Stop-start Ferrari California driven

* Stop-start system an £820 option on California * Can be overridden by the driver * Exclusive video review...

Stop-start Ferrari California driven

What is it? Ferrari's coupé-cabriolet is now more efficient
Price £144,690
On sale now
MPG tba
CO2 270g/km

A Ferrari has to have three main attributes if its to be regarded as proper: first, it should look like its just rolled off the catwalk; second, it should react as if its hardwired into your cerebellum; and third, it needs to shriek like a bunch of third-form schoolgirls at a JLS concert.

So does the latest California tick each and every box?

Whether the California is elegantly morphing from hard-top coup to alfresco roadster or striking a pose on the Monaco seafront, its guaranteed to tweak the strings of even the coldest heart.

It also steers and handles brilliantly with its delicately balanced mid-front-engined layout, superbly judged suspension and a fighting weight of just 1600kg.

Performance, too, is suitably eye-opening thanks to the 453bhp 4.3-litre V8 engine and rapid-fire seven-speed semi-auto gearbox. The engine noise when you thrash it is truly music to the ears as the V8 growl gives way to howl as it closes on the 7750rpm redline.

Theres more good news. In the interest of lowering CO2 emissions, the California now has the option of an 820 engine stop-start system, which works in conjunction with a host of additional efficiency revisions, including active radiator grilles.

Consequently, when you arrive at a set of traffic lights, the engine falls silent, so uses no fuel and puts out no harmful gases. However, for those who simply cannot live without the noise of the engine in their ears all the time, Ferrari has fitted an override button.

Make no mistake, the California may be a softer, more comfortable Ferrari, but it is still most definitely a proper one.

What Car? says

More efficient and just as effervescent