2009 Ferrari California Overview

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California is known for many things: the governator, UCLA, and Hollywood, but amongst its many connotations, the name California is so rarely bestowed upon something of beauty, magnificence and sheer power. Until 2008, when Ferrari made the decision to manufacture a 2+2 front engine, Grand Tourer coupe cabriolet known as the California. Revived from the 1950s Ferrari 250 GT name, the California was announced by Ferrari at the 2008 Paris Motor Show as an entirely new model line for Ferrari. Although often times confused as the successor to the 575 Maranello, or as the similar Grand Tourer, the 599 GTB Fiorano, the California is differentiated primarily as a front engine V8 Grand Tourer versus the Maranello and 599 GTB Fiorano which house V12s.
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The introduction of the Ferrari California introduced a number of firsts for Ferrari. It would be the first Ferrari to feature a front-engine V8, a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, a folding metal convertible roof, multi-link rear suspension and direct fuel injection. These combinations of firsts make the California a very interesting car, especially once you start getting into the specifications and begin to understand that the California is more than just a Grand Tourer. So, without further delay, let’s get into the details. The California is powered by a 4.3 liter V8 that puts out 453 horsepower at 7,750 RPM and 357 ft-lb of torque at 5,000 RPM, yielding an impressive 108 horsepower per liter, one of the highest ratios for a naturally aspirated V8. The 2012 Ford Mustang GT features a 5.0 liter V8 that produces 412 horsepower, yielding 82 horsepower per liter and the 2006 Corvette Z06 7.0 Liter LS3 engine produces 505 horsepower, yielding 72 horsepower per liter. Not even a supercharged 6.2 liter LS9 engine from the Corvette ZR1 beats the California’s horsepower per liter, with 638 horsepower, the ZR1 yields 103 horsepower per liter.
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Although the per liter horsepower is extremely high, the overall output would be considered fairly low when comparing to other performance vehicles so one would assume that it cannot be that much faster. But it is. Thanks to being the first Ferrari with a 7-speed dual clutch automatic, the California can go from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, the same time as a Ferrari F430, despite weighing 180 kilograms (~400lbs) more and having 30 horsepower less. The California can then be pushed to a top speed of 193 MPH, thanks to over 1,000 hours of testing in wind tunnels to help perfect the aerodynamics into a beautifully shaped and drag efficient car, which is certainly an understatement.
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The design of the car must have first been dreamed by a kid with limitless imagination, and then taken by an artist who knows how to portray power with legs, where, finally the Ferrari engineers spent countless hours perfecting the unique blend of V8 performance, with Grand Tourer cruising with the finesse of an Italian exotic.
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In 2008 Ferrari announced plans to produce nearly 5,000 Californias in the first two years of production, pushing total Ferrari production up by 50%. Despite the unusually high production numbers for Ferrari, all California’s have been sold up to 2011 for a refreshingly cool $192,000. In 2011, Ferrari announced a refresh for the 2012 California, to feature lighter aluminum alloys yielding a lower weight of 3,758 and an increased power output of 30 additional horses due to a remapped ECU. Be sure to pay a few extra organs for the enhanced California due to come out in 2012.
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