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Future models - Ferrari - California

First look: Front-engined Fazza breaks new ground

Well-red: California is designed to match the Aston Martin DB9 in capturing the hearts of baby-boomers.

Convertible-only California to be the first Ferrari with a folding steel hard-top

15 May 2008

FERRARI has revealed the first photos and details of its new front-engined model, which will only be available as a convertible.

The famed Prancing Horse stable also revealed that the car, which has previously been known only as the F149, will be called the California.

It will be the first Ferrari to sport a folding steel hard-top roof, is the first with a V8 mounted up front and also sports a new 4.3-litre engine with direct petrol injection and a flat-plane crankshaft.

The coupe/cabriolet is seen as a response to Aston Martin’s success with the DB9 and will officially debut at the Paris International Motor Show in October before arriving in Australia in the middle of 2009.

Although previously regarded as an entry-level model, the new Ferrari California will actually sit alongside the more hardcore mid-engined F430 in the Italian company’s V8 range and will therefore carry a pricetag of at least $430,000, which matches that of the F430 Spider.

34 center imageIt will sit alongside the F430 as a “more mature” V8 model just as the 612 Grand Tourer sits alongside the more hardcore 599 in the V12 range.

Ferrari is clearly pitching the California at American baby-boomers, which just happen to be the company’s biggest customers, and the name also pays homage to the 1957 250 GT California Spider.

It will be the first car to go down Ferrari’s new production line in Maranello, which will be officially commissioned at the end of June.

The V8 engine has been tuned to provide a deeper roar rather than the F430’s F1-style scream and has a broad torque curve for more driveability, but with 343kW of power at 7500rpm compared with 360kW for the F430.

Another technical innovation for the California is a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, which is Ferrari’s first DSG. It was developed to produce fast F1-style changes but with little or no weight penalty over a single-clutch gearbox.

Performance is hardly lacking, with Ferrari claiming the California will accelerate from 0-100km/h in an F430-matching 4.0 seconds.

With an aluminium chassis and body like other Ferrari’s, the California also boasts a new multilink rear suspension, the F1-Trac traction control system (which made its debut on the 599 GTB Fiorano) and Brembo brakes featuring carbon-ceramic discs.

Local Ferrari importer Ateco Automotive Australia said it expects to sell around 80 Californias a year – about the same as the F430 – and already holds orders from more than a dozen customers.

Read more:

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First details: Ferrari’s new entry coupe


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