Conversations I've had about the Ferrari California 30 invariably have questions like, "What does the 30 stand for? How is this different from the California?"
Well, the Ferrari California 30 is a facelift of the California, having undergone some significant changes.
For those who are not too familiar with the California, it is the entry-level Ferrari. A two-door hardtop convertible, the California was first launched four years ago at the Paris Motor Show. It marked a new chapter for Ferrari, hosting the brand's first front-engined V8, first seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, first metal folding roof and also the first to have multi-link rear suspension and direct petrol injection.
Basically, the California has gone faster and lighter — the '30' in its name refers to the 30kg weight loss and 30bhp power gain that it received, for a better power-to-weight ratio. In what I would call an efficiency programme, Scaglietti (builder and designer of the California) managed to remove 30kg from the body, by help of advanced technologies in aluminium fabrication and construction techniques to get a lighter chassis.
The 4.3-litre front-engined V8 was tuned for higher performance with new exhaust manifolds and engine mapping, resulting in an increase of 30bhp to bring the California 30's output to a new of 490bhp, while its peak torque has increased 15Nm to 505Nm and its zero to 100km/h sprint time is reduced by 0.1 second to 3.8 seconds.
Some people would not use their supercars as their daily drive for various reasons — expensive on fuel, hard to access certain car parks, not much chance to enjoy its drive with all the traffic congestions; just to name some. However, I thought the California can make a rather good daily drive.
Its munificent rev range makes it sprightlier in its pace and the Handling Speciale Package that is new in the California 30 keeps it more planted on the ground with less body roll, magnetorheological dampers (a filled with magnetorheological fluid and controlled by a magnetic field) to smoothen the ride, stiffer springs for improved steering feedback and also a quicker ECU for 50 per cent better response.
Although it is said to be a 2+2 (that means having the ability to hold four passengers), I think the back seats will be better used for your bags or at least a small-sized adult. If you really need to give your friend a lift, you can bring the roof down so he wouldn't feel claustrophobic. 14 seconds and California 30 turns into a convertible.
Inside, the California 30 cabin has no change from before. It is simple with few buttons but no less function. There is no gear lever and the shifting is all done with the steering-mounted paddle shifts. Pulling both back simultaneously sets the car in neutral and getting it into gear is just a pull of the (+) paddle, while downshifting is done with the (-) paddle. Reverse is engaged via a 'R' button on the centre console. On the steering wheel, there is also a 'manettino' switch where you can choose Comfort or Sport to suit the type of drive you want.
A Ferrari will always be a Ferrari and will never fail to turn heads wherever it goes. Although there are more supercars on our roads these days, the badge appeal of the prancing horse retains its value well.
Ferrari California 30 — Technical Specifications
Engine: 4297cc V8 GDI
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Max Power: 490bhp at 7,750rpm
Max Torque: 505Nm at 5,000rpm
Top Speed: 312km/h
0-100km/h: 3.8 secs
Price: SGD 758,000 (without COE)
Distributor: Ital Auto Singapore
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.