Critics’ Notebook: 2016 Ferrari California T

The perfect party date.

Ferrari California T
Brett Berk/TheDrive.com

Since there's no weather to speak of in Los Angeles, the city has only one season: Awards Season. "Winter" in this part of the world doesn't mean snow or ice, it means the Academy Awards, which take place this weekend. The lead up to this event involves all manner of blowouts, blowups, and blow—much of which is on display at exclusive parties around the city.

Since I’m also the car guy for Vanity Fair, I tend to luck into a few prime invitations during this festival of fêtes. As a car guy this naturally begs the question of which car to arrive in. For the other night’s Young Hollywood party at the Chateau Marmont I felt that a sanguine rosso California Ferrari was the proper choice, a stunning red car on the red carpet.

As it turns out, I was right. Actually, it wasn’t such a challenging problem; the best answer to almost any automotive question—besides maybe “what should I drive to a Bernie Sanders rally?” or “will this get me carjacked?”—is Ferrari. The prancing horse adds dash, and a dash of panache, to nearly all situations.

Though it's the entry-level Ferrari, the restyled Cali T does not disappoint. It arrives in a Italian-accented whooshand snarl under copious power. The back seat, while negligible for people-sized humans, is just the right size for three Bottega Veneta leather bags, two fancy babies, or—as it turns out—one rangy videographer. It has a snug convertible top, too, or at least we believe it seals tightly; it didn’t rain, and I never once drove the car with the top up. Plus, it's sprung and geared to be more friendly and compliant than even the most ambitious young actors at the Vanity Fair Young Hollywood party. It even has a carbon fiber cup-holder with a retractable lid! Also, it's a Ferrari, so it's fast. Very fast.

So the California T is as willing to tour as a broke groupie, and there's no denying it's grandiosity—a perfect grand tourer, indeed. It's an ideal partner for even the fanciest events. It can be my party date any time.

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2016 Ferrari California T
Price (as tested): $273,240 (base price $198,973)
Powertrain: 3.9 liter twin-turbo V8, 552 hp, 557 lb-ft
0-60: 3.3 seconds
Top Speed: 196 m.p.h.
Compliance Level: Ambitious Actor