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2013 Ferrari California Preview

What is the 2013 Ferrari California?
As the entry-level Ferrari, the California has enjoyed a fair amount of success. New for this year is the “30” tacked on to the car’s dreamy name.

30 represents the fact that the Ferrari California now tips the scale at 30 fewer kilograms than it previously did, and that its 4.3L V8 engine generates an extra 30 hp for a new total of 490.

It's not hard to imagine that relatively attainable supercars like the Nissan GT-R and Audi R8 could be chewing into the sales of relatively unattainable supercars made by manufacturers like Ferrari. With the average market price of horsepower on a downward trend, those who traditionally sell it at a premium are being forced to act.

Likely in response, Ferrari launched the California in 2009. It's a V8-powered front-engine model that intends to offer shoppers a user-friendly and versatile performance experience while satisfying even the most demanding drivers.

Available exclusively with the automaker's first-ever, power-folding metal convertible roof, California shares typical Ferrari styling elements including seductive sculpting, daring angles and a wide, planted stance.

The entire package is constructed extensively of aluminum and glued to the road by one of several available wheel styles in either 19- or 20-inch diameters. Venting is extensively applied to the fenders, hood, rocker panels, and bumpers -- and brake calipers can be painted in one of several colours at the customer's request.

A Ferrari first, power comes from a front “mid-mounted” 4.3L V8 that develops 490 peak horsepower. These all come online at a lofty 7,750 revs, at which point the next gear is engaged in mere milliseconds by a paddle-shifted 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The transmission draws on Ferrari's Formula One racing expertise and is mounted in the rear of the vehicle.

Drivers can expect 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) to come up in 3.8 seconds, accompanied by the brand's trademark shrieking exhaust note. A specially optimized F1-Trac traction control system helps drivers to safely make the most of the California's power while keeping them out of the foliage and the entire package rides a Delphi-sourced magnetically adjustable suspension.

Fade-resistant ceramic composite Brembo brakes are fitted at each corner to back the potent engine up with enormous stopping power.

Inside, the Ferrari California boasts classic styling cues alongside modern amenities and a new set of seats, new steering wheel and infotainment system.

2013 Ferrari California rear 3/4 view
Photo: Ferrari

The cockpit boasts a flat-bottom F1-style steering wheel which houses the engine start button and traction control switch and sits just behind a large, centre-mounted tachometer. Heavily bolstered seats hold the front occupants in place, and the otherwise dark cabin is dressed up with some metallic trim pieces.