Along with its coupe sibling, the Mondial t Cabriolet represents the Mondial platform’s full potential. After undergoing steady improvements since the Mondial 8 debuted to mixed reviews, Ferrari addressed every complaint they could find as the model progressed through its various permutations. With a fancy new engine/gearbox arrangement, the new Mondial t Cabriolet was by far the most advanced, modern interpretation of the platform.
No, the “T” Is Not for Turbo
The “t” in the name was taken from the F1312 T race car that had just brought home the F1 Championship for Ferrari, but it also refers to the car’s new engine and transmission arrangement. Instead of the previous Mondial’s transverse engine layout, the new 3.4-litre V8 was now mounted longitudinally, forming a “T” with the 5-speed manual transmission. The main benefit of this arrangement was a lower engine mounting point, giving the car better handling characteristics thanks to a lower centre of gravity. This F1-inspired design wound up being a hit for the Italian carmaker, with the modern V8 Ferraris using a similar layout to this day. Whereas the 3.2 engine from the prior model produced 266 bhp, the T’s new Tipo F119D V8 now made 300 bhp. Drivers were given 3 suspension settings, along with ABS and power steering, to help manage the car’s newfound power.
You wouldn’t guess that the Mondial t Cabriolet housed so much new tech just from looking at it, however. Only a few exterior changes set the T apart from previous Mondials. There are the trapezoidal rear-wing air intakes, new door handles, and body-coloured bumpers. Also look for the new rectangular pop-up headlights which replaced the circular units from the previous model. A thorough interior refresh also took place, with updated instruments, upholstery, and centre console. The 2 + 2 layout’s practicality was enhanced as well, with the rear seats now able to fold flat, creating a large storage area behind the front seats.
Production and Legacy
Between 1985 and 1988, only 810 Mondial t Cabriolets were produced. That may not be an overwhelming number of cars, but this final evolution of the Mondial would prove to be a popular one. Reviewers swooned over the car’s balanced handling and powerful V8, and the T remains a highly sought-after model today.