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Ferrari California: more power in 2012 update

By Tim Pollard

First Official Pictures

28 October 2011 09:19

Ferrari is updating the California coupe-convertible for 2012, CAR has learned. According to dealer updates provided to prospective owners, the new 2012 California will be more powerful, lighter and with a smattering of new tech to give it a second wind.

The new Ferrari California will start production in January 2012, with first UK deliveries due in time for the new '12' plate in the UK next March.

What's new on the 2012 Ferrari California?

The direct-injection 4.3-litre V8 is upgraded with an extra 30 horsepower, taking the total to a pretty serious sounding 483bhp. Torque swells, too, up to 373lb ft - and it's a higher plateau across the board.

Maranello says the power comes from new software and improved machining of the internals. For instance, the exhaust manifold is now 'optimised micro cast' and the ECU is reprogrammed to deliver those new outputs on 98 octane super unleaded. (it'll run on 95 too, just with less muscle).

You say the new 2012 Cali is lighter, too?

Yep. Impressively, for a mid-life facelift, Ferrari has managed to snip away 30kg from the kerbweight. It's now around 1705kg, thanks to new lighter aluminium alloys in certain parts of the chassis.

Net result? More power + less weight = 0-62mph in 3.85sec. The new Cali is only availble with the twin-clutch transmission.

Anything else new on the California?

A bit of minor spec fettling here and there. It looks the same externally (although you can now order an optional silver flecked front grille) but the in-car entertainment system has a bigger hard drive - now 40GB, up from 30GB - and it'll sync seamlessly with your iPhone 4 or Galaxy smartphones.

You can also spec the optional Handling Speciale pack if you want to sharpen up your California's corner carving skills. The new magnerheological dampers are upgraded and the ECU has a 50% faster response rate.

Ferrari says the time to respond is now just 5ms, and each damper can go from its most fluid state to its hardest state in just 8ms. Cue claims aplenty about reduced body roll, sharper steering response and more agility.

Has the Ferrari California been a success?

Maranello knows a good business opportunity when it sees one. A solid 80% of Cali customers are conquests - bringing a whole world of Aston/Bentley/Merc/Porsche customers to the Prancing Horse for the first time.

No price yet for the new 2012 California, but we expect a chunky premium in the annual January price increases. Today's Ferrari coupe-cabriolet costs £146,960.