So the new Ferrari California for the 2013 model year has some impressive statistics. We are promised a more lightweight, more responsive and generally faster drive than its predecessors, but it has been purposely designed not to scare the life out of every wannabe Ferrari owner out there. As a softer, slightly tamer Ferrari, do the improvements and refinements Maranello has promised justify its proposed $200K plus price tag?
First out of the box is the handling. Previously, the California had gained a reputation for, shall we say, a little lean when tight turns are taken with a bit too much enthusiasm. Thanks to improvements to the steering, the handling certainly seems more responsive and with revised spring and dampener settings, the roll that was typical of this supercar’s predecessor is all but gone.
If you really want to make sure you get a car you can feel on the end of the steering column, the $7,300 you’ll be asked to shell out for the ‘Handling Speciale’ set up will be money well spent. The 9% reduction in force needed for tight turns might not look much on paper, but on the road it really does make a huge difference.
But what everyone really wants from this level of supercar is not only to look and feel the part, but also to really sound the part. Thanks to the ingeniously twin stacked exhaust tips, drivers are rewarded with a willing amount of throaty burn and crackle when the car is pushed. However, these stunning sounding exhausts are not just for show. The manifolds have been reconfigured so as to suffer a lot less backpressure than previously, another feature that leads to the noticeable increase in power on this new and beautifully designed model.
From the outside, the non-Handling Speciale California really hasn’t changed that much. As should be the case with a true performance beast, all the improvements have been made beneath the gleaming paintwork. Small changes, such as replacing the steel framed engine cradle with a lighter, more rigid aluminum build, make a big difference to the weight and stability of the car overall. The new California has a space frame that is 60% modified or brand new and is the main source of all those lost pounds in weight – 66 in total.
To complement the improvements to the physics of the car, the powerhouse has been upgraded too. Although the 4.3l V8 still pushes 483 bhp, it now has 15 additional pound-feet of torque, totaling 372. Improvements to the piston crowns and the addition of a new reed valve to reduce pumping losses mean that you can now zoom from a standstill to 60 mph in under 3.7 seconds. Of course, if you go that fast you also need to be able to stop and the carbon ceramic brakes, along with the top of the range Pirelli P Zero treads, mean every downshift and speed change are done with complete control.
Add to all this the fact that Ferrari will be selling these babies with a seven year free maintenance program and you certainly are getting a lot of bang for your buck.
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A special thank you to Louis Rix, motoring enthusiast and co-founder of the car loans specialist “Car Finance 247” who are based in the UK!