First Look: 2013 Ferrari California

    Jason Udywriter

    Although production has already began on the redesigned Ferrari California, the Italian automaker will show the front-engine V-8 powered grand touring 2+2 convertible at the Geneva Motor Show before it goes on sale. Ferrari says the new California should be faster than the current model thanks to a weight reduction, and modest bump in power.

    The Italian automaker says the redesigned Ferrari California is 66 pounds lighter than the current car. The weight reduction comes from "cutting-edge aluminum fabrication techniques and construction technologies" employed in the California's chassis. Ferrari claims that structural integrity hasn't been negatively affected from the weight reduction.

    Horsepower and torque have both increased. The outgoing model makes 454 horsepower and 357 lb-ft of torque. The new car will increase those numbers by 36 and 15, respectively. Expect the new car to bring 490 horsepower and 372 lb-ft of torque to dealer showrooms when it goes on sale. The 4.3-liter V-8's power increases come from redesigned exhaust manifolds and new software for the engine computer. Not only is peak torque up, but the curve has been modified for more power at all RPMs. Ferrari claims the power increase and weight reduction will enable the remodeled California to hit 60 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.8 seconds.

    One highlight is the new Handling Speciale package, which pairs revised magnetorheological dampers (that respond 50 percent faster thanks to recalibrated software) with stiffer springs and a quicker power steering ratio helps minimize body roll and make the car more responsive to driver inputs. Ferrari claims the Handling Speciale package gives the driver more precise control without sacrificing ride comfort.

    The Italian automaker will continue to offer the free seven-year standard maintenance program when the car goes on sale. Even though the new model is already in production, details on the Ferrari California's on-sale dates haven't been released. So far, Ferrari has only said that Europe will receive the first deliveries, but we're hoping the North American market isn't far behind.