Ferrari unveils greener California with turbocharged V-8

Ferrari's styling center and Pininfarina designed the California T.
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Ferrari is switching to a turbocharged V-8 engine in its California coupe-convertible to help cut fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.

The Fiat-owned supercar maker will debut the California T, which replaces the current California, at the Geneva auto show on March 4. The company added the letter "T" to the model's name to emphasize the turbocharged engine that replaces the naturally aspirated V-8 unit in the current car.

Ferrari today released details and pictures of the California T. It said fuel consumption is reduced by 15 percent in the car in typical daily use compared with the current model despite an increase in performance. The company also said it has achieved "virtually zero turbo lag" in the California T.

The car is powered by a 552-hp, 3.9-liter direct-injection engine. It has a top speed of 316kph (196 mph) and accelerates from 0 to 100kph in 3.6 seconds.

Ferrari says it cut fuel consumption to 10.5 liters per 100km (22 mpg U.S; 27 mpg UK) and CO2 emissions to 250 grams per kilometer. The current car, which has a 483-hp, 4.3-liter V-8, uses 13 liters of gasoline per 100km and has CO2 emissions of 299g/km.

The California T has a hardtop roof that closes in 14 seconds.

The California T has a new steering box, a new suspension set up and the latest evolution of the company's F-1 Trac traction control system. It is also fitted with a new infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen.

Just like the current model, the front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive California T is a 2+2 seater with a retractable hardtop that closes in 14 seconds. The new model keeps the same overall dimensions as the current car but its body has been redesigned by Ferrari's styling center and Pininfarina.

The California T is 4570 mm long and has a dry weight of 1625 kg.

The California T will go on sale in Europe in the summer. U.S deliveries begin in the second half.

Ferrari sees turbocharged engines as a way to cut fuel consumption without reducing performance. Its last turbocharged production car, the F40, was sold in the 1980s.

The company has not yet disclosed pricing for the California T. The current California is Ferrari's entry model with prices starting at 186,723 euros in Italy. The California T likely will continue to be the brand's lowest priced model.

IHS Automotive analyst Ian Fletcher said lower fuel costs and reduced CO2 emissions are not an issue for most Ferrari buyers, but high-end automakers still need to show an element of corporate responsibility and that they are not just  producing vehicles focused on speed and power. 

"For Ferrari and others of its ilk, I think the figures highlight their technical and engineering capabilities," he said.

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