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Ferrari California

The entry-level Ferrari.

Although the Ferrari California was previously the only Ferrari available with a manual transmission, that gearbox is not available for 2013. Why? Only two buyers — not two percent, two buyers — opted for three pedals and a stick. With Ferrari’s stick-shifting days behind it, however, the California grows more robust while lightening its load. For 2013, the 4.3-liter V-8 engine makes 483 hp and 372 lb-ft of torque (up from 454 and 357, respectively), while simultaneously losing 66 pounds, thanks to the replacement of some steel pieces with aluminum ones. The result? A 3.8-second 0-to-60-mph time, just 0.3 second behind its big brother, the 458 Spider. California buyers looking to catch up with the more-hard-core Italia can purchase the $7227 Handling Speciale Package, which includes magnetorheological dampers and other tweaks. The retractable hard top (Ferrari’s first) stores in fourteen seconds and leaves enough trunk room for two rollaway bags or one golf bag. A finished cargo shelf behind the front seats can be replaced with two very small rear seats. The rear-mounted, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transaxle is tuned for smooth shifts, and the light steering won’t bother the driver with too much feedback. Although it is more hard-core than before, the California will never be mistaken for the sharper, more expensive Italia.

COMPETITORS

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Lamborghini Gallardo Spider

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG roadster

new for 2013

The California is refreshed for 2013 with more power and less weight. It offers the Handling Speciale Package (with magnetic dampers and stiffer settings) for the first time.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front and side air bags, traction and stability control, and ABS are standard.

MPG

CITY 13

HWY 19

PRO

It’s a Ferrari

It’s the Ferrari with the shortest waiting list

CON

Not the most elegant design

Not the most involving to drive

Not Ferrari’s best effort

Base Price: $201,290

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVEL: California

BODY STYLE: Convertible, 2+2-passenger

ENGINE: 4.3L V-8, 483 hp, 372 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A

CARGO SPACE: 12.0 cu ft

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