Review: 2010 Ferrari California

Daniel Mader
by Daniel Mader
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review 2010 ferrari california

The California is a bit like my first girlfriend: pretty from the front, but a little frumpy at the rear, especially in the wrong clothes (sorry Sarah). This is Ferrari’s softer side. Huh? How can you mess with the classic GT recipe? Sorry Ferrari but the California is the best definition of Ugly Betty with four wheels. If you were hoping for a Dino successor, then you’ll be disappointed. This is a fresh GT with a new clientele in mind.

Hoping for a warm welcome party, my blue press car just didn’t look right under the brilliant Sicilian sunshine– even though I skipped the offer of a blood-red California, which I thought would dispel the miss-matched lines and kindergarten crayon-like sketches. Like the 612 Scaglietti, the latest front-engined Ferrari has no Maranello designer-DNA-flair whatsoever. Sure, the front is OK, but the rear looks like a F430 that’s been backed into a brick wall. And then we have the Lexus cosmetic card trick: fake exhaust tail pipes. The horrendous back door abomination was designed to incorporate the folding metal roof. With every supercar manufacturer fitting an origami roof to just about anything that moves, the boys in Italy wanted to target more conservative customers (namely female, but you didn’t hear me say that).

The buggy seats behind the front chairs are useless for any human larger than Verne Troyer. And? They are perfectly suitable for those owners who wish to fold them to accommodate your tailored Ferrari luggage or McLaren golf bags. While it’s all very Ferrari inside, there are two small issues that need addressing. First, the heater control pane is ridiculously small. I know owners live in salubrious climates, but really. Second, the aluminium covered centre console looks like a particularly uncomfortable sex toy. The sexy, red Start button and Manettino switch (Ferrari’s traction and stability control), return us to the world of more traditional sexual orientation. Both controls must tweaked and caressed like a lover’s nipple to get the desired effect. Ahem. Moving on…

Facing killjoy CO2 regs, Ferrari had to clean up their act. To satisfy the politicians, Maranello has introduced direct-injection technology to their famous V8. Although positioned over the front axle, the new 4.3-litre flat-plane-crank V8 knocks-out 454bhp and 357 lb feet of gut-busting torque. The Calfornia drop top nails the zero to 62mph sprint in around four seconds and cracks 194mph V-max. Not bad for a car that’s carrying 1735 kg’s.

Whether you’re nailing your favourite back road or performing a brief overtaking manoeuvre whilst kicking back on the boulevard, the California V8 delivers the same sorts of aural delights enjoyed by F430 drivers. Ferrari’s dialed down the bass and treble, but with the roof stowed, hunting the red-line is equally tempting. The new seven speed twin-clutch transmission swaps gears quicker than the F430 Scuderia, which is like saying an F-22 is a bit quicker than an F-15. Porsche’s PDK may have set the benchmark, but they forgot about Ferrari’s F1 technology. This is Transformers for grown-ups.

The Manettino switch on the steering wheel offers a choice of Comfort, Sport or CST-off mode. Comfort is the default choice with relatively low intervention thresholds; the Sport setting raises the bar and allows for a good degree of tail swapping and tire mashing. The CST mode turns off all of the driving aids and reveals the California’s hidden side: beautiful balance on the limit behaviour.

This is where the buttons ping off your shirt and you start to turn green. The combination of engine, handling and hidden Ferrari DNA bursts out more alarmingly than the alien in John Hurt’s chest. The steering is quick but grip levels are less communicative through the steering wheel. Where the California really shines: its ride. With the optional $6k magnetic dampers, the Fezza delivers sensational body control and accuracy, without destroying ride comfort.

So, where does the new California fit within the Ferrari canon/cannon? At a not inconsiderable $244k, it’s got to fend off a raft of competition, including Lamborghini’s cheaper Gallardo Spyder ($224K). Why have Ugly Betty when you can choose Beyonce Knowles? Because it’s a Ferrari. A Ferrari convertible. And even though it’s a kindler gentler example of the breed, that’s enough.

[Ferrari provided the vehicle, insurance, and fuel]

Daniel Mader
Daniel Mader

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  • Jacob Jacob on Aug 19, 2013

    This thing is a joke. A Maserati with a Ferrari badge. A fine car, but come on. Ferrari would never have had reputation it has now if it was building cars like this instead of the glorious Ferraris we have seen in the last few decades.

  • Asm65756251 Asm65756251 on Nov 21, 2023

    Brilliant car. I have driven mine 20K miles in 18 months. Been on 3 track days. Had it up to 176mph. It’s a beautiful fantastic sports car and my golf clubs fit in the boot. I love it.

  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.
  • Jeff The car itself is in really good shape and it is worth the money. It has lots of life left in it and can easily go over 200k.