An insufficient number of expert reviews means no Total Car Score for the 2011 Ferrari California. But when there's a Prancing Horse badge on the nose, how bad can it be? Hard to believe an entry-level car could cost around $200,000, but this one sits in an unusual, rarefied world.
The California is also an unusual Ferrari. It's the company's first model with a retractable metal roof and a double-clutch automated manual transmission. Technically, it's a 2+2, but the rear seats are limited in their usefulness. If trunk space is a consideration, it's 12.7 cubic feet with the roof up and 9.2 roof down.
A V8 engine provides familiar Ferrari power and speed set to a thrilling exhaust-note soundtrack. Top speed is 193 mph and sprinting from standstill to 60 mph takes only 3.4 seconds.
Much of the hardware and software can trace its origins back to the company's motorsport adventures (Ferrari is the most successful Formula One team ever). The multi-mode traction control system allows some leeway for a spirited driver to let the tail end slide a little before kicking in. The Brembo brakes bite down on carbon ceramic rotors.
The 2011 California is unchanged from the previous year and it was only introduced in 2008.
The 2011 Ferrari California is just one model and trim level -- a rear-drive grand tourer convertible with a retractable hard top. Sporting a 4.3-liter V8 developing 460 horsepower and 358 pound-feet of torque, it's not the most powerful current Ferrari but still more than respectable.
A dual-clutch automated manual transmission houses seven ratios.
Standard safety equipment includes driver-adjustable traction control, stability control and Brembo anti-lock brakes. Comfort and convenience features include rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and a voice-activated infotainment system with hard-drive music storage and Bluetooth.
A premium audio system with iPod integration is on an extensive options list, along with a carbon fiber front wing, advanced lighting, rear-view camera, parking sensors, Magneride dual-mode shock absorbers and a choice of colors for the seat belts, leather trim, dashboard and armrest.
The California returns a claimed 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway.
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