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Australia says welcome to … California!

California dreaming: The latest Ferrari has arrived, and it will find more than 200 homes in Australia.

Ferrari’s first folding hardtop arrives Down Under, priced at $472,000

4 Jun 2009

FERRARI’S all-new California coupe-convertible has landed in Australia, where more than 200 “high-net-worth customers” have signed up even before its pricetag of $472,000 was announced this week.

The first in a series of customer and media events for the front-engined Ferrari was held last night in Brisbane, where 200 buyers and potential owners were presented with the first local-spec example of the California to arrive here.

While the first customer deliveries will take place in Queensland in about two weeks, buyers who sign up to purchase the California now will face a wait of between 18 and 24 months, depending on their desired specification.

Australian importer European Automotive Imports (EAI) says it is attempting to pull forward some of its 2010 allocation into this year, but at this stage the waiting period stretches well into 2011.

At least two more California buyers emerged in the Queensland capital yesterday, both of them women, reinforcing the expectation that the all-new model is expected to attract double the number of female buyers compared with traditional Maranello models.

34 center imageEAI expects that 50 per cent of California customers will be new to the Prancing Horse brand. The figure is even higher globally, with around 70 per cent of California customers expected to be first-time Ferrari buyers.

Aimed at more “mature” buyers than those of the Italian supercar brand’s entry-level F430 Coupe and Spider, the California is also the first Ferrari to come standard with a (seven-speed) dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

That makes its recommended price of $472,000 (plus statutory and delivery charges) just $3000 more than the directly comparable F430 Coupe F1 ($469,000), and more than $28,000 more affordable than the fabric-roofed F430 Spider F1.

As previously reported, the California is the first Ferrari to be powered by a (new) direct-injection V8. Unlike other Ferrari models, it also offers a 2+2 seating configuration and a 340-litre boot that’s claimed to swallow two full-sized golf bags with the rear seats folded, with the roof up or down (when it shrinks to 240 litres).

Ferrari says that makes it the ‘grand touring’ alternative to the more hard-core F430 (not to mention the even more uncompromising Scuderia version), just as the 612 Scaglietti coupe ($670,250) is to the 599 GTB coupe ($650,300).

By catering to a wider, less performance-focussed group of customers with the California, it’s understood the replacement for Ferrari’s volume-selling F430, which is expected to emerge globally within 12 months, will be significantly more aggressive.

Similar customer events to be held in other major metropolitan centres around Australia are expected to attract up to 300 people, with EAI also planning to host a number of customer drive days with the California until the end of July.

The California's new 4.3-litre 90-degree direct-injection V8 delivers 338kW at 7750rpm and 485Nm at 5000rpm, which is enough to propel it to 100km/h in less than four seconds and on to a 310km/h top speed. Combined average EU fuel consumption is listed at 13.1L/100km.

Styled by Pininfarina, it is no featherweight at 1735kg (distributed 47/53 per cent front/rear, thanks to its front/mid-engine layout) and rides on 19-inch wheels with 245/40-section front tyres and 285/40-section rears. Even lower-profile tyres on 20-inch alloy wheels are optional.

“Cutting edge technology in every area enables the all-new California to fulfil the role of a grand tourer but also, when the need arises, to offer all the performance of a true car from the house of the Prancing Horse,” said the managing director of Ferrari in Australia, Kevin Wall.

Read more:

California, here we come

First look: Front-engined Fazza breaks new ground

Ferrari's flip-top California turns blue

First drive: California is just a dream for most

Sydney show: Ferrari California debuts Down Under

California sold out

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GoAuto can help you buy a new California

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