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Ferrari California T Convertible interior, tech and comfort

2014 - 2016 (change model)
Comfort rating: 4 out of 54.0

Written by Gareth Evans Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

As with all Ferraris, the California T’s cabin is built around the driver. Everything you need to take this car by the horns is within easy reach. Most of the important controls are located on or very close to the steering wheel, and the paddles are mounted on the steering column so they’re always in the same place no matter which way you’ve turned the wheel. They’re also fractionally closer than the previous California, which makes them easier to access.

We found the 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system very easy to use, but if you use the buttons rather than the screen it’s probably safer while on the move.

A knee cushion on the central transmission tunnel is a welcome addition – and the electrically adjustable front seats mean it’s easy to find a good driving position. You’re slung low in the cabin, but there’s enough visibility for that not to be a problem.

Taking centre stage in front of the driver is a large rev-counter, which is flanked on the left by a screen which can display trip computer, engine information or navigation information. To the right is the speedo, which is nice and clear. Good job too, because it’s very easy to soar past the speed limit in a car like this.

Apple CarPlay

In addition to the California T’s infotainment package, Apple CarPlay is also optionally available, using the same touchscreen. For users of more recent iPhones it’s incredibly easy to use and immediately familiar. Simply connect the device to the USB socket and without any need to pair up for Bluetooth connectivity, many of the iPhone’s functions, such as Phone, Messages, Maps and Music appear on the car’s, mimicking an Apple device. Text messages are read out loud and can be replied to via voice dictation (requiring a robotic delivery for clarity), while the Maps function can supplement the California T’s own sat-nav system.

Turbo Performance Engineer

This is a display which shows information about that new turbocharged engine and also tells you how to get the most of it. By holding a finger on the screen – which is in a circular housing between the two air vents above the sat-nav – you can choose between five displays: time, exterior temperature, turbo boost pressure, the amount of boost being used and the engine’s efficiency. The surround of this screen becomes a rotary control, which you use to scroll through the menu.

This is an Italian convertible with a huge engine and blistering performance, so you’d expect Ferrari California T comfort levels to be pretty low. But you’d be mistaken.

Thanks to those magnetorheological dampers, we were shocked at how well this car coped with our less-than-brilliant UK roads. Even speedbumps were no problem for it – the damping in Comfort mode better than many a family hatchback.

Even if you fancy switching the car to Sport mode, there’s a ‘bumpy road’ button on the steering wheel which will slacken off the dampers independently of the rest of the car’s systems. That makes it even better for Britain, where you’ll appreciate all the advantages of a Ferrari without any of the drawbacks of jolting over lumps and bumps.

Another highlight was the front seating. They’re new for the California T and so well designed that it’s easy to forget the sort of cornering the car is capable of. They’re ultra-comfortable but very supportive at the same time, which is a clever trick to pull considering they’ve also been tweaked to provide rear seat passengers more room than in the previous California.

With the roof down you’ll want the removable wind deflector fitted to prevent wind blustering around the cabin, but if you do it’s actually a fairly well insulated place to be. You won’t need to worry about excess road noise because all you’ll hear is that engine, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We noticed a few creaks when the roof was up as the car flexed a little, but to bemoan it that would be to miss the point of a car like this. It should be driven with the roof down whenever possible. Those seats are heated, so there’s no excuse not to. Just turn up the stereo or put your foot down and enjoy.