Ferrari California HELE has brilliant acceleration and cornering.
Ferrari California HELE has brilliant acceleration and cornering.

Outstanding drive in every way

DAD jokes came faster than the colour scheme.

"Thanks for bringing the car around."

"Our ride's here."

While sitting waiting for the better half at an exclusive golf club there was no hiding.

Ferraris tend to attract attention and comment… even the convertible often regarded as the most feminine of the modern era to wear a prancing horse badge.

Yet the California is still an imposing and intoxicating machine.

While it may not have the neck-snapping abilities of a pure supercar, it's quick enough to trounce just about every other car on the road and look good in the process.


While there are four seats, it's essentially space for two. Deep leather-trimmed bucket seats hug the driver and passenger into place.

The cabin is pure sporting prowess, starting with the carbon fibre steering wheel which inspires athletic driving. It features a bright red start button along with the obligatory paddle shifters.

All materials are soft to touch and feel like the highest of quality.

Operating the basics like air con and the stereo can take some early analysis as you find your way around the various dials and buttons.

It's a surprisingly comfortable environment for those up front but fitting anyone in the back is virtually mission impossible.

Children can fit at a push and even that would require the pilot and passenger to move a reasonable distance forward.

With the lid lifted there is only minor wind intrusion and it allows a greater aural delight with the V8's wonderful soundtrack.

You do have to keep a trained eye on the speedo, positioned to the right of the gauges almost like its of secondary importance to the tachometer that is front and centre, especially if you want to keep your licence.

On the road

Nothing short of outstanding. The California HELE enables you to enjoy the best of supercar and subdued worlds.

You can potter around the suburbs without much fanfare, or unleash hell on the bitumen at the whim of your right foot. Given our stint behind the wheel was short, we preferred the latter.

Despite being a convertible, the California maintains its rigidity. There is no flex, no scuttle, and is every bit the supercar.

What do you get?

It's a Ferrari, what more do you need than the performance?

Well, you get air-con that actually works well, sat nav, cruise, a hard-top roof that folds in about 15 seconds, and an infotainment system with its 6.5-inch touch-screen display.

Other options

Maybe consider a Mercedes-Benz SL500 Convertible, $334,840, Maserati GranCabrio, $328,000 or even a Bentley Continental Supersports 2D Convertible, $531,631.

Running costs

This HELE model is actually environmentally conscious. It is armed with a stop-start function that helps drop fuel consumption and emissions.

The official consumption figure is just above 11 litres for every 100km that can be achieved with judicious use of the accelerator. Really? It's a nice thought though.

And those wincing at the price tag need not even ask about servicing or parts.


If you're single or a couple without kids, it's brimming with common sense. You can lift the lid and hammer allcomers at the lights.

Want to keep a low profile? Don't drive a California.

The $460K-plus price-tag ensures its exclusivity. It's gorgeous from every angle.


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