Ferrari California (2009-) Review

4 out of 5

Summary of the Ferrari California (2009-)

Price Range: No data available


Speed, handling, noise, resistance to depreciation.


Very expensive, disappointing looks, joke rear seats.


A convincing supercar, coupe and convertible all in one package.

Ferrari California Review

Overview4 out of 5

In recent times, Ferrari has busied itself doing what it has always done best: building ultra-quick, heart-stoppingly exciting cars. And products like the 599 GTB and the 430 Scuderia have shown the proud Maranello marque to be absolutely on top of its game.

But now it's taking a very different tack, abandoning its heartland and going after a more mainstream audience. These customers are likely to be preoccupied with show rather than go and won't look at any car unless it can prove itself sufficiently adaptable to fit their lives. They won't think such a car's failings are characterful, as might a diehard Ferrari fan, nor will they tolerate a lack of comfort and refinement as being a price worth paying.

Ferrari's offering to them, then, is this new £143,320 California. It's a complete departure: not just from any Ferrari you can buy today, but any in the 60 year history of the marque.

Most obviously, it is the first Ferrari to be fitted with folding metal roof. But it also has a V8 motor mounted in it nose where all previous eight-cylinder Ferraris have been mid-engined.

That engine has the same 4.3-litre capacity as the F430 but, says Ferrari, it is almost entirely new and features direct fuel injection, not so much to improve power (its 453bhp is 30bhp less than the F430 engine) but to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Visually the California is best described as 'challenging'. Underneath it all, there's a good looking car trying to get out, but those looks are being suppressed by too many fussy and sometimes ill-advised details such as an awkward crease along the car's flanks. And Ferrari will be neither the first nor last to discover how tricky it is to package a solid roof and rear windscreen into a boot without making the car look a little too amply proportioned at the rear.