I will never forget the day when I popped my first Ferrari cherry on a cold December morning over five years ago on the rolling hills above Maranello, the Italian marque's hometown. My first Ferrari experience was a bright yellow F430 - I was overwhelmed by it at first and was apprehensive to get behind the wheel but there was no turning back once I took the plunge. I've succumbed to the legend of the Prancing Horse. Driving the F430 in the Italian countryside finally made me understand why Ferrari is so revered as a legendary marquee that is unparalleled.
Fast forward half a decade later and I'm trying out Ferrari's newest model - the California. The California joins the 599GTB Fiorano, 458 Italia and 612 Scaglietti as Ferrari's fourth model. Before the thought of ‘why name it after an American state?' comes to your mind, Ferrari actually has a habit of naming its cars after faraway places like Daytona, Modena, Superamerica etc. California is actually one of Ferrari's most evocative names - it was first used in the ultra desirable 1950s 250GT California.
The new California represents many firsts for Ferrari - it is Maranello's first front engined V8 with direct injection and a dual clutch gearbox as well as the first with a folding metal hardtop. The California is made to be more user friendly than other Ferraris so that it can be used everyday by yourself and also the Missus on her LV or Gucci shopping runs. The thought of a user friendly Ferrari will surely be rued by Ferrari diehards and aficionados as well as by Enzo in his grave so it's time for us to find out if it deserves the Prancing Horse emblem or should it carry a Prancing Pony badge instead,