I tested a car recently that has a statement to make.
For a few days, I took a 2016 Ferrari California T supercar for a spin, and the statement it makes is basically this: You have arrived. You're ready for the limelight. You can't fathom driving an ordinary car. You understand what it means to choose a mode of transportation unlike any other.
You have reached a new level. That "level" is a few inches off the ground in a car that glides like you invented a magic carpet and have decided to use one for your commute. It's hard to describe unless you actually drive a California T, but all I can remember about this test is that the road felt like it was a soft mattress, like the potholes in my area of the Midwest are there as mere ornaments. You don't feel them that much, due to how the double-wishbone suspension works, supporting the car axles independently and adjusting to the road surface on the fly.
First, about the sleek design. No car looks quite like this, with a slight curve up from the engine, a boldly positioned Ferrari emblem near the doors, and another slight curve up to the trunk, which also doubles as a compartment for the hard-top roof when you decide to drive with the top down. You could argue that the Jaguar F-Type has a similar style, but I've driven the F-Type and it is no Ferrari.
The California T styling is so pronounced, it's one of the biggest reasons it works so well as a car all future Mark Zuckerbergs should drive, a "statement" car you buy when your bank statement reaches a certain point. Yes, the California T costs $198,973, and that doesn't include the extra HS package. It's worth it when you understand some of the tech involved and what it takes to make a car like this.
The engine recently won some awards, including engine of the year. It propels you to 62 MPH in only 3.6 seconds with a top speed of 196MPH. While I never even came close to that speed, I did listen to the engine purring and put my head back on the headrest and felt the sheer joy of rocketing up to the posted limit. In my area, there are a few highways with a posted speed of 75MPH, and it was an absolute blast to have an Italian sports-car show its prowess. It's also reassuring to know that you could also speed up from 0-124 MPH in only 11.2 seconds.
Part of the fun is that the car feels so balanced on the road. It has a hint of a rear-engine drive (the weight distribution split is 53% rear), but mostly felt like a spindle on four wheels, firmly grounded at all times even on hairpin turns. With the top down, you can hear the turbochargers kick in, a guttural roar.
For tech, it's a bit surprising what Ferrari has done to keep pace with the industry. In recent months, Apple and Google have started to dominate with their in-dash connectivity. With my iPhone 6s, I connected with a USB cable and up popped my music, text messages, and even the nav from the Apple Maps app to make things as intuitive and easy as possible. Not all cars support this, so it's surprising that Ferrari already does. For me, it meant focusing more on the road, the paddle-shifters, and the hum of the engine and less about controlling my phone.
What else is there to say? The design looks like it is meant for twisty California roads. It curves in ways no other car can quite match. The engine purrs as it laps up the road, barely even trying. (I'd love to take this one out on a track Top Gear style, but we'll see if that happens someday.) It's an assured drive, never punchy like a Dodge Viper, never overbearing like a Chevy Corvette. You don't feel like you will spin out, because of how the suspension and displacement works. It's a car that glides and growls.
The main reason it is a car for those who have "arrived" is due to how easily you can hop in and just start driving down any road. It costs a pretty penny, but it's worthy of a successful driver who has a statement to make.