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Ferrari Reveals Lighter, Punchier California

The Rodney Dangerfield of Ferrari's line gets a bit more respect.

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Ferrari’s replacement for the 599 GTB is almost guaranteed to be one of the biggest stories out of the Geneva Motor Show next month—considering it’s expected to pack a 700 horsepower V12 yet be smaller and lighter than its predecessor, it’s not hard to see why—but the Prancing Horse is also bringing a revised version of the California to the really big Swiss show.

Unlike the carefully-guarded 599 replacement, though, Ferrari is more than happy to discuss the new Cali well in advance of its motor show appearance. New exhaust manifolds and engine mapping bump power to 483 horsepower and 372 lb-ft of torque, and give the car a flatter torque curve. Simultaneously, Ferrari managed to shave 66 pounds off the car; Ferrari claims the combination of virtues sends the new California from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds.

If there’s been one main criticism of the California, it’s that the car is too Beverly Hills and not enough Stelvio Pass—more cruiser than sports car. In hopes of shutting those critics up once and for all, Ferrari is also giving the California a new Handling Speciale package. The HS pack teams Ferrari’s magnetorheological dampers, stiffer springs and a 10 percent quicker steering box, all of which combined will still not earn you any street cred with Gallardo drivers. But you’ll be having fun, so who cares?

The updated California is already being built in Maranello, with initial deliveries headed to Europe. Between this, the new SL63 AMG supposedly headed to Geneva, and the Bentley Continental GTC V8, it’s an even better time than usual to be shopping for a front-engined convertible GT. [via Ferrari]

Press Release:

Geneva debut for lighter, more powerful Ferrari California with new “handling speciale” package

Maranello, 15 February – The Geneva Motor Show will see the official debut of the new version of the Ferrari California, production of which has already commenced, with a reduction of weight of 30 kg and an increase in power output of 30 CV.

The Ferrari California’s GDI V8 now delivers 490 hp with maximum torque of 505 Nm at 5,000 rpm, thanks to new exhaust manifolds and engine mapping. The torque curve has also been modified and is higher across the engine’s generous rev range.

Cutting-edge aluminium fabrication techniques and construction technologies used by the Scaglietti Centre of Excellence in the manufacture of the Ferrari California’s chassis, have led to an overall reduction of 30 kg in the car’s weight without impinging in any way on its structural rigidity and performance.

These enhancements have improved the Ferrari’s California’s performance, reducing its 0-100 km/acceleration time to 3.8 seconds. This heightens its sporty feel without detracting from the mission and character of a car that has won universal acclaim for its performance and exceptional versatility resulting from its retractable hard top and 2+ seating. To meet the needs of clients desiring a more dynamic, yet not overly extreme, driving experience, an optional Handling Speciale package has been developed which encompasses modifications to the suspension set-up that minimise body roll and make the car even more responsive to driver inputs.

The Handling Speciale package includes Magnetorheological dampers controlled by an even faster ECU (-50% response time) running patented Ferrari software. The package also features stiffer springs for more precise body control combined with a comfortable ride. Lastly, the California benefits from faster turn-in with smaller steering wheel angles thanks to a new steering box with a 10 per cent quicker steering ratio.

All these new features combine to underscore the California’s sporty prowess without affecting its high-performance grand touring vocation – an achievement very much in line with Ferrari’s DNA.

The technical features are matched by a new, even more extensive choice of colours developed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, including two-tone finishes, three-layer paint technology and modern re-interpretations of classic colour schemes which increase the exclusive personalisation possibilities even further. In addition, the Ferrari California benefits from the free seven-year standard maintenance programme.

The availability of the lighter and more powerful vehicle, along with the optional Handling Speciale package, varies according to each market with first deliveries scheduled for Europe.

  • Micah Castro says:
    February 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I've always really dug the California look. I can see where people are coming from with the "Beverly Hills" effect, but to me it's a front-engine GT car which is why it seems fine to come off that way. More horsepower and less weight never hurt, though, so if that's what the boys over in Maranello want to produce then I'm not gonna argue. It was good enough for Richard when he took it through Romania, and it's good enough for me.

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