I arrived at Scuderia South Africa, as I pulled up the car was waiting for me in the delivery room, yes that’s right, there’s a room where Ferrari place cars for when customers come to collect, complete with couches, coffee table books and a lovely lady to offer you a hot beverage. Before driving the car you are taken through its key features and then on a short drive by a Ferrari representative, it all makes you feel quite special.
Taking it out
I was then handed the keys and told to return it by 4pm, which gave me a good few hours with the machine. I drove the car in the city with the top down, just listening to that twin-turbo flat-plane V8 motor buzz. This is the first turbocharged Ferrari since the iconic F40, and since this motor is also in the new 488 the era of forced induction Ferrari models is in full swing.
The level of performance on offer is very impressive, with 412kW/755Nm in a car that weighs just over 1700kg. The acceleration is quite addictive while there is barely any perceivable turbo lag, something which Ferrari has worked very hard to perfect. The car also doesn’t sound turbocharged apart from the occasional wastegate fizz and whoosh. The figures are quite astounding, 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 316 km/h. I had to remind myself that this is still the baby in the range.
Open road cruising
I simply had to take it out on the open road so I went for a cruise down the freeway and a few back roads in northern Johannesburg. What surprised me was the accessibility of the car, it doesn’t feel big and intimidating as I had imagined a Ferrari might, it felt about the size of an F-Type Jaguar, but with better visibility. The car is also very comfortable on the open road with many settings to dial it from relaxed to insane. It is a testament to how modern cars can be usable and insanely capable at the same time.
Does it feel special?
While this is my first Ferrari experience it is not my first supercar experience and therefore I at least had a few cars that I have driven previously to compare this prancing horse to. It certainly feels like you’re in something that has been brilliantly engineered, from the straight line grunt, to the quality, to the ride and handling, it feels like an occasion when driving the car and I think that in itself, is what the brand is all about. One ticked off the bucket list.
Ferrari California T R3 668 000