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Ferrari California Arives In Australia

Ferrari California (copyright image)

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7th June, 2009

The Ferrari California has arrived in Australia with deliveries to the first owners commencing this month.

The California takes the super car maker into a whole new area of the market, providing it with its first ever front mid-engined V8-powered grand touring car and, thus, broadening the appeal of Ferrari.

“The Ferrari California does not extend the Ferrari range up or down the market,” explains Kevin Wall, General Manager for Ferrari in Australia and New Zealand. “Rather, it broadens the appeal of Ferrari within its existing price sector. Thus Ferrari now has two aggressive sports cars, the 599 GTB Fiorano and the F430, complimented respectively by two grand touring cars, the 612 Scaglietti and, now, the Ferrari California.”

However, despite its role as a grand touring compliment to the F430, the new California is still, in every respect, a true Ferrari.

“Cutting edge technology in every area enables the California to not only fulfil its role as grand touring car, but also, when the need calls, to offer all the performance of a true car from the house of the Prancing Horse,” says Kevin Wall. “The new V8 engine not only provides true super car performance, at full throttle it makes the expected Ferrari noise that guarantees to make hair on your neck stand on end. The gearbox is easy to use, but when called upon can change gears in a time that would have out a Formula One car to shame just a few years ago. The chassis is refined and comfortable, yet at the same the California can be hustled around a tight race track as quickly as any other V8 Ferrari. But what most obvious example of the twin characters of the California is its roof, on one hand it’s a traditional hard top coupe or, at the press of a button, it’s a full open top car. In essence, a Ferrari that does everything!”

The Ferrari California is the first ever front mounted V8 Ferrari, though, to be strictly accurate as the engine and drivetrain sit entirely between the axle lines, it is as much a mid-engined car as the F430. The mid-front mounted V8 engine, although built to the classic 90 degree V8, is all new and features direct fuel injection. Also new for Ferrari is the dual clutch gearbox that effectively reduces gear change times to zero, the folding metal roof and the multi-link suspension that blends traditional Ferrari handling and adhesion to the road with a new level of ride quality and comfort.

But, regardless of the comfort and luxury, the California is still a Ferrari and a 0-100 km/h time of less than four seconds and a top speed in excess of 310 km/h where the law permits, means that the California remains a true super car.

The Ferrari California has a recommended price before statutory and delivery charges of $472,000 and deliveries start this month.

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The California's sleek aerodynamic styling is, like the rest of the current Ferrari models, the result of the longstanding collaboration with Pininfarina and offers a host of signature Ferrari styling cues. Viewed from the side, the aerodynamic sweep of the bonnet beautifully contrasts with the compact tail volume and the 'pulled-back' cabin. The front continues some of the themes hinted at on the flanks, harmoniously alternating concave and convex volumes.

Seen head-on, the car clearly takes it much of its inspiration from the prestigious Prancing Horse car from which it takes its name: the grille and slender air intake at the centre of the bonnet most notably harking back to the 250 GT California. At the rear, the sides and the 'muscular' tail section are both familiar too. As at the front, the single round LED taillights are inset directly along the edge of the boot. The California's vertically stacked twin tail pipes are an original flourish as is the boot which sweeps right down to the bumpers to improve functionality.

Of course, the interior also reflects the same level of design sophistication, exuding a sense of refined luxury, comfort and bespoke quality. Situated between the front seats, the new aluminium-trimmed centre console is another distinctive touch that goes beyond the merely aesthetic, beautifully combining functionality and design.


The Ferrari California's aerodynamics were, of course, developed in tandem with its styling. This allowed Ferrari to keep the Cx (drag coefficient) right down with respect to the downforce required for optimal vehicle dynamics. In the coupé configuration, the California has a Cx value of 0.32. A desire to achieve perfect balance between vertical load and drag influenced the shape of the rear diffuser and the spoiler incorporated into the front bumper.

Drag has been cut to 10% lower than on the other Ferrari models which not only makes the California a more aerodynamically efficient car but also reduces fuel consumption. Last but not least, the air intake on the bonnet ensures highly efficient cooling of the engine compartment.

The new 8-cylinder engine

This is the first V8 in the history of Ferrari road-cars to be mid-front mounted. Built entirely from aluminium, it retains the typical Ferrari architecture with a 90° angle between the two cylinder banks and a 180° angle between the cranks.

The engine has a total displacement of 4,297 cc and a maximum power output of 338 kW at 7,750 rpm. Its maximum torque is 485 Nm at 5,000 rpm, 75% of which is available at just 2,250 rpm. The Ferrari California takes less than 4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h and delivers a blistering 310 km/h top speed.

