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Ferrari California 2012 Review


Just as I finished signing the press car loan agreement for the California, the pen ran out. I hoped it wasn't a bad omen of some kind.

We've driven plenty of fast and expensive cars before (the two don't necessarily go hand in hand) but there's just something different about a Ferrari.

It was raining outside and showed no signs of letting up as the weekend was about to unfold.

Just my luck. But the weather didn't dampen the reaction everywhere I took the car, as you can see below.


Not even the boss has one of these beauties.  As soon as it became known there was a Ferrari in the carpark the word went around. Then the questions started followed soon afterwards by the inevitable: "Can you take me for a ride?"

CO-WORKER (female)

What is it you like about Ferraris? "The sound of the engine and the fact that everyone looks at you."


"Gee. Nice car mate. How's it go?" Pause. "Sorry. What sort of coffee was that again?" "Black. Short black (what else?)"


We've always been intrigued by the way you see these cars parked right where you can see them at big hotels and other public places. Maybe it works differently in the Eastern Suburbs, but there were no special privileges in the offing a large Sydney football club in Sydney's west.


She's over it. She's been over it for years, what with the never ending stream of cars that I bring home. "But it's a Ferrari darl?" "So . . ."


You suddenly find you have lots of them (lots of female interest too).



Everyone looks. It's hard not to. There's cars and then there's Ferraris. Even at idle, the note from the exhaust (there's four of them, count them) is loud enough and strident enough to cut through the Friday afternoon throng.


No way. You wouldn't even contemplate taking a car like this into a shopping centre carpark, let alone leaving it unattended. Beside's there's probably something about it in the agreement?


Who cares. I want one anyway. It's not the first time I've driven a California, but it's the first time I've got to take one home and that please God is where I'd like it to stay. With it's retractable metal roof and rear seat, it's a Ferrari for all occasions. But you'd be hard pressed to fit anyone with legs in those tiny back seats.


The 4.3-litre direct injection V8 pumps out 338kW of power and revs to an amazing 8000rpm. The noise from the vertically stacked quad tailpipes is sensational. 

With paddle shifts and a 7-speed robotised gearbox, you can rip through the gears incredibly fast.It puts away the dash from 0-100km/h in less than four seconds and has a top speed of 310km/h.


At $459,000 (plus on-roads) it's the one sticking point. It's way beyond the reach of most people, but I guess that's what makes it so special and to some extent the people that can afford to buy them too.

Price: from $459,000
Body: four-seat convertible
Safety: front-side airbags, anti-skid brakes, ESP stability control, pop-up rollover bar
Economy: 13.1L/100km
Emissions: 305.6gm/100km
Engine: 4.3-litre V8
Output: 338kW/7750revs, 485Nm/5000 revs
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 0-100km/h, less than 4 seconds; top speed 310km/h

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Range and Specs

(base) 4.3L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $152,790 – 175,670 2012 Ferrari California 2012 (base) Pricing and Specs