The Ferrari California is a grand touring sports car produced by the Italian manufacturer Ferrari. It is a two-door 2+2 hard top convertible. When originally released, the California was powered by a front-mid mounted naturally aspirated 4.3-litre V8; in 2014 Ferrari introduced the second generation of the model, named California T and using a new twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8. The car revives the name used on the late-1950s Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California and the 1960s 365 California.
The California was launched at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. According to industry rumours, the California originally started as a concept for a new Maserati, but the resulting expense to produce the car led the Fiat Group to badge it as a Ferrari in order to justify the high cost of purchase; the company denies this, however. The California represents a new, fourth model range for the company.
The California represents a number of firsts for Ferrari:
Bosch produced the direct injection system. The engine displaces 4,297 cubic centimetres (262.2 cubic inches), and used gasoline direct injection. It delivers 338 kW (453 bhp) at 7,750 rpm; its maximum torque produced is 485 N·m (358 lbf·ft) at 5,000 rpm. The resulting 79 kW (106 bhp) per litre of engine displacement is one of the highest for a naturally aspirated engine, as other manufacturers have used supercharging or turbocharging to reach similar power levels. The body computer system was developed by Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting.
The original 2010 California had a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph) and it could accelerate from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under four seconds. Although that model was 180 kilograms (397 lb) heavier and 30 PS (22 kW; 30 hp) less powerful than the mid-engined F430, the California reached 97 km/h (60 mph) in the same time as the F430 due to the dual-clutch transmission.
Ferrari spent over 1,000 hours in the wind tunnel with a one-third-scale model of the California perfecting its aerodynamics. With the top up, the California has a drag coefficient of Cd=0.32, making it the most aerodynamic Ferrari ever made[ until the introduction of the Ferrari F12berlinetta.
The California is built in a new production line adjacent to the existing factory at Maranello. The existing production line produces 27 cars per day, or 6,000 per year.
Throughout California's production, only 3 cars had been built with manual transmission, including one order from the UK.
On 15 February 2012, Ferrari announced an upgrade of the 2009 model which is lighter and more powerful. Changes include reducing body weight by 30 kg (66 lb), increased power by output of 30 PS (22 kW; 30 hp) and 15 N·m (11 lbf·ft), acceleration from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) time reduced to 3.8 seconds, introduction of Handling Speciale package and elimination of manual transmission following poor sales.
The car was released at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show as a 2012 model in Europe and as a 2013 model year for the US. Deliveries began in Europe first.
To give the clients a more dynamic driving experience, an optional HS (Handling Speciale) package was developed as part of the update in 2012 (for the US 2013 model year). It can be recognized by a silver coloured grille and ventilation blisters behind the front wheel wells.
The HS package includes Delphi MagneRide magnetorheological dampers controlled by an ECU with 50% faster response time running patented Ferrari software, stiffer springs for more precise body control and a steering rack with a 9 per cent quicker steering ratio (2.3 turns lock to lock as opposed to the standard rack's 2.5).
In May 2012, Ferrari recalled the California because the engine could freeze suddenly and possibly cause a crash. The F136 engines had crankshafts that were machined incorrectly. The auto maker learned of the problem when it happened during a review by car critics. Owners could choose from having a new engine installed by their dealer, having the engine removed and the work done by Ferrari North America or having a new crankshaft and bearings installed at the dealership.