True, images of Ferrari's new California have been circulating for a while now. That, however, did not dampen things for the official online unveiling of the new Ferrari at Maranello. It generated as much interest as any of the prancing horses in Ferrari's stable.
Driven in by Michael Schumacher himself, the California is Ferrari's attempt to attract a new range of customers who may have considered a Ferrari before but baulked at the stratospheric sticker price. There might be more than a suggestion of the new Ferrari's target demographic in the name (we're thinking US West Coast nouveau riche here - try Orange County for starters).
Expected to start around USD$190,000, the Ferrari California is easily the most affordable offering from the Italian marque. Ferrari's intent is to create a vehicle that appeals to a wider range of clientele - still with very fat wallets it has to be said.
Michael Schumacher's comments framed the California's design ethic (with his typical aplomb):
"The car is an attempt to combine the eminent sporting potential of all Ferraris with the comfort and practicality of a daily driver. "
A nice daily driver it would make too. The California features an all-new 343kW direct-injection 4.3L V8 powering the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (with four separate settings). Due to advanced aerodynamics and the all-new power-plant, the California benefits from a 30% reduction in fuel consumption, making it one of the more environmentally-friendly supercars on offer.
Ferrari fitted the California with a the latest F1-Trac traction control system and Magnetic Ride Control suspension to ensure the California is as at home tootling around town as it is blasting from 0-100 in a very respectable four seconds flat.
While you may have missed the official online unveiling, you can still head over to the Ferrari California website and see what you missed.
The California looks like a smart move by Ferrari. The availability of a low cost (comparatively) yet genuine supercar is certain to have showrooms bristling with Ferrari aficionados. For more of the new 'affordable' Ferrari, keep your your eyes peeled for next month's Paris Motor Show where the California will be on display.