DRIVEN: 'STOP-START' FERRARI CALIFORNIA
Save the planet, drive a Ferrari? Yep, works for us...
The good news is that with more efficiency comes a little more power to enjoy. It's called the optional HELE system, for 'high emotions, low emissions' (hmm, not sure about that), and integrates Ferrari's first automatic stop-start system, with 'intelligent' control of the engine fans and fuel pumps, along with electronic control of the air-conditioning compressor and variable gear-shift patterns according to recent driving style.
Power used by the fuel pumps and the engine fans are both cut by 25%. At high motorway speeds engine fans 'coasting' or running quickly increases aerodynamic drag, so they are adjusted according to speed and engine need resulting in a five per cent drag reduction.
Under normal running conditions all these measures mean the 453bhp, 4.3 V8 engine has an extra 25 Nm of torque available to boost throttle response.
Ferrari was determined that the California's stop-start system wouldn't harm the visceral driving experience and after a morning blasting round the hills and in turgid traffic in Modena it's pleasing to report that it doesn't.
Because some Ferrari drivers use their left foot to brake in two pedal models which now dominate sales, the engine fires up if you touch the accelerator pedal as well as if you take your foot off the brake or pull the right hand gear change paddle for an 'up' shift.
The re-start time is officially 230 milliseconds which near instant and so effective this is the first stop-start I wouldn't be tempted to turn off. And you can still blip the engine at traffic lights.
By Ferrari pricing standards, when the yellow paint job on the current UK 458 Italia press car is £18,000 extra, £820 isn't much for the stop-start system and other gubbins. Green fig leaf anyone?