1 Jun 2009
The groundbreaking California was the first Ferrari to sport a folding steel hard-top roof and also the first Prancing Horse with a V8 mounted up front (which happened to be a new 4.3-litre engine with direct petrol injection and a flat-plane crankshaft).
Unlike other Ferrari models, it also offered a 2+2 seating configuration and a 340-litre boot that Ferrari claimed to swallow two full-sized golf bags with the rear seats folded, with the roof up or down (when boot capacity would shrink to 240 litres).
The California's V8 delivered 338kW at 7750rpm and 485Nm at 5000rpm, sufficient to propel it to 100km/h in less than four seconds and on to a 310km/h top speed. Combined average EU fuel consumption was listed at 13.1L/100km.
Styled by Pininfarina, the California was no featherweight at 1735kg (distributed 47/53 per cent front/rear, thanks to its front/mid-engine layout) and rode on 19-inch wheels. Lower-profile tyres on 20-inch alloy wheels were optional.
Its seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission also featured a push-button Launch Control function that allows automatic race-style starts with no wheelspin.
The folding hard-top, which could retract in just 14 seconds, a time that compared well with other contemporary folding hardtops.
With an aluminium chassis and body like other Ferrari’s, the California also featured a new multilink rear suspension, the F1-Trac traction control system and Brembo brakes with carbon-ceramic discs.
In mid-2011 Australian California customers were offered an optional HELE package that increased performance while reducing emissions and fuel consumption through the use of idle-stop, more efficient ancillaries such as air-conditioning and brushless radiator fans.