Ferrari California T HS Quick Review

By Mike Duff, 13 Apr 2016 Car Reviews

Buying new? We'll match you to the lowest dealer quote, get the best price for your trade-in and the lowest rate finance. Save thousands. Get started here.
Buying new? Get the lowest dealer quote, best price for your trade-in and lowest rate finance. Save thousands. Start here.
Ferrari California T HS Quick Review

Ferrari has upgraded the California T, adding a ‘HS’ or ‘Handling Speciale’ variant intended to offer a sharper driving experience thanks to chassis and exhaust modifications.

It doesn’t get any more power or performance, but with a 412kW output and a 3.6-second 0-100km/h it’s not as if the basic Ferrari California T is short of pace, instead it gets firmer chassis settings, a quicker gearshift and a new sports exhaust.

For $15,750 it’s a relative bargain by the standards of Ferrari optional extra pricing – especially as the standard California T costs $409,888.

PLUS

  • Sounds great
  • Feels more exciting than standard California
  • Good value considering how much it changes the car’s character
  • Well priced against performance rivals

MINUS

  • No faster than the standard California T, this is still the entry level Ferrari
  • Cabin can’t match quality feel of obvious rivals
  • Rear seats only suited for carrying baggage

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER? 

There are lots of alternatives in this rarefied segment, with the Handling Speciale’s most obvious competitors the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S and the Mercedes SL63AMG.

The California T Handling Speciale is well priced against both and certainly scores high desirability points, but it can’t match the equipment levels of the Mercedes or the sonorous soundtrack of the Aston Martin’s V12 engine. Cheaper alternatives include the Porsche 911 Cabriolet and Jaguar F-Type roadster.

Can't get enough? Read nine things you didn't know about the Ferrari California T HS here.