Ferrari’s modern entry-level car, if there is such a thing, is the California. This is an entirely new concept for the Italian manufacturer, and is the first front-engined V8 in the entire history of the company. A 2+2 with a metal retractable hard top, it was allegedly originally intended to be badged as a Maserati.
Behind the front seats, buyers can choose either a bench with luggage straps, or a ‘2+’ seat configuration, with ISOFIX and seatbelts. Behind this is a roomy boot, offering up to 340 litres of storage space. All this, combined with the car’s superb road manners, mean it marks a new era for Ferrari, broadening its appeal a lot. Ferrari is winning over new fans with