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Getting to know the Ferrari California

Classified as a grand tourer, the sports car Ferrari California is a two-door hard top convertible that began production in 2008. The name California though has been used before by the Ferrari 250 GT which was made available towards the end of the 1950s. The more-recent California was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 2008, rumored to have originated from a Maserati concept. What’s really impressive about the California though was that it represented several firsts for the company, including the first to use a V8 direct petrol injection unit for a front-engine layout, the first to utilize a multi-link rear suspension system and a folding metal roof, and the first to feature dual-clutch transmission systems with a 7-speed gearbox.

Pros

The Ferrari California is quite notable because of the many firsts it has. However, since it has its roots in an earlier model, it is greatly familiar though it has an identity all its own. For starters, it’s a more approachable vehicle which opens up greater appreciation for a Ferrari. Californias of the past have always been limited-edition top-end models so a mass-marketed version will seem like a downgrade, but this California is nothing to scoff about.

If you have doubts that the California will be able to pull off sports-car speeds typical of a Ferrari, you can rest them now because this vehicle is capable of going from 0 to 60mph within 3.8 seconds. This is partly possible despite the California’s power-to-weight ratio because of its dual-clutch gearbox and its exceptional launching ability. Even with a soft set-up, the California has an impressive launch system that works with sticky tyres to give it the boost it needs to start with next-to-zero slipping. If you want to be mindful about weight though, keep in mind that a California with more lavish specs will weigh more than an entry-level model.

The California comes with the Ferrari Genuine Maintenance package which covers servicing needs for the first seven years. Cost for the package is already included with the purchase price of the California so there’s no need to shell out more, allowing you to save on costs while taking advantage of genuine Ferrari care. All standard maintenance items included in the service schedule are covered and don’t have mileage restrictions. This means that if you’re a high-mileage driver, you can bring in your California for servicing at no extra cost more than once a year.

Cons

It’s nothing bad really to look like other Ferraris but there may have been bigger expectations for the Ferrari California because of the others that came before it. Unfortunately, the California is nothing radical on the inside. As you would expect from a 2+2, there are seats at the back but they are rarely suitable for adults to squeeze into. And if they can, they better pray it’s going to be a short trip. Save for the swooping central beam and electronic handbrakes, everything will look familiar to anyone who has ever seen the insides of a Ferrari.

The boot remains spacious enough at 240 litres when the roof is down but you can’t access it except through the opening that extends all the way down towards the bumper. With the top up, boot space expands to 340 litres.

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