New & Used Ferrari California: In Depth
2015 Ferrari California TEnlarge Photo
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Ferrari’s California is a two-plus-two convertible sports car with a folding hard-top roof. Despite being Ferrari’s “entry-level” car, it’s exciting to drive, comfortable enough for daily use, and dramatically styled, too. The Ferrari California competes with the Maserati GranTurismo, Lamborghini Huracan, and Porsche 911 Cabriolet among others.
For those familiar with Ferraris, the combination of comfort and speed might not be a surprise, but for those new to the brand, the California strikes a remarkable compromise between the company's race-bred heritage and the demands of modern daily driving.
When Ferrari's first folding-hardtop convertible went on sale back in 2008, it was powered by a 460-horsepower, 4.3-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine. This marked several other firsts: the first Ferrari engine to use direct fuel injection, the first use of the company's dual-clutch transaxle, and the first use of a multi-link rear suspension in one of the brand's cars. While most of those items carried over, the powertrain saw big change for the 2015 model year.
The California carried forward from its 2008 arrival to 2012 largely unchanged. In the spring of 2012, Ferrari added the designation "30" to the California's name, indicating the 30 extra horsepower and 30 kilograms (66 pounds) lighter weight of the updated California 30. The weight savings came by way of more aluminum in the car's construction, while the extra power was enabled by revised exhaust manifolds and computer tuning. The result was a California more precise and powerful, while retaining its overall relaxed demeanor.
Inside the Ferrari California, you'll find two comfortable and relatively spacious front seats, plus two compact rear seats best reserved for extra luggage with only occasional use by smaller passengers. Materials throughout rise to typical Ferrari standards, and through Ferrari's highly personalized customization programs, can be made as opulent, sporty, or unique as you'd like. Exterior colors--and nearly any other feature of the car--can also be specially chosen through these programs.
An updated Ferrari California T arrives for the 2015 model year. Heavily revised and restyled inside and out, the California T gets a brand-new engine--upgraded from a 4.3-liter V-8 to a new twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 with 552 horsepower and 556 pound-feet of torque. Power ships to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Ferrari estimates 0-60 mph times at under 3.6 seconds, while top speed rises to 195 mph.
New springs and latest-generation Magnaride dampers (now more than 50 percent faster), combined with body motion accelerometers, help reduce roll and pitch to deliver more precise handling while keeping the ride supple. The California T also boasts quicker steering courtesy of a new steering box and new suspension setup, and electronic systems such as the F1-Trac traction control and electronic stability have been upgraded to Ferrari’s latest spec.
A new infotainment system graces the California T's center stack. Its 6.5-inch touch screen controls audio and navigation functions, an is also compatible with Apple's CarPlay system, which allows control of a pared-down set of iPhone apps through any of the stereo's buttons, the touch screen, or voice control.