Since its release in 2009, the Ferrari California has not been getting as much attention as we’d expect. Having made basic cameo appearances on shows like Entourage, the Ferrari California is not having its big moment despite being the first retractable hardtop Ferrari has designed. So why has this masterpiece been overshadowed by the mighty F430 and 599GTB? Well, it seems that no one had the answer, so we decided to go and test drive the car for ourselves and see if the car is really not living up to its expectation.
When looking at the styling of the car, it is quite beautiful and not similar to any other Ferrari previously released, it is not a remake or a predecessor to any other F1 model and therefore creates a whole new platform for Ferrari. The car is much larger than it looks in pictures and has nice wide stance to it, the fender flares follow the contours of the car beautifully. The rear end is by far my favorite, carrying some great F430 lights in a single manner but also including a very aggressive rear diffuser and quad tailpipes on top of one another a la Mansory style. The front of the car is also very attractive with some great looking headlights but the center of the car is not so much due to a Ram Air system straight in the middle of the hood, which might work on darker colors but does not on lighter cars.
The interior of the Ferrari California is stunning as you would expect from Ferrari and rather gadget full unlike what you would expect in other GT cars like the F430 which leads you to believe that Ferrari attempted to make this car a cruiser rather than a track car, which also explains the luxuries found in this car like the retractable hardtop, navigation systems and heated seats, all which come standard. The leather interior and seats are pretty much straight out of the F430, and are available in just about any color combination. Trunk space is almost non existent when the top is down and has less room than a Corvette with the top up, but keep in mind that regardless of the fact that Ferrari made the California more practical, it is a Ferrari and not a Lexus, so trunk space is most likely not a priority to the market share.
The dynamics is the main area that hurts the Ferrari California, it simply is not a GT or F1 car, it drives more like an Aston martin V12. It is fast getting to 60 under 4 seconds and smooth due to a 7 speed F1 but does not create the same race feeling that the F430 creates, which makes me question what Ferrari was trying to do with this car. It seems like it would be direct competition to their Maserati Gran Turismo Cabrio slated to come out early next year. It seems as though Ferrari should have left a Maserati badge on this one, as the ride is not true to the racing heritage we have come to expect from Ferrari. The California is nice, but simply being catered to the wrong crowd which in essence is the reason it is not selling well. Especially with a $200,000+ price tag.