The new V8 features direct fuel injection and variable timing (on both intake and exhaust) to guarantee superb performance, exceptional handling and fuel consumption and emissions that easily comply with the toughest Euro 5 and Lev2 standards. The Ferrari California consumes 13.1 litres/100 km (ECE combined) and has carbon emissions of (take a deep breath first) 305.6 g/km (ECE combined).

The California's engine sound was also carefully developed as this is one of the great Ferrari signatures and really does contribute to enhancing driving pleasure. Particular attention was lavished on sound perception in the cabin both with the top up and down to ensure that trademark thrill without compromising on occupant acoustic comfort.

Gearbox and transmission

The Ferrari California sports a new dual clutch gearbox (7-speed + reverse) with the now traditional steering wheel-mounted F1-style paddles. This is an innovative system that guarantees a superb combination of performance and ride comfort. With the dual clutch, one clutch is used for even-numbered gears and the other for odd-numbered gears, and allows the pre-selection of the next gear required. The gears are changed by overlapping the opening and closing stage of both clutches, resulting in gearshifting times that are close to zero and with no "torque interrupt".

The result is not only enhanced performance but truly thrilling driving pleasure. The traditional transaxle layout (engine to the front and gearbox to the rear) also contributes to the California's weight distribution (47% front - 53% rear) and to reducing vibration to the body shell. In manual mode, the new gearbox guarantees great sporty driving pleasure while extra comfort is assured in automatic.

Chassis and suspension

The Ferrari California's chassis and body shell are both made entirely from aluminium. Thanks to the use of different aluminium technologies (extrusions and shell casts), the car's exceptional versatility, onboard comfort and driveability has not added to chassis weight or to the dimensions of the structural sections - something that simply would not be the case had traditional steel architecture and technologies been used. Furthermore, static rigidity (torsional and flexional) has been improved with respect to average figures for a Spider to ensure exceptional handling in any kind of road conditions and to guarantee GT-standard comfort both with the top up and down.

The Ferrari California retains the traditional double wishbone suspension to the front while a new multi-link system has been specially developed for the rear. The multi-link system improves longitudinal flexibility of the suspension, keeping transverse rigidity values high. What this means in practice is that the car beautifully absorbs any unevenness, and noise and vibration are efficiently damped for exceptional ride comfort well on a par with the car's nimble handling. The SCM Magnetorheological Suspension Control System, debuted on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, is also available on request.

Retractable Hard Top

Of course the Ferrari California's signature feature may be its retractable hard top. It is made from aluminium panels and has a cast aluminium weight-bearing structure which has reduced its overall weight and the moving masses involved. The entire opening/closing cycle is completed in just 14 seconds and thanks to the original stowage system, the California's boot space remains extremely generous regardless of whether it is up or down.

The GT Manettino and F1-Trac

The manettino has now become one of the classic features of the entire Ferrari range as has its position on the steering wheel which is clearly derived from the brand's Formula 1 experience. The manettino integrates the gearbox, stability and traction control systems (CST and F1-Trac) and the SCM suspension system.

The settings are as follows:
COMFORT: maximum safety in all conditions, particularly ideal for low grip situations (wet or slippery road surface). Best everyday driving setting.
SPORT: maximum performance and stability in perfect grip situations. Recommended for sporty, high performance driving.
CST-OFF: this setting gives the driver complete freedom and control of the car. There is no electronic intervention whatsoever apart from ABS.

The Ferrari California also sports the F1-Trac traction control system which can very accurately read grip, assuring the very best can be made of the car's potential at any time.

The F1-Trac system guarantees:

  • Maximum grip coming out of corners
  • Stability in all driving conditions
  • Superb driveability and handling in extreme situations
  • Consistent performance
  • Exceptional ride comfort.

In fact, the F1-Trac offers a 20% improvement in acceleration coming out of corners with respect to a traditional traction and control systems.

Safety equipment

The Ferrari California boasts an automatic roll-bar to ensure that its occupants are protected should the car overturn. The system is installed behind the backrests of the rear seats and is hidden by the trim. Ejection time is under 190 ms. The onboard safety equipment is completed by front retractable airbags (driver and passenger sides), side retractable air bags in door panels, bi-xenon headlights and LED rear lights. New generation adaptive headlights, known as AFS (Advanced Frontlighting System), are also available on request, and offer improved visibility on the road. The headlamp beam angles are automatically adjusted in line with steering, angle, speed and lateral acceleration, offering a wider area of illumination when cornering.

Interior and standard equipment

Particular attention has been lavished on the design and in-car comfort standard of the California's cabin. The new Ferrari is available in a choice of two configurations:

  1. Two-seater plus rear bench equipped to take two roller suitcases or two golf bags.
  2. 2+ configuration that sees the rear bench sporting two seats, Isofix attachment points, and two seat belts.

