Driven and reviewed: Ferrari California - Our drive

Article 7 of 7 See all
  • All the technical details
  • Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's views
  • Our driving impressions
All this technology was welcome on the day we drove the California in anything but Californian weather.

It had snowed the night before, and not all traces had disappeared from the road surface in the freezing temperatures.

A few years ago the thought of taking out a 460bhp Ferrari in such conditions would have prompted you to politely suggest a postponement. In the California, winter driving is a stress-free experience.

With the engine mounted as far back in the front bay as possible and the gearbox at the rear, you've got weight distribution on your side, and the new rear suspension chips in by planting the wheels square to the road.

Should things turn unexpectedly slippery, however, there's the F1-Trac electronic stability control to fall back on.

The great thing about Ferrari's system is that it's no blunt instrument, like some. It curbs your enthusiasm by cutting engine torque, but only by as much as it feels it needs to, and the degree of help it offers can be varied by the manettino switch on the steering wheel – another bit of Formula One made available to mere (rich) mortals.

All-round brilliance
It's so many cars in one, the California: a coupé or a convertible, a hard-edged sports GT or a supple cruiser and commuter car, quiet and civilised or vibrant and exciting – and it performs each task with equal brilliance.

It's quite different to any other Ferrari we can think of, and therefore likely to draw people from outside the marque's current fanbase.

'It closes the cycle of our current product strategy,' says di Montezemolo.

Which leads us to think they've left the best 'til last.

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