Ferrari California dreaming with new handling

Firmer suspension, new engine note add sportiness to hardtop convertible

Published: January 24, 2016, 12:30 PM
Updated: November 23, 2021, 2:50 PM

California T HS edition

Ferrari has found a sporty handling package that fits its California convertible to a T, in a brand new Handling Speciale (HS) package.

There was of course nothing wrong with the front-engined, 2-plus-2 California T, but enthusiasts who are looking for something more (and what enthusiast ever isn’t?), the HS option offers enhanced handling characteristics resulting from modified springs and damper settings that make the car stiffer for those twisty 2-lane highways.

Springs have been stiffened by 16% in the front and 19% in the rear, aiding in lower roll, dive and pitch, and the electromagnetic dampers adapt more quickly to road imperfections and load requirements for improved handling efficiency.

Gear changes have also been enhanced (in both automatic and manual modes), resulting in faster, sportier gear engagement in upshifts and downshifts.

The changes are loaded up in Sport driving mode, and they naturally reduce ride comfort but add a revised exhaust note that gets progressively bolder as revs rise (due to a revised exhaust system with silencers featuring two primary pipes and new geometry). The exhaust note, and engine and transmission control units were developed together to make sure everything worked and sounded good right out of the box.

The F1 Trac logic has also been revised to improve acceleration, particularly on bumpy services and when powering out of corners.

And although the changes are functional, they’re broadcast to the world even when the car is standing still, with a new front grille and rear diffuser, both in matte grey (Grigio Ferro Met) and tailpipe tips in matte black.

There is also an interior plaque to announce the HS edition, with the car’s public unveiling taking place at the Geneva International Motor Show.