Red head

The California's styling was heavily criticized when it first debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Honestly, I wasn't a fan either, especially its rear where it looked like it had a butt the size of J Lo's. Looking at it in the flesh during our drive convinced me otherwise though - the California's petite proportions makes it look like a scaled down 599 from some angles and that backside isn't that fat after all considering that it stores the two piece roof as well as a boot that is more useable than some four-seat hardtop convertibles.

The styling of Ferraris has always been more about function rather than style so aerodynamics plays an important part in the car's overall performance. Ferrari says that the California is their most aerodynamically efficient model ever thanks to a drag coefficient figure of 0.32.

Once again, Ferrari has worked with Pininfarina on the California's exterior. The references to its 599 and 612 siblings are clear when viewed from the front but the California has distinctive flanks that feature a very prominent swage line that runs from the air vents on the front wings and end as wide haunches along the boot line. The rear features the signature circular tail lamps (they are only daytime running lights actually) with secondary tail lamp clusters on the lower bumper. The large air outlet on the lower bumper and the vertically stack tail pipes do give the California's back a purposeful stance.

The California's looks certainly divides opinions but we reckon that the styling grows over time like past Ferraris have. Top up or down, the California definitely looks sexy enough to deserve the supercar tag.

Under the bonnet lies a new mid-front mounted 4297cc V8 with direct injection. The bent eight shares its flat crankshaft and 90 degree vee angle design with the F430 and 430 Scuderia's V8 and makes 453bhp at 7750rpm. In typical Ferrari fashion, it is a high revving unit that is redlined close to 8000rpm.

The California's unit isn't as powerful as those in the mid-engined V8 models but it has a fatter and flatter torque curve - up to 485Nm of which is available at 5000rpm. This translates to a V8 that is incredibly flexible at any given engine speed. Admittedly, the frenetic nature of the F430's motor at high revs is compromised with the California's unit in order to sacrifice for better drivability.

The California is still supercar fast though - 0-100km/h comes in under 4 seconds with top speed quoted at 310km/h. Despite an inferior power-to-weight ratio to the F430, the California matches the mid-engined model's acceleration time thanks to its ultra fast dual clutch gearbox. Manufacturered by Getrag, the gearbox is mounted at the rear to enhance weight distribution. Like Ferrari's F1 robotised manual boxes, the California's seven-speeder is operated by the steering column mounted paddles, with reverse selected by a button on the console between the front seats. Also on the centre console is a button labeled ‘Launch' for maximum acceleration runs from standstill.

 


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Engine

Engine Capacity 4300cc
Engine Type V 8
Power 453bhp @ 7750rpm
Torque 485Nm @ 5000rpm
Power to Weight 261.1 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 3.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 310 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 7.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DCT
Drive Type FR

Measurements

Body Type Supercar
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4562 x 1902 x ) mm
Wheelbase 2670 mm
Kerb Weight 1735 kg
Boot Capacity 340 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs