2008 Ferrari California

When Ferrari decided to create a new drop-top grand touring car, they revived the California moniker from fast convertibles of years past and introduced a Ferrari first: a retractable hardtop that allows for high-speed cruising, rain or shine. Another innovation for Ferrari is the engine, which debuts a direct-injection system that allows for higher compression, meaning more power and better fuel economy. It’s essentially the same V8 that’s found in the F430 coupe, but the California puts it up front, behind the axle for superior handling and packaging. The California is no slouch, because with 454 horsepower on tap it can hit 62 mph in less than four seconds. Enhancing the experience is the first example of Ferrari’s new dual-clutch 7-speed transaxle, which knocks out shifts in a matter of microseconds. It’s all designed for one purpose—to cross beautiful wide open spaces at a rapid clip, comfortable in a luxuriously hand-crafted interior sporting the finest leather, with a retractable roof to allow you to enjoy the sunshine and the throaty burble of the exhaust. Of course, since it’s still a Ferrari you can zip from apex to apex while exploring the 8,000 RPM rev limit, all the while knowing that the carbon ceramic brakes can haul the California down from speed in an instant.

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