective at clearing a large area of glass and the optional higher performance headlights are a necessity I would say.
On the road, the Ferrari California T is a true delight wherever you are but ideally on sweeping moorland Tarmac it comes into its own.
I never tired of hearing that crisp exhaust crackle as I swept around hairpins with the car digging into the corner and powering out. Its grip was immense, my smile even bigger around every bend.
Images courtesy Roger Donovan