In both version, the rear backrest folds down to allow the stowage of longer items such as golf bags or skis. The boot capacity is also impressively generous: 340 litres with the top up and 240 with the top down.

A new electrically adjustable, magnesium-framed seat was also designed for the California. Another new feature is the instrument panel with analogue instruments (tachometer and rev counter) and four-screen TFT Multidisplay. The Ferrari California also boasts a new infotainment system with 6.5" touchscreen, Sat Nav, USB connection, Bluetooth, hard disc, voice commands and IPOD connector.

Carrozzeria Scaglietti Personalisation Programme

The Carrozzeria Scaglietti Programme allows all Ferrari clients to personalise their car to suit their own tastes and requirements. There are four main areas covered by the Programme: Racing and Track, Exteriors and Colours, Interior and Materials, Equipment and Travel. The Ferrari California comes with diamond-finish 19" 5-spoke aluminium alloy wheels as standard.

However, a further set of diamond-finish 20" forged 5-spoke alloy wheel that are 11 kg lighter than those offered as standard can also be ordered. The aforementioned diamond-finish gives the wheels an extra-high polish look.

The California is available in a choice of 16 different pastel and metallic colours. However, clients also have the option of ordering the new Azzurro California shade provided especially for the car's launch.

In addition to the usual range of 12 leather colours available to choose from for the interior trim too, Ferrari just added two new colours: Cioccolato and Iroko. A new racing seat with all-carbon-fibre frame and electrically adjustable backrest is also now available.

In addition to the already impressive list of features offered as standard with the new California, owners can also choose to have a rear parking camera fitted or order the luggage set designed specifically to make the very most of the rear bench space, an option available in addition to the traditional three-piece leather set coloured to match the interior trim, of course.

They may also request out of- range colours and content to really ensure their Ferrari California is absolutely unique.

The original Californias

The Ferrari 250 was the most successful early Ferrari road cars, 1953 to 1964, producing a host of classic cars including the 1962 250 GTO and the first two Californias:

  • 1957 250 GT California Spider LWB: Designed for export to the USA, this was Scagliettis interpretation of an open top GT. Only 45 were made and just last year one sold for US$4.9 million in the USA.
  • 1960 250 GT Spider California SWB. Just 55 were built. One sold for $11 million earlier this year.

Based on the 340 America and related to the 400 SuperAmerica, the 1966 Ferrari 365 California had the larger engine and total production was just 14 cars, including two right-hand drive cars.

The new California

Ferrari has not had four production models in its range since the Mondiale ceased production in 1993.

The new California compliments the existing range, providing a high performance granturimso car to match the full blooded sports car that is the F430, in the same way the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano is complimented by the 612 Scaglietti.

In same way the 612 has the same performance as the 430, but presents it in a different manner, the California has all the performance of the 430, but presents it in a true granturismo manner.

The Ferrari California has a list of firsts for Ferrari:

  • First front – or to be strictly accurate - mid-front mounted V8 engine
  • First Ferrari dual clutch transmission
  • First with a folding metal roof
  • First with multi-link rear suspension
  • First with direct petrol injection


Dimensions and Weights
Length 4,563 mm
Width 1,902 mm
Height 1,308 mm
Wheelbase 2,670 mm
Front track 1,630 mm
Rear track 1,605 mm
Dry weight 1,630 kg
Kerb weight 1,735 kg
Weight distribution 47% Front - 53% Rear
Fuel tank capacity 78 litres
Boot capacity 340 litres
240 (with roof retracted)

Front 245/40 ZR19"
Rear 285/40 ZR19"
Front (optional) 245/35 ZR20"
Rear (optional) 285/35 ZR20"

Carbon-Ceramic Brakes
Front 390 x 34 mm
Rear 360 x 32 mm

Electronic Control Systems
CST with F1-TRAC Stability and Traction Control System
TPTMS Tyre Pressure and Temperature
Monitoring System

90° V8 Direct Injection
Bore and stroke 94 x 77.37 cc
Overall displacement 4,297 cc
Compression ratio 12.2:1
Maximum power output 338 kW at 7,750 rpm
Maximum torque 485 Nm at 5,000 rpm

Maximum speed 310 km/h
0-100 km/h under 4.0 sec
0-400 m 12.2 sec
0-1.000 m 22.1 sec

F1, dual-clutch, 7-speed plus reverse
Manual 6-speed + REV

Front: Double wishbone
Rear: Multilink

Fuel Consumption & CO2 Emissions
Fuel consumption: ECE Combined* 13.1 litres/100 km
CO2 emissions: ECE Combined* 305.6 grammes/kilometre
*European version


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