A sumptuously comfortable Grand Tourer they can use every day.
The Ferrari did something to me, cognitively. I don’t know whether it was the alarm going off in my head, screaming “£200,000”, or the bright yellow brakes visible through the wheels, ramming home how much sheer metal work it takes to stop a machine such as this, once it gets moving. Perhaps it was because it arrived not with a driver so much as a minder and I felt the obscure urge to reassure him, as if I’d taken possession of an evacuee.
Immediately, basic skills like observation and decision-making were shot: from the inside, I couldn’t figure out how to open the door, only the window. In a perverse bid to protect the roof from my own fingernails, I opened the fold-down roof to take my jumper off (this takes 14 seconds and is like watching an acrobat climb into a tiny box). I was never not surprised by the roar of the ignition, nor anything but astonished by the acceleration. As the fresh acts of folly piled up, I couldn’t even reassure myself that nobody was watching; in a Ferrari, someone is always watching. The cliche is that it makes you feel like a film star, which is true. That film star was Mr Bean.
Pointless to describe the exterior, except in terms of its effect on people; one guy knocked on the window to tell me the boot was open, when it wasn’t, just so he could have a go opening it and closing it again.
Drive it, especially fast, on a country road with undulation, corners, scenery and tractors, and you will understand the drooling. This car is so responsive, it feels like it’s reading your mind. It is somewhere between having an aeroplane and a superpower.
Naturally, there are downsides. Emissions have come down by almost half, but that is because, previously, they were 450g/km, which makes it more like having an aeroplane. I have driven from London to the Isle of Wight in every car, from a Polo to a Transit van, and until now, never had to fill up on the way back. It is madly extravagant, the parking alarms are histrionic, and the binnacles so fancy that I was hypnotised by the yellow fascia and 80s font and not watching the road at all. The question is almost never, “Would you buy a Ferrari?”, but “Could it steal your heart?” I am not young enough to love a car for its roaring, nor old enough to dote on one for anything. But if you’re in any doubt, be wary; once you’ve tried it, nothing else is like it.
Ferrari California T in numbers
Top speed 196mph
Acceleration 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds
CO2 emissions 250g/km
Fuel consumption 10.5 litres/100km
Eco rating 1/10
Cool rating 10/10
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