Stunning, classic sports-car profile; sharp handling; legendary Ferrari V8 sound and performance; refined top-down experience; reasonably practical interior
The Ferrari California is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car, powered by a 4.3L V8 that makes 483 horsepower and 372 pound-feet of torque. The engine has a modern, direct-injection design--good for a goosebump-inducing 8,000 rpm wail--and it's mated to a 7-speed Getrag twin-clutch gearbox with steering-wheel paddle shifters.
The California is built on an aluminum space-frame chassis, which helps keep weight down; the gearbox is also mounted at the rear, which helps provide an excellent weight distribution that biases 53 percent to the rear. Ferrari claims acceleration to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph.
The suspension can be upgraded to magnetorheological shocks that improve ride quality while preserving this model's quick handling response. An additional 'Handling Speciale' package adds quicker steering, a stiffer suspension, and a sportier calibration for those magnetic shocks. In either case, the California has a race-tuned double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear setup, with speed-sensitive hydraulic power steering, as well as vented ceramic disc brakes on all four wheels. A mechanical limited-slip differential helps deliver power among more predictably out of corners.
Officially the California is a 2+2, meaning that it features two small rear seats, but they're seats in name only and that space is probably best used as additional storage space. The California avoids many of the noise and weather disadvantages inherent to a soft-top roadster, due to its tight-fitting retractable hardtop setup. The system includes pop-up roll bar system, and there's a wind-blocker that mounts in place for higher-speed cruising.
Standard equipment on the California includes auto-leveling projector-beam headlamps, rear fog lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, a navigation system, keyless entry, power windows, a full floor console with storage, a leather headliner and leather and aluminum trim. The rear seatbacks are split 50/50 and fold forward to expand cargo space--a handy feature for weekend trips.
Other options include an adaptive front lighting, a backup camera system, iPod integration, carbon-fiber racing seats, full power seats, cruise control and special heat-reflective leather upholstery. You can also opt for a set of matching leather luggage. Ferrari's Tailor Made program allows the buyer to personalize every styling and performance detail.
There are no significant changes to the Ferrari California for 2014, although last year it received a bump in power as well as a new 'Handling Speciale' package.
The California is the entry model in the Ferrari lineup, and to some degree it breaks with Ferrari tradition in offering a V8 mounted ahead of the passenger compartment. Best compared to convertible versions of the Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8, and Aston Martin V8, the California remains in a different class because of the exclusivity (and requisite waiting lists) that are attached to Ferrari ownership. Although there are likely to be gawkers everywhere you go, this is also one of the most practical Ferraris, offering decent ride comfort and long-distance cruising capability, as well as a cleverly designed retractable hardtop and, perhaps, just enough cargo space for a weekend trip.
Vehicle Price: 201,940.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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