Since the California joined Ferrari’s range in 2008, it has brought many new customers to the marque – people who need something a little more practical than the F430/458 Italia and yet would rather not spend £200k+ on the FF or 599 GTB.

Call it the sensible Ferrari, if you like, but that doesn’t mean its owners aren’t just as keen to have fun.

Making its premiere at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the new California is lighter by 30 kg, quicker thanks to an extra 30 bhp and even better around corners when fitted with the optional Handling Speciale package.

Weight Reduction

The 30kg reduction in weight has been achieved using the very latest fabrication and construction technologies, developed by Ferrari’s Scaglietti Centre of Excellence in the production of the California’s aluminium chassis.

The overall reduction of 30 kg (from 1735 kg to 1705 kg) is achieved whilst maintaining the California’s excellent structural rigidity and NVH performance.

Power Increase

With Ferrari’s 458 Italia delivering 562 bhp and the FF and 599 GTB delivering well over 600 bhp each, it would be easy to conclude that the 453 bhp California was intended for the more sedentary customer. Whilst an extra 30 bhp won’t all of a sudden turn it into a hot rod, the combination of more power with less weight should add a fresh spring to the California’s stride.

Keep in mind:

More performance: The California now has 30 bhp more and weighs 30 kg less than the outgoing version.
Price: It also costs more – up from £146,690 to £152,086.
Better Handling: New Handling Speciale package uses Magnetorheological dampers, stiffer springs and quicker steering to increase the California’s driving appeal.

Ferrari’s GDI V8 engine now delivers 483 bhp with maximum torque of 505 Nm (up from 485 Nm) at 5,000 rpm, thanks to new exhaust manifolds and revised engine mapping. The torque curve has also been modified and is now higher across the engine’s generous rev range, which makes for a more effortless turn of speed.

Ferrari quote a 0-62 mph time of 3.8 seconds for the new California (down from 3.9 seconds), illustrating its new, slightly more sporty feel, which has been achieved without diminishing its usability or practical 2+2 versatility.

Better through the corners

For those customers who’d prefer a more dynamic drive, Ferrari are offering the new Handling Speciale package which is available as an option. Designed to minimise body roll and increase responsiveness, Ferrari has modified the California’s suspension set-up to enhance the driving experience without compromising the car’s ‘grand touring’ vocation.

The Handling Speciale package includes new Magnetorheological dampers controlled by an even faster ECU (-50% response time), running patented Ferrari software. The package also features stiffer springs for more precise body control whilst maintaining a comfortable ride.

Lastly, the California benefits from faster turn-in with smaller steering wheel angles, thanks to a new steering box with a 10 per cent quicker steering ratio.

More extensive personalisation opportunities

The new technical features are matched by a more extensive choice of colours, developed by the Ferrari Styling Centre. These include two-tone finishes, three-layer paint technology and modern re-interpretations of classic colour schemes which increase the exclusive personalisation possibilities even further. In addition, the Ferrari California now benefits from an inclusive 7-year standard maintenance programme.

Even though the new California debuts at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, customers can place their orders now. Production has already commenced with new cars being priced in the UK at £152,086 including VAT and delivery.

Oh, and if you like the sound of the new Handling Speciale package, you can add it on for an extra £4,320.