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CAR OF THE MONTH February 2011

2012 Ferrari California Review

California Dreamin'

A three-quarter front view of a 2012 Ferrari California

In short: Ferrari's attempt at a (somewhat) accessible sports car.

As the most affordable model in Ferrari's stable — and the first to sport a front-mounted V8 engine — the all-new California is being touted by the Italian automaker as a more versatile version of its notoriously aggressive speed machines. Descending from the automotive Mount Olympus that is the Ferrari factory to the realm of the almost attainable, this sexy hardtop convertible displays a softer — dare we even say romantic — side of the race-inspired badge. As is befitting a vehicle whose name evokes sunny days and summer fun, the California is perfect for a revved-up, top-down cruise for two along the coast.

However, in case you're worried that Ferrari has gone soft, no need to worry. The California, which boasts a top speed of 193 mph and can rocket from 0-60 in a face-melting 4 seconds, can hardly be called tame. And, with a sticker price of almost $200,000, Ferrari's "accessible" new sports car still feels fairly exclusive to us.

Related Content:
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Top 10 Convertibles
Watch a video of the Ferrari California

View more photos of the Ferrari California

Warranty/Service:2-year/unlimited-mile warranty; 2-year/unlimited-mile powertrain warranty; 2-year/unlimited-mile rust warranty.

Base Price: $192,000 / As Tested: $196,450

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: mid-front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible

Engine: 4.3-liter V8 engine with direct injection
Horsepower: 460 hp @ 7,750 rpm
Torque: 358 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch with wheel-mounted F1-style paddles

Curb weight: 3,825 lbs
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
179.6/74.9/51.5 in

Safety: dual front side airbags; passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation

Brakes: four-wheel Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brakes with ABS; electronic brakeforce distribution
Suspension: double wishbone front; multi-link rear
F1 Trac stability and traction control system

0-60 mph: 4 seconds
Top Speed: 193 mph

EPA City: 13 mpg
EPA Highway: 19 mpg

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 01/31/13 NW)