Ferrari California

Ferrari California

Ferrari will be addressing criticisms that its California convertible is just a little too soft by adopting a sharper and more focused design for the car’s replacement.

The California has just undergone a mid-cycle update, receiving slightly more power and a new handling package, so its replacement is still a couple of years away from launch.

However, Car and Driver has managed to pick up a few of the new car’s details.  

The big news is that the new car will feature a twin-turbocharged V-8. This new engine, which is being developed by Ferrari for use in the California replacement as well as several other Fiat Group models, should develop more than 500 horsepower, surpassing the 490 horsepower found in the latest version of the California.

It is expected to be a thoroughly modern unit, complete with an F1-inspired KERS that will reportedly deliver an additional 100 horsepower when needed. Ferrari’s KERS recaptures energy under braking and uses this to charge a lithium-ion battery. This battery then powers an electric motor, which delivers the additional boost when necessary. The first production version of this system is set to debut in Ferrari’s Enzo replacement set for reveal later this year.

It won’t just be about outright power, however. Ferrari’s engineers are said to be focusing on reducing the weight of the California replacement to well below the 4,123-pound curb mass of the California. More carbon fiber will be employed, as well as plenty of aluminum, to offset the weight of the hybrid system and ensure the new car remains light. The folding hard-top is also expected to remain.

Some initial performance estimates are a 0-60 mph time of less than 3.5 seconds and a top speed of around 200 mph, making this new car almost as quick as the more expensive 458 Italia and even coming close to the performance of the F12 Berlinetta.

In terms of styling, expect more retro cues and a much prettier shape overall. Leading the design is Flavio Manzoni, the head of Ferrari’s in-house design studio Centro Stile and the man in charge of designing the Enzo replacement. Unlike the new Enzo, which will be all Ferrari, Pininfarina will be helping with the design for the California replacement.

The Ferrari California, despite its criticisms, is an important model for Ferrari. More than 8,000 examples have been sold since its launch, with 70 percent of those going to customers new to the brand. Getting the design right for its replacement will be crucial for Ferrari.