Ferrari’s latest California has copped some flack over the years for being more showy hairdresser than sharp handler.

While the move to a turbocharged power unit in 2015 saw it win some new fans, it is the announcement of a new Handling Speciale option package that should see the front-engine ‘retractable-top’ coupe tackle corners with the appetite it now has for straights.

Ferrari says the Handling Speciale option offers a ‘set-up that lends an extra edge’, especially when the manettino is set to Sport mode.

Ferrari-California-T_supercar-image-2016-050-1280

Key changes include stiffened spring rates, up 16 per cent in the front and 19 per cent in the rear. Selecting Sport will also increase damper response via Ferrari’s magnetorheological adjustable damping system. The revised F1-Trac is said to ensure better power-down over less-than-perfect services.

Speaking of power, there are no changes to the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8.  It produces 412kW at 7500rpm and 755Nm at 4750rpm, giving the California T a 3.6sec zero to 100km/h benchmark.

A redesigned exhaust system amps up volume as revs rise and introduces a richer ‘timbre’, particularly on start-up.

Visually the California Handling Speciale will boast a matte grey front grille and diffuser, with matte black ‘fences’ and exhaust pipes. A cockpit plaque reminds its occupants that the package is fitted.

The Handling Speciale option will be available on the Ferrari California T after its Geneva Motor Show introduction.

 

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