We think this should actually be called the “FF”, with the designation standing not for “Ferrari Four” but rather for “Ferrari First”, as this is the company’s first attempt of introducing a front mid-engine layout, direct petrol injection, a dual-clutch gearbox, a multi-link rear suspension and a folding metal roof. None of these are pioneering solutions, in fact they can be even considered "trends" already, but the technicians managed to take them into the stratosphere of refinement.
We only had a short time to answer a question that was on an incredibly large number of lips: is the California a GT, a supercar or a convertible? Fortunately, it was compensated by a fine example of a perfect spring day, allowing the growl of the V8 to fill our ears, with the top folded nicely into the boot (the car needs 14 seconds to lose its aluminum roof).
While its name is borrowed from the 1957 250GT California, the vehicle comes as a new breed of Ferrari, a more docile animal that can be used by those who want an alligator as a pet without the risk of having their head bitten off.
From the moment your hand grabs the door handle, opens it and you step inside the California, you feel this car is aimed at pleasing your body as well, not only your spirit. The feeling offered by the seat confirms this, inciting you to test the car’s GT abilities. There's one warning we have to issue though: stay away from the rear "seats" !
The first things you see - scrap that, we should use “don’t see” are the surroundings. As we are talking about a “hyperformance” four-wheeled creation, the California does require a little accommodation time in terms of visibility.
We set off, with the Manettino set to “comfort” and the gearbox in the automatic mode. Played by these rules, the California seems like a proper choice for a trip ‘round the Globe. None of your anatomical parts will complain. The ride is surprisingly comfortable for a vehicle that offers this level of performance, with the cosy seats, the light, accurate steering, as well as the smooth gear changes fueling your desire to never stop cruising.
However, if you want to pilot the car, you’ll need to put the little red switch on the lower left corner side of the steering wheel (at least) in its middle position. We tried to see what happens if you abuse the pedal on the right while using the “I only bought a Ferrari for the status” mode of the Manettino, but the body roll and the braking diving instantly convinced us to switch to the “sport” setting.
You can instantly feel how the suspension (our test car was gifted with the optional Magnetorheological Suspension Control System) becomes more appropriate for manhandling maneuvers, even though it doesn’t seem to be 100 percent hardcore.
This also spices up the engine-gearbox couple’s love life. Switch to the manual mode, keep the pedal to the (nice, brown) carpet and the double clutch transmission, which is a smooth operator in the “comfort” mode, will devour the changes. Ferrari doesn’t offer a shifting time, as it brags that the dual clutch setup offers zero torque interruption. In real life, you do feel an infinitesimal pause, but the acceleration takes over the car again before you even realize this - It's literally like blinking the throttle.Continue reading