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Future models - Ferrari - California

Ferrari's flip-top California turns blue

New Yuk: Blue paint job harks back to the 1962 New York show car.

Maranello provides more details about its forthcoming steel-top roadster

3 Jun 2008

MORE details have emerged this week of Ferrari’s new front-engined California roadster, along with photos of the Italian company’s first retracting steel roof.

Ferrari claims that the roof retracts in just 14 seconds, which compares well with the other folding hardtops. The BMW 3-Series Convertible roof, for example, takes about 22 seconds while the Ferrari F430’s fabric roof takes 20 seconds.

The Pininfarina-styled convertible sits on a wheelbase of 2700mm – 100mm longer than the rear-engined F430 and only 50mm shorter than its bigger front-engined sibling, the 599.

It is 105mm shorter than the 599 roadster at 4560mm and 62mm narrower at 1900mm, but is 48mm longer and 23mm narrower than the F430.

Although smaller overall than the 599, the California provides more boot space at 360 litres with the roof up (versus 320 litres in the 599) and 260 litres with the roof retracted, making it slightly more practical for anything more than a weekend trip.

Ferrari further reports that “for the first time on a Prancing Horse car, the boot and cabin space may be varied, allowing a choice of luggage configurations to be used”.

34 center imageThe 343kW direct-injection 4.3-litre V8 engine, which gives the California an F430-matching 0-100km/h time of 4.0 seconds, is said to be more environmentally friendly with a relatively low European combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 13.2L/100km and CO2 emission levels of around 310g/km.

Ferrari claims that its first dual-clutch transmission, which has seven speeds, “cuts the gear shifting time effectively to zero” and has a push-button Launch Control function that allows automatic race-style starts with no wheelspin.

Company president Luca di Montezemolo last week spent a few days testing the California at Ferrari’s private Fiorano test circuit and gave it the thumbs up.

“I am very satisfied indeed with the work that the women and men of Ferrari have done,” said Mr di Montezemolo. “The California is an extraordinary car and I was delighted with the performance, comfort and driving pleasure it delivered.

“The California is, like all of our models, the epitome of cutting-edge innovation. Its gearbox, suspension and chassis are the most advanced possible.

“This is the first dual-purpose Spider/Coupé with a retractable hardtop that closes in just 14 seconds. Despite its extraordinary performance, the California 2+ is also exceptionally easy to drive and has a space behind the front seats that makes it supremely flexible in terms of usage.”

Finally, the new photos released from Maranello show the car in a shade of blue called Azzurro California, which is the colour chosen for the 1962 New York Auto Show appearance of the original California that was the inspiration for the new model, which will be launched in Australia in mid-2009 priced at more than $430,000.

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