The entry level model in Ferrari’s lineup, the California convertible, is unique in comparison to any model that’s come from Maranello before it. The svelte looking Ferrari has the automaker’s first dual clutch automated manual transmission and is also its first front-mounted model powered by a V-8 engine.
And if that’s not enough, the 2011 Ferrari California also packs direct fuel injection and when equipped with the HELE (High Emotion Low Emissions) system offered in certain markets it also gets an engine stop-start system.
But let’s not get into how green this car is. At the end of the day, the California is still a Ferrari and that means performance always comes first. Power comes from a 4.3-liter V-8 and peaks at 460 horsepower and 358 pound-feet of torque. Special features of the engine are its flat crankshaft design and aluminum construction for both the cylinder block and heads.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a brand new seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and is controlled with the same F1-Trac traction control system that debuted on the 599 GTB Fiorano. Brembo brakes featuring carbon-ceramic discs are fitted as standard, ensuring massive stopping power. They measure in at 15.3 inches up front and 14.2 inches in the rear.
The end result of all the tech is a 0-60 mph time of less than 4.0 seconds, a top speed of 192 mph and a quarter mile elapsed time of 12.6 seconds. Of course, for the California’s $192,000 asking price you’d expect something this great.
As with any sports car we are not going to break any records when it comes to fuel economy. The California gets around 13 mpg in the city and 19 mpg while on the highway. Step on the gas pedal and you will be rewarded by a hearty roar of the engine, not to mention a sudden burst of exhilarating acceleration.
As well as being a powerful beast, the California can also bring it down to a reasonably comfortable cruising speed too. It also has generous seating up front, however, the rear seats in this 2+2 convertible are neither functional nor practical, which you will find is the same in most of its competitor's cabins. Storage space in the trunk is a reasonable 12.7 cubic feet with the top up and 9.2 cubic feet with the top down.
For a more detailed look at the 2011 Ferrari California, check out our extensive first drive report of the identical 2010 model by clicking here