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How much? £143,000
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 4297cc 32v V8, 453bhp @ 7750rpm, 357lb ft @ 5000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed twin clutch, rear-wheel drive
Performance: Sub 4sec 0-62mph, 193mph, 22mpg, 306g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1725kg/aluminium
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4228/1777/1437
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 5 out of 55


Rated 5 out of 55


Rated 5 out of 55


Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 5 out of 55

Readers' rating

Rated 3.5 out of 53.5

Ferrari California (2009) CAR review

By Chris Chilton

First Drives

28 November 2008 10:03

Click here to watch the video

It’s not exactly the new Dino some were expecting, but the launch of any new Ferrari is worth getting excited about. Yes, even if, like the new California, it’s poles apart from the brilliant Scuderia.

CAR broke new e-turf back at the California launch in October 2008, when we filed a real-time test drive, blogging live from the Sicilian event with our first impressions of Ferrari's new coupe-cabriolet.

So if it’s not a Dino, what is the new Ferrari California?

The California is a front-engined GT, Ferrari’s first front-engined-V8, its first coupe-cabrio and its first to be fitted with a dual-clutch gearbox. That’s a lot of firsts. Here’s another one: it’s the first Ferrari that has been designed specifically to attract women to the brand.

Excuse the misogynist tone, but you had me all fired up until that!

We’re with you. There are plenty of women who appreciate drivers’ cars just as there are many men who don’t. But when Ferrari says it’s hoping that 50% of California buyers will be women and that they’ll be choosing the car instead of top-spec SLs and Bentleys, you can’t help but worry that this Ferrari isn’t going to feel anything like a Ferrari.

Anything to suggest it does?

Plenty, thankfully. Let’s start with the engine: Ferrari could have fitted a conventional cross-plane crank V8, like the one it makes for Maserati, instead of the race-style flat-plane crank it uses in the regular F430. But Ferrari says that the latter was essential both to develop the required power and ensure that the finished car felt like a proper Ferrari. Sighs of relief all round.

So instead of making a soft woofly noise, the California's V8 screams, In fact it sounds exactly the way you’d hope a Ferrari would. And instead of cranking out 420bhp and topping out at 7000rpm, it kicks out 453bhp and revs to 8000rpm. Nice.

>> Click 'Next' below to read more of our Ferrari California first drive review


Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M CAR video road test; Ferrari 16M Scuderia Goodwood video; Ferrari press conference at the Geneva motor show; Lamborghini vs Ferrari video; autos; cars; Ferrari; Lambo vs Ferrari; Lamborghini; race; Ferrari 430 Scuderia Road Test; Ferrari; Ferrari Scuderia; Road Test; scuderia; THE supercar of 2007 in action. The Scuderia is the latest in a long line of lightweight Ferrari specials, and follows in the tyre tracks of the exceptional 360 Challenge Stradale. See and hear what happens when the V8 homes in on its 8600rpm redline; automotive; cars; F1; Ferrari Scuderia; Supercar; From Monaco to Modena; Ferrari Scuderia; maserati; modena; Monaco; Ferrari

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Average rating: Rated 3.5 out of 53.5 (43 votes)

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Ferrari California (2009) CAR review


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ronwhite says

RE: Ferrari California (2009) CAR review

 Frankly, the California seems to me to be a bit (rich) Desperate Housewives, particularly in the color combo depicted.   It lacks the masculinity which seems to be in-built in pretty well every other Ferrari.  Pity.  

27 March 2009 13:34



chrismc says

RE: Ferrari California (2009) CAR review

the point is that Ferrari have succeeded in making a slightly gentler car, a more usable car, a car less likely to want to smack you in the mouth if you screw up, without diluting the Ferrari experience.

05 December 2008 10:13



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ElephantStomp says

RE: Ferrari California (2009) CAR review

When Vignale designed for Ferrari, you thought the ugliness was intentional. A car designed for women? Surely women have a better sense of the aesthetic than men, and this is atrocious. Like a 240Z with an aftermarket chop job performed in Clancy's backyard. Pininfarina should sue.

30 November 2008 21:21



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saytamaner says

RE: Ferrari California (2009) CAR review

It's magnetorheological Chris, not magnetohorological.

29 November 2008 23:01



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supercarrambler says

RE: Ferrari California (2009) CAR review

Alesi that prize goes to the F90, they only built 9 in the 80's. I think this wee beast will be colour sensitive to hide that 'rear'. It's funny how Renault made a big thing about their arse and made it a positive focal point.

29 November 2008 14:14

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