Much like the early-life milestone, the thirty in the California 30 represents a slight transformation of values, which, when combined with the new Handling Speciale option, addresses accusations from purists that it is too suited for cruising the boulevard instead of weaving through tight S-bends. With 70 percent of California buyers new to the brand, Ferrari sees an opportunity to market the model towards loyalists through a lighter, more powerful and more stiffly sprung iteration.
The 30 goes for all new Californias, representing a gain of 30 horsepower and 14 foot-pounds of torque, and a loss of 30 kilograms, which amounts to 66 pounds for us Americans. The 4.3-liter V-8 now produces a maximum of 483 horsepower because of new exhaust manifolds and engine mapping, and the loss of weight is due to new aluminum fabrication techniques. In all, Ferrari says the changes enable the California to take 0.1 of a second less to reach 62 m.p.h. But the car really comes to life with the optional Handling Speciale package. It features faster-responding magnetorheological dampers, (normally a standalone option), stiffer springs and a lower steering ratio for quicker responses.
With all these performance enhancements on board, it may come as a surprise that the smooth operation of a manual transmission is no longer available. With just two-yes, two-of the 8,000 or so California buyers opting for the manual transmission, it’s easy to see why it has been deemed obsolete. Still, we can’t help but wonder if the model’s new sporty enhancements wouldn’t drive a few connoisseurs or rarity-minded investors to the H-gate.
Engine: 4.3-liter V-8
0 – 60: 3.8 seconds
Top Speed: 194 mph
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Torque: 372 foot-pounds
Pro: Addresses the one chink in the armor
Con: The Ferrari manual transmission has officially been retired