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by Adam Lynton
A sharper, better looking California is just around the corner.
When the California was introduced in 2008, its mission was to increases overall sales volumes and attract new buyers to the brand. With more than 8000 units sold, 70 percent of which went to first-time Ferrari owners, the entry-level GT delivered on both fronts. Where it failed was in being accepted by Ferrari devotees who never quite took to the California due to its heavy curb weight, soft handling, and insufficiently sexy design compromised by having to house a hardtop beneath the trunklid.
A mid-cycle refresh attempted to rectify some of these issues, with weight coming off thanks to extensive use of aluminum, a boost in power also helped, while the car was further improved by a new Handling Speciale package that reduces transient response and body roll. Clearly these changes have been deemed insufficient, and an all-new California (a name change can't be ruled out at this stage) could be with us shortly. Test mules for the car were recently spied at the Maranello Circuit emitting the distinct whistle of a turbocharged V8. Last week we also learned Maserati is getting fresh Ferrari-sourced powerplants, including a new V8 for the next Quattroporte.
This is the same engine that will power the next Ferrari California. Flavio Manzoni, currently heading the design of the Enzo successor, will lead the design of the next California with Ferrari Centro Stile in Maranello and Pininfarina. As with the Enzo replacement and F12berlinetta, Ferrari are looking back in regards to its future design direction, and according to Car and Driver, the iconic 1960's Ferrari 250GTO will be the inspiration for the new car. The next California will also benefit from KERS technology, helping output jump from over 500 to more than 600hp when needed.
Although additional hybrid components will make it hard for the California to shed considerable weight, 0-60mph should be below 3.5 seconds and top speed hit 200mph while it will be far more fuel efficient and produce less emissions. A public debut of the car could take place as early as summer of next year.