Cal­i­for­nia gleam­ing

The fold­ing-roof Fer­rari is an un­likely com­muter but the smile comes stan­dard

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - STU­ART MARTIN

user-friendly. The Cal­i­for­nia marks six decades of progress. It’s not the fastest, flashiest or filth­i­est Fer­rari of re­cent times but it’s the ‘‘ nicest’’.

That’s why this story is about spend­ing time be­hind the wheel.

Granted, it has a V8 (front mid-mounted be­hind the line of the front wheels) and it sings when prompted. Yes, it has a pad­dleshift gear­box (the first Fer­rari to have one) so the shifts are smooth and sharp. It’s a drop­top GT with (an­other first for Fer­rari) a fold­ing me­tal roof. Not that the weather (this was dur­ing the record-break­ing rain in Syd­ney) let up enough for us to time its claimed 14-sec­ond op­er­a­tion.

But we’re not headed for wind­ing, sweep­ing rib­bons of tar­mac away from the pry­ing eyes of the Fun Po­lice. Yet we know it goes, stops and han­dles, looks de­cent to most and has done am­ple to fat­ten Fer­rari’s sales. But how does it go where most of us live?

Idling gen­tly from the garage be­neath the Fer­rari show­room in in­ner Syd­ney, the city’s bro­ken roads are felt but only dis­tantly as the 2+2 (the rear seats are mainly for show) is taken through the in­ner-city rab­bit war­ren.

Re­cent amuse­ments in 458 mod­els sug­gest a sim­i­lar route in the two-seater would be more dis­turbed and more con­cern­ing when it came to pre­serv­ing the snout’s split­ter, but the fold­ing hard-topped Cal­i­for­nia has few of those is­sues.

It has real in­di­ca­tor stalks, too, which are a bonus when try­ing to change routes at the di­rec­tion of the sat­nav. The V8 means slot­ting it into traf­fic is easy if a gap ap­pears.

What would be cause for con­cern is the width, as Syd­ney’s traf­fic lanes feel skin­nier in a nor­mal car, let alone some­thing 1902mm wide.

But pre­cious lit­tle in the way of tantrums, tram-lin­ing or triv­ial is­sues ma­ligned the met­ro­pol­i­tan drive. The USB cable would charge my iphone but failed to have the mu­sic player recog­nised on the car’s in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem (that could have been a re­volt against AC/ DC on the sound sys­tem). Rear vi­sion thanks to the high rump and nar­row win­dow isn’t great; nei­ther is the twin-clutch au­to­mated man­ual at park­ing speeds on a slope.

Get it a lit­tle way out of town and, while not as nim­ble as the new Spi­der sta­ble­mate, the Cal­i­for­nia is no slouch. Even in the wet it can hus­tle, within rea­son, but it never feels as if it’s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.