If we look at the evolution of the Ferrari V8, in the last thirty years, we’ve seen this engine growing from 3.0 liter, to 3.2 then 3.5 and 4.3 and up to 4.5 liter on the latest 458. The revised Ferrari California shows that this trend is now reversed, because the car’s new engine is down from 4297 cc to 3855. Not a big change, but still a reduction, and that is a first. The tifosi will also appreciate that this is a new engine. It’s close to the V8 from the Maserati Quattroporte, but with a slightly higher displacement, this is an original engine. What matters then, is that despite the reduced displacement, the power is up. With 560 hp and 557 lb-ft of torque, nobody should complain! The car goes 0 to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds.
So, it’s totally different from the downsizing Ferrari did in the seventies, with the 208 GT4 and 208 GTB. There was a hefty tax for all cars with an engine above two-liter in Italy back then, and that explained the first turbocharged Ferrari: the 208 GTB Turbo. The motivation behind the choice of a smaller turbocharged engine is all different today. This is about making more power with less fuel. And it works! Ferrari says fuel economy is 15% better in normal driving, and official figures show an even higher improvement (18%).
Admittedly, we’d be surprised to learn that Ferrari drivers worry much about fuel economy, but it’s nice to know the manufacturer cares.