Experience: Ferrari California T Handling Speciale. Better when Paired with a Hublot LaFerrari King Gold.

Originally launched in 2008 as a hard-top retractable convertible Ferrari, the Ferrari California gained a lot of followers and attention from those looking for an entry-level Ferrari —if that is even possible— and a ‘Cavallino Rampante’ that offered the ability to seat more than two. Following the success of the Ferrari California, in 2016, Ferrari launched the California T, a turbocharged California with an 8-cylinder 3.9-liter engine capable of delivering a 553 horsepower. To make things even better, Ferrari now offers an $8,000 USD option called the ‘Handling Speciale’ package, which adds an extra layer of fun to the driving experience. Now, if you really want to add more fun to this car, make sure your wearing a Hublot LaFerrari King Gold —with its impressive 50-day power reserve and worth twice as much as the car itself— when your taking those tight corners around the streets of Monaco in it.

The Ferrari California T features a seven-speed dual-clutch Getrag gearbox that is nowhere near the smoothness and shifting speed of a Porsche double-clutch PDK —Doppelkupplung— system. While the ‘Handling Speciale’ package makes the Getrag gearbox slightly better —by making gear shifts 30 to 40 percent faster— than on the stock California T without this package, there is still a lot of jerking between gears and a lack of seamless up or down shifting as you would experience with a Porsche PDK. Additionally, the Handling Speciale package makes the car slightly louder —falls short against other Ferraris or Porsches— and the suspension firmer.

When it comes to the interior of the car, you can definitely feel that Ferrari essence and quality of finishing, especially on the leather. The leather on the seats and trim is super soft and the red piping around the seams, makes the interior pop even more. As far as comfort features, this is a very basic car as sports cars should be.

The center console as well as the AC vents and steering wheel feature carbon fiber inlays —just like the Hublot La Ferrari King Gold has a carbon fiber inlay on the top of its case— mixed with alcantara and leather trim.

Now, one thing we need to point out, is that when it comes to the AC controls, we feel Ferrari fell short in terms of design and finishing. Furthermore, when you’re in the middle of the summer at a 102 degrees fahreheit and the AC is blowing at full power, the air coming from the vents is so loud, that you can’t hardly hear the engine roaring.

Overall, the Ferrari California T —considered by many as the ‘poor man’s Ferrari’— is very nice and a joy to drive, while the ‘Handling Speciale’ package makes the car much better without breaking the bank —considering that $8K USD is nothing when it comes to a $200K USD car—, we feel the car is still not perfectly suited for everyday drive in a busy traffic congested city, as many like to claim. Honestly, at this price point, you’re better off getting yourself a Porsche 911 GT3RS with 500hp, better acceleration and $25K USD cheaper.

Sticker Price $210,000 USD for Ferrari California T ‘Handling Speciale’ and $414,000 USD for Hublot LaFerrari King Gold. For more info on Ferrari click here and for Hublot here.