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Thread: California dreaming

  1. #1
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    Published October 11, 2008

    California dreaming

    Ferrari's new hard-top convertible hasn't been launched but is already sold out till 2011. By Samuel Ee

    IT HASN'T even been launched but it's already sold out till 2011. There are no prices and no production schedule but Ferrari has managed to snag at least 6,000 buyers with its sensational hard-top convertible. The Ferrari California was officially unveiled last weekend at the Paris Motor Show. It is a 2+2 with a folding hard top and like the other models in the prancing horse's current range, it has an aluminium chassis and bodywork. It has a 4.3-litre V8 engine but instead of being located behind the driver as in the F430, the California's power plant will be in front - the first time in Ferrari history that a V8 will be mounted that way.

    The Ferrari California has a 4.3-litre V8 engine but instead of being located behind the driver as in the F430, its power plant will be in front - the first time in Ferrari history that a V8 will be mounted that way

    This mid-front position of the engine frees up space in the cabin and allows for two rear seats and a bigger boot. Together with a new-generation twin-clutch transmission that is smooth, comfortable and said to perform just like a true automatic, the versatile California appeals with its immense useability.

    Little wonder then that the planned production of up to 2,800 Californias for 2009 and about 3,000 for 2010 have already been booked. This in spite of prices before tax starting from 179,000 euros (S$360,800) and the current economic situation. Although there is no confirmation, the car is expected to cost about the same as a fully loaded F430 here, or in the region of $800,000 upwards.

    'The California is not a 'baby' Ferrari but an alternative choice of car with the same type of drive that a V8 offers,' says a manager at local distributor Hong Seh Motors. 'It opens up opportunities for those who have always wanted a Ferrari but could not justify it because of the body style.'

    Perhaps that is why Ferrari says that 60 per cent of buyers who have ordered a California will be first-time owners of the Italian marque.

    They will enjoy a car that offers superb vehicle dynamics and maximum driving pleasure. The California's V8 engine is new - it has a wet sump instead of the usual dry sump - and powers the car from zero to 100 kmh in just 3.9 seconds, up to a top speed of 310 kmh. Although there are only 460 hp versus the F430's 490 horses, the reason for such splendid performance is down to the gear ratios of the superfast dual-clutch box. The optimised aerodynamics also help.

    And in these eco-friendly times, Ferrari is also touting the California as one of the greenest sports cars money can buy. It has a fuel consumption figure of 13.1 litres per 100 km, or about 7.6 km per litre. Carbon emissions are 305 g per km.

    Other innovations include a new multi-link rear suspension and the exclusive F1-Trac traction control system first seen on the 599 GTB Fiorano. Brembo brakes featuring carbon-ceramic material discs come as standard. Inside the ergonomically designed cabin, there are new accessories and equipment, such as the seats, steering wheel, instrument panel and infotainment system.

    Although production dates have not been conveyed, the Ferrari California is expected to be here some time in mid-2009. We can't wait.

    [email protected]


    Engine 4,297cc V8
    Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch
    Max power 460 hp @ 7,750 rpm
    Max torque 480 Nm @ 4,750 rpm
    0-100 kmh 3.9 secs
    Top speed 310 kmh
    Price on application
    Distributor Hong Seh Motors
    tel 6266-1555

  2. #2
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    Wah lau! Sold out till 2011? So red hot meh?

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