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2014 Ferrari California

Overview
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2014 Ferrari California Review

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As high-performance exotic sports cars go, the 2014 California convertible by Ferrari is a relative steal. As the least-expensive Ferrari in the prancing horse showroom, the $205,000 California supercar seems a bargain, even with its aging platform and somewhat dated interior features. The California’s aluminum retractable hardtop permits year-round driving ability, while the car’s moderate suspension and automatic transmission make it an easy exotic to live with. Ferrari purists may snub their nose at the California’s V8 engine and somewhat un-Ferrari-like rear-end styling, but those seeking the simple enjoyment of owning one of Italy’s most cherished makes will likely overlook such trivialities, whether the venue of choice is cruising the California coastline or carving up the track.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re in the market for an exotic luxury supercar with a respected pedigree, but you’re not looking for racetrack glory, the Ferrari California convertible for 2014 may be the perfect fit. A retractable hardtop and moderate suspension make the California a comfortable year-round driver.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Ferrari purists will likely frown upon the California lacking a 12-cylinder engine and manual transmission, not to mention the car’s styling and weight. Those seeking cutting-edge performance should look to the Ferrari F12berlinetta or FF, or even a different make such as the Aston Martin Vantage S, Porsche 911 or Mercedes SLS AMG GT roadster.

What's New for 2014

After shedding nearly 30 pounds last year, Ferrari’s convertible California sports car cruises into 2014 with no major changes.

Driving the California
Driving Impressions

It’s hard to imagine that an exotic luxury performance car producing 490 horsepower and a 0-to-60-mph run in less than 4.0 seconds is considered middle-of-the-road, but in the world of...

... high-performance supercars, that’s about where the 2014 Ferrari California is found. Still, for just about anyone short of a Formula 1 driver, the California’s performance should prove more than exhilarating. Despite the weight of the hardtop mechanism, the California’s handling remains impressive, as does its acceleration and braking abilities. Ferrari’s 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is quick to shift when commanded, but equally as content to do all the work if you so desire. Unlike many high-performance exotics, Ferrari’s California 2+2 supercar delivers a surprisingly compliant ride when not at the track, making it the perfect exotic for long road trips and weekend getaways.

RETRACTABLE HARDTOP
A first for Ferrari, the California’s retractable hardtop allows this exotic 2+2 to play the role of both coupe and convertible. With the top down, the California’s lines are clean and breathtaking. Put the top up, and the car looks a little more sinister while keeping its occupants warm and dry.

7-SPEED DUAL-CLUTCH AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
Inspired by Formula 1 racing, the California’s 7-speed dual-clutch automatic permits seamless gearshifts that require little more than quick flicks of the steering-wheel paddle shifters. When left in fully automatic mode, the transmission’s computer brain learns driving habits and calculates shift patterns to best suit your driving style.

2014 Ferrari California Details
Interior

Ferrari’s 2014 California convertible boasts plenty of individual style and more creature comforts than you might expect considering this exotic's capabilities. Leather covers just about every surface, and a wide variety of colors is available. The California can be ordered as a "two-plus" or simply as a 2-passenger car. In the former setup, there are two tiny rear seats, while in the latter a parcel shelf resides in that space. In either configuration a fold-down rear seatback allows longer items to be passed through the trunk. You won't find a bevy of audio controls on the steering wheel, but rather two main ones to start the car and switch driving modes.

Exterior

Thanks to its longtime partner Pininfarina, there is a healthy dose of Ferrari design in the California convertible's curvaceous body, but there are some oddities as well. Its rear end seems a bit too bulbous and high-perched for a Ferrari, no doubt a consequence of the space required for the convertible's retracting hardtop roof. That element aside, the California is among the rare breed of convertibles that looks equally amazing with the top up or down. Myriad exterior paint colors, wheel choices, carbon-fiber bits and more give customers plenty of customization options when building their own Californias.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Drop $200,000-plus for a Ferrari California and you'll get a mechanical masterpiece, not to mention intangibles that include the envy of other drivers and the pitter-patter of your heart every time you walk into your garage. Items you can put a finger on include dual-zone climate control and a Chrysler-derived 6.5-inch touch-screen display with navigation and 40 gigs of storage. Carbon-ceramic brakes, bi-xenon headlights and 19-inch wheels are also part of the package. One of the California's most impressive standard features is its complimentary maintenance plan. With it, Ferrari provides a 7-year scheduled maintenance program that is even transferable to a new owner.

Optional Equipment

One does not buy a Ferrari to blend into the crowd and, with that in mind, the 2014 California can be outfitted with a vast array of custom fabrics, colors and finishes to fit each client "like a bespoke suit," according to the Italian automaker. More traditional options include cruise control and a rearview camera. Also available are a JBL premium audio system, front parking sensors, diamond-polished forged rims and a $6,000-plus matching leather luggage set that makes the most of the California's cargo space. For performance-minded buyers, there is the Handling Speciale package, which includes magneto-rheological dampers and a stiffer suspension.

Under the Hood

For 2014, a mid-front-mounted 4.3-liter V8 engine in the Ferrari California sends 490 horsepower to the rear wheels. At the same time, this Ferrari convertible is rather fuel-efficient for its class, returning a combined 16 mpg. Enhancing efficiency is Ferrari's first implementation of Stop-Start technology, which turns off the engine at idle and fires it up again in a scant 230 milliseconds when you're ready to run. Premium gasoline is, expectedly, the fuel of choice for Ferrari's direct-injection powerplant.

4.3-liter V8
490 horsepower @ 7,750 rpm
372 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg

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