The Ferrari 430 gets down to business in every aspect of sports car engineering and styling. It is not the flashiest or the most powerful; but what it does, it does well. It is a highly maneuverable car with plenty of practical components and features. The Ferrari 430 is not a toy, but it is a well-developed sports car for people who might be a little more sensible than showy.
A sports car that is sensible seems almost like a contradiction in terms, but the Ferrari 430 is built to handle the conditions of fast driving with quiet confidence. No one would mistake that prancing horse on the grille, but the body lines are a tiny bit toned down for a Ferrari. With a price tag of about £130,000 it is in the lower range of the Ferrari marque.
That does not stop the California from delivering a wallop of very fine performance. The engine is a 4308cc-capacity V8 that develops 483bhp at 8500rpm. It can zoom from 0 to 60mph in about 4 seconds and reach a top speed of 196mph. If all this is sensible, it is only sensible for those who want to blow the socks off of passing motorists. However, the horsepower rating is below the range of the most powerful sports cars that are being sold.
The California uses a rear wheel drive with a special E-Diff differential which responds well to the inputs from the driver and the conditions of the road. With the drive on the rear axle and the engine mounted at the mid-front axle, the California has a well-balanced center of gravity that keeps it low to the tarmac. The fold-down hardtop does not spoil the weight distribution in either up or down position.
The lightweight aluminum frame is enhanced by the smooth aerodynamics of the underbody engineered by Ferrari for its sports cars. The California design makes the most of the 483bhp possible, and that fact gives it unexpected power. The light weight also improves the handling of the car in both the straights and the corners.
The interior of the Ferrari California is both practical and comfortable. Sumptuous leather details and alloy wheels take this automobile into the realm of luxury cars. Carbon ceramic brakes give it that extra push into the high tech arena at the same time. The California may not be all things to all people, but it certainly hits several categories square on target.
The question of whether a Ferrari sports car can be practical is a moot point. No one cares whether the car is a rational and reasonable choice. After all, it is a Ferrari, a name which speaks volumes for itself. What the buyer’s choice really comes down to is whether the California will satisfy both his needs and his desires. The car has many rivals, but none are quite as well-rounded. The Ferrari California is a car that will appeal to a wide range of sports car fans, many of them loyal Ferrari customers. Ferrari, if no one else, will find that very practical indeed.
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