Carving Up Asphalt With The Ferrari California T 'Handling Speciale'


An updated version of Ferrari’s high-performance Grand Tourer calls for a sunny day in Sydney to sample the goods. Luckily we were able to do both on a recent Ferrari California T drive day.

Kicking off at Bondi’s iconic Pacific penthouse, a handful of lucky guests were given the mandatory debrief before hopping into their designated prancing horse. The weapon of choice was of course the California T complete with a new handling package which is now available in Australia.

We got to pilot something a little less conventional for a Ferrari during the day – a frosty blue number which packed the same proven front-engined V8 and retractable hard top with room for two more in the rear. Of course it was all about driving on this particular day. The action began with a quick crawl through Sydney’s horrendous traffic before the roads opened up for us on the way into the Royal National Park for some twisties led by none other than the CEO of Ferrari Australia, Herbert Appleroth.

Taking the the California T through the countless hairpins and tight turns of the park proved just how much sharper the car has become as it dispatched the rolling corners with absolute poise and minimal body roll. It felt lighter and planted the entire time leaving the driver to worry about just two things: 1) How we’d ever get over that sweet V8 tune once we parted ways and 2) The shadows covering areas of the asphalt which would often render a corner completely invisible.

The Handling Speciale option offers a series of specific calibrations and a set-up that lends an extra edge vehicle’s Sport mode.

Thankfully common sense kicked in and it was time to cruise the rest of the way to enjoy the sights without sending an exotic into a ditch. Stopping off at the Great Ocean Road drivers were given insight into what makes the new handling package unique.

The Handling Speciale option offers a series of specific calibrations and a set-up that lends an extra edge vehicle’s Sport mode. More specifically, revised dampers and springs now means the car is stiffer to cater to spirited driving without compromising too much on ride comfort. A refreshed and throatier exhaust note meanwhile comes complements of a variable exhaust system which remains quiet at low speed and unleashes hell as the driver speeds up – a feature which we think epitomises what a modern sportscar should be.

As the convoy made its way down coast on the Great Ocean Drive before heading back inland to Bowral’s famous Biota dining, we were able to have a quick chat with Herbert Appleroth about the new handling package’s significance to potential customers.

“The California T ‘Handling Speciale’ will appeal to our clients who love spirited driving and spirited sounding cars,” he said. “The Australasia premiere drive from Bondi to Bowral – both escapist locations in their own right – takes in some beautiful and challenging roads designed to highlight the superior sports handling of this car, while also underlining its great versatility as a Grand Tourer for every day.”

For those looking for an aesthetic difference on the HS, there are definitely minor details which includes a new front grille in matte Grigio Ferro Met and a rear diffuser in the same colour with matte black fences and matte black tailpipes. Inside, drivers will find a special plaque indicating the presence of the HS package.

Have a flick through the scenic photography to find out what went down on one of our finer Fridays.