Ferrari California Review

Rating: 8.0
$459,650 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
  • Engine Power
  • CO2 Emissions
  • ANCAP Rating

More power and less weight, there's no better way to usher in the new Ferrari California

The Ferrari California brought with it a number of firsts for Ferrari when it was launched some three years ago. A direct-injection V8, twin-clutch gearbox and a folding hard-top were all first seen on the California and were introduced to bring a new type of customer to the Ferrari brand.

Things move quickly at Ferrari, and now just three years old the convertible is already benefitting from a revision. Picking up more power, less weight and an optional handling package, the revitalised California is now more explosive than ever before.

A 23kW power gain comes courtesy of a new exhaust, reshaped pistons and an ECU tweak. The 4.3-litre V8 now produces 360kW and drops the 0-100km/h time by .2-seconds to a staggering 3.8-seconds.

Lower the roof and the vertically stacked exhausts reach their maximum boisterous potential in no time. The howl from the exhaust reaches a crescendo near the red-line before a shotgun like echo erupts as you change up a gear. It sounds incredible.

An optional $2,750 HELE Package includes stop-start technology and an intelligent fuel pump and engine fan. The new optional Handling Speciale Package, priced from $14,400 includes a nine percent quicker steering rack, uprated suspension with 15 percent stiffer springs at the front and 10 percent stiffer at the rear and revised damper settings.

Weighing in at 1,735kg, there is still a degree of body roll and pitch and dive under braking even with the optional handling package. Although, the Handling Speciale Package does improve the California’s abilities when cruising in selectable Comfort mode – not dissimilar to the Mercedes-Benz SL.

If you’re after the full open-top driving experience, the Ferrari 458 Spider is a sharper drive, but the California is a more versatile car that can be used day-to-day without a fuss. And, the power upgrade now means it’s more powerful and exciting than the outgoing California.

Even if the California is the most laid-back car in the Ferrari range, the updates ensure the California has the flexibility of a sports car, but the usability of a daily cruiser. Ferrari is currently at the height of its powers (pardon the pun) and the updated California proves it is catering toward a variety of customers.