Ferrari California: first pictures

Published: 29 May 2008

This is the Ferrari California – the new 2+2 GT unveiled today. There’s a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission, a 454bhp 4.3-litre V8 with direct injection, a folding metal roof and space for four.

Right, concrete numbers on the Ferrari California please…

The engine is a 4300cc V8, using the existing block from the F430 but with a new head to accommodate direct injection. It’s the first time Ferrari has used DI and helps the California produce 454bhp at a heady 7500rpm. Ferrari currently hasn’t released any torque figures but claims the California has ‘a torque curve that enhances the vehicle dynamics and driving pleasure to the utmost’. Yes, quite.

The exhaust gases exit through some very Lexus IS-F looking, stacked pipes – a first on a Ferrari.

So how fast is the new Ferrari California?

Very quick indeed. The California premieres Ferrari’s new seven-speed twin-clutch transmission and the car blasts to 62mph in under four seconds. A manual Porsche 911 Turbo open-top takes four seconds exactly. And because the Nissan GT-R has only a six-speeder, the Ferrari California has the world’s first seven-speed transaxle 'box. Nerds take note.

Ferrari has switched to the twin-clutch ‘box because it can’t get the current semi-auto system to switch cogs any faster, and because the more relaxed GT nature of the California demands a more relaxed and seamless change. The new ‘box is also claimed to reduce fuel consumption and help give the Ferrari California CO2 emissions of around 310g/km.

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It’s quick so it must be light, right?

Ferrari is remaining mum on the subject of weight, but CAR's sources estimate a figure comfortably under 1700kg thanks to the aluminum body and roof. Brembo carbon ceramic brakes also help keep the kerbweight down, as well as offering fade-free stopping power. By way of comparison, an Aston Martin DBS weighs in at 1695kg, an F430 Spider is 1520kg and a 612 Scaglietti is 1840kg.

Size-wise the California isn’t much smaller than the 599 GTB, so CAR’s estimates measure the new GT at under 4.6 metres in length.


So the Ferrari California is a GT?

You bet. The California is Ferrari’s new baby GT so while eight cylinders puts it on power terms with the F430, it’s supposed to be in the mould of the 612 Scaglietti.

In keeping with the GT tag the California will only be available with a folding hard-top. But this is no 180-degree-swivel 575 Superamerica job, as the roof disappears under the rear deck.

The standard F1-Trac traction control system, developed from the 599 GTB, has also been retuned to suit the California’s more relaxed nature.

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What about inside the Ferrari California?

The obvious stuff visible on these first pictures are a new steering wheel, dials, seats and entertainment system. Less apparent at first glance is the four-seat layout of the California. Look closely and you can see two headrests built into the rear bulkhead. These mean you can configure your California with four seats (we won’t yet pass judgment on whether it can really seat four) or move the seats and have a bigger boot. Ferrari calls it an ‘original 2+ concept’.

More details on the Ferrari California will be revealed over the coming months before the car makes its debut at the Paris motor show in autumn 2008. First customer cars will be delivered in early 2009 with prices expected to start from £160k-plus.

What do you think of the new California? Click 'Add your comment' below and sound off

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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