Ferrari California Open full 9 point review
The California has a direct-injection 4.3-litre V8 in the nose, with a seven-speed double-clutch automated manual gearbox at the rear (there is a six-speed manual if you insist). Together they deliver all the performance you expect from a Ferrari with sensational driveability and smoothness.
Ride & Handling
Those who expect all Ferraris to deliver seat-of-the-pants thrills will be surprised by the California. It has Formula One hand-me-downs in the form of variable traction and stability controls and carbon ceramic brakes, but it all feels rather heavy and stodgy. The ride is supple, though, making the California a good cruiser.
The fully-automated gearshifts are smooth and the engine is inaudible when cruising, yet you get the full surround-sound bellow when you let rip. The folding hard-top means wind noise is negligible within UK speed limits and there's barely any bluster with the roof down. However, there’s rather a lot of road noise on coarse surfaces.
Buying & Owning
The California is one of the cleanest, most frugal cars that Ferrari makes, but don’t get too excited - your running costs will still be stratospheric. You’ll pay a fair old whack to buy one, too, and you’ll have to wait a while before it’s delivered. Still, a seven-year servicing package is included in the price, with no mileage limit.
Quality & Reliability
The materials are more luxurious than those used in many other Ferraris, and the cabin has an impressively sumptuous feel. There are no complaints about the way the bits are assembled, either. Traditionally, Ferrari has had a rather disappointing record for reliability, and this needs to improve.
Safety & Security
Being a coupe-cabrio, you get only four airbags. The California is designed to prevent you ever getting into difficulties thanks to its variable stability and traction control system and mightily effective carbon-ceramic brakes. It has a satellite-linked tracking system, which the company says has led to every Ferrari that's ever been stolen being found and recovered.
Behind The Wheel
These days, Ferraris adapt themselves to their owners rather than the other way round, so you get two-way electric steering adjustment and a multi-adjustable seat. Visibility is good, except for a large area of windscreen by the driver's-side pillar that’s left unswept by the wipers. The layout of the controls and switchgear is also fairly intuitive.
Space & Practicality
You can have your California as a two-seater with space for golf bags or suitcases in the cabin, or as a two-plus-two complete with child-seat mounting points. You can even change your mind and switch between the two after you've bought it. Being realistic, though, it's a two-plus-one at best. There's a 340-litre boot with through-loading into the cabin, but it shrinks by 100 litres with the folding metal roof down.
Ferrari lets you personalise your car pretty much any way you want (at a price, naturally), although the standard package is fairly complete. Touch-screen sat-nav, tyre pressure monitoring, electric heated seats and the full gamut of Formula One-derived traction and stability aids, plus carbon ceramic brakes are all included.