The California takes several styling cues from the original car, wing-mounted vents with vertical slats among them. Like the 250GT, the California has haunched rear wheel arches, but its rear deck is higher than that of the ’60s car. So details like this attempt to reduce the visual bulk around the rear.
Likewise, the California’s single, wide bonnet vent is a 250GT-inspired detail. Other modern front-engined Ferraris don’t get one like this, but it is functional too.
Inevitably, as folding hard-tops become more commonplace they get more sophisticated. The California’s is one of the slickest, consisting of two rather than three key roof sections, which makes it more compact to stow than a three-piece roof.
The same system is used on the BMW Z4. During opening, the rear screen lifts and swings gently onto the roof panel, before the pair move together under the open bootlid. The California needs to be stationary for the roof to operate, but it does so with some precision, albeit with a little boot shimmy as it rises.
Unusually, the exhausts are positioned vertically, which could add rather than detract from the impression of too much rear height. That’s why they’re right at the edges to enhance low-edge bulk.
Because the top-mounted tail-lights lift with the boot and become invisible from the rear, they can’t be allowed to do all the light functions. The lower cluster is relatively neatly disguised.
Nineteen-inch wheels are standard, but you can opt for nicer looking wheels that give a better view of the carbon-ceramic brakes. Optional caliper finishes include aluminium, red or yellow at a cost.
In 2012 the California received an upgrade which cut 30kg off the kerb weight and boosted the engine's output from 453bhp to 482bhp. Torque also increased, from 358lb ft to 372lb ft. Combined, these reduced the Ferrari's 0-62mph from 3.9sec to 3.8sec.
A 'Handling Speciale Package', which added stiffer springs, faster steering and 'Magneride' magnetorheological dampers, also became available in 2012.