The Ferrari California represented a new direction for Ferrari, it opened up a new model range in which the California became the first front-engined Ferrari for sale with a V8, the first model to use it’s 7-speed dual clutch transmission and the first Ferrari to feature a metal folding roof meaning it can function as a convertible in the summer and a coupe in the winter.
Using the historic ‘California’ name most notoriously used on the 250GT, now one of the world’s most expensive cars, the modern California adopts the name due to its many resemblances in design to the legendary 250GT. Of course though this Ferrari California which first went for sale in the UK in 2009 was produced in much larger numbers and has been a remarkable success for Ferrari.
Targeting a new type of Ferrari customer where they felt there was demand for a ‘softer’ Ferrari which values practicality and usability over performance. It resulted in figures that say 70% of customers for the California were new to the brand. The engine was derived from the 4.3L V8 from the F430 but the Dual Clutch transmission was a vast improvement on the old F1 box with incredibly fast and smooth gear changes. New multi-link suspension and a 2-part metal roof made the California more convenient and compact than any previous convertible Ferrari had for sale.
In the California, Ferrari have created a car which is a genuine everyday car, it’s easy to drive, great for long trips, very stable at high speeds and is designed to do more miles than a normal Ferrari. The subtle but sporty looks suit it’s character as a 4 seater GT and although it doesn’t quite compare to say the 458 Italia the performance figures show that this is still very much an out and out Ferrari which is quick and powerful but with added comfort and convenience.
The updated ‘California 30’ responded to the criticism from previous Ferrari owners that the car was too ‘soft’ with an increase in power, a lighter chassis and steering and suspension upgrades with an added option of the ‘Handling Speciale Pack’ appealing further to the enthusiasts.
Ferrari have now created a replacement called the California T due to go for sale towards the end of 2014.