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Video: Turbocharged Ferrari California in the Works or Just a Test Mule?

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Ferrari hasn’t been one to use turbochargers in its cars in recent years. Its engineers have prided themselves in maximizing the power from V-8 and V-12 naturally-aspirated powerhouses since the F40 went out of production in 1992. Now that we are just passing the 2-decade mark since the turbocharger went extinct in the prancing horse’s lineup, we are getting news that a new California was spotted and videoed sporting the familiar whistle of a turbocharger.

Here’s the deal though… It has already been announced that Ferrari is manufacturing, or at least helping manufacture, a pair of turbocharged power plants for Maserati, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo . Could this mysterious whistling California just be the test mule for the engine that Ferrari is developing? It is a distinct possibility, but it is mighty early in the process to be mule testing a complete engine, unless the project has been going on longer than we know.

Then again, there is the possibility that Ferrari is simply equipping its test mule fleet with various turbos to test their responsiveness and reliability to make sure the best option is chosen. The other possibility, which is the most intriguing one, is the chance that Ferrari is thinking about turbocharging the California.

The California is relatively underpowered compared to its entry-level rival, the Lamborghini Gallardo , and a turbocharger would definitely help close that 97-horsepower gap without adding two more cylinders to the California. Back in 2008, it was reported that Ferrari were developing a flat-six turbocharged engine to use in a selection of its future sports car, and this turbo California could be that exact car. It’s not yet known if this particular mule was sporting that six-cylinder engine, but a turbocharged Ferrari with less than eight-cylinders definitely makes sense if Ferrari aims to reduce carbon emissions in its future cars.

Regardless of this being just a test mule for its sister companies’ new engine or one for Ferrari itself that sounds like one monstrous turbo, even the spool-down noise is obnoxiously loud – in a good way.

You be the judge, is this boost for Ferrari or is it just early testing of the donor engine for Lancia, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo? We are not too certain, but either way, it sounds awesome.


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