California Dreamin’

Even with a few snowflakes in the air, we had to put the retractable hardtop down when WAG took a test drive in the incredible Ferrari California T, a sleek ride that is a Ferrari for all occassions.

Ferrari’s touring convertible purred while our friends at Miller Motorcars in Greenwich backed it into their service garage. Beautifully colored in a rich blue that Ferrari calls “blu pozzi,” which roughly translates to “blue well,” the automatic hardtop retracts effortlessly into the trunk in just 14 seconds to unveil an interior clad with Cuoio leather that accentuates the lines inside the cockpit.

Sliding into the driver’s seat, you feel surrounded by the heritage of the Ferrari brand that began when Enzo Ferrari brought his racing knowledge to the streets in 1947, and the first Ferrari road car, the 125 S, came out of his factory in Maranello, Italy.

The Cali T’s cockpit feels uniquely secure — comfortable, but protected; sporty, but not exposed. With your arms extended to the ergonomic steering wheel, the controls are right at your fingertips. (The starter, wipers, turn signals, suspension, engine modes and high beams are all controlled from the wheel.)

“Ferrari always tries to evolve with each model,” said Evan Cygler, the director of marketing at Miller Motorcars. “The engineers at Ferrari are some of the most talented in the world when it comes to racing and Formula 1, and that’s been a part of the brand’s success.”

As we pulled out onto the road and gave it the gas, the Cali T gave a throaty roar. And with 560 horsepower from its turbocharged V8 engine, the powerful-yet-smooth steed creates plenty of breeze to blow through your hair.

The double-clutch seven-speed transmission can be used automatically, or, for those who prefer a manual feel, a light touch on the paddles behind the steering wheel shifts the gears – right to upshift, left to downshift.

Maneuvering smoothly through the hills and turns on the winding roads just north of Miller Motorcars’ Putnam Avenue showroom, the Cali T handled beautifully, with exceptionally responsive steering and braking that, coupled with the V8 and manual gears, would make taking the long route on a short trip the preferred choice.

The California T’s lone drawback might be its small trunk, a good portion of which is filled by the hardtop when it’s folded down. If you want to drive it to the golf course, you’ll need to fold the back seats down to fit your clubs in the car. But then, complaining about trunk space in a high-performance hardtop convertible that melds Italian styling with racetrack engineering may be a tad nitpicky. You wouldn’t buy a hammer to drive screws, and you don’t buy a sports car for trunk space.

Ferrari’s aim with the Cali T is to draw new customers to the brand, customers who would perhaps be attracted to a Mercedes SL or Porsche Turbo, as well as repeat Ferrari clients who want to be able to drive a Ferrari every day.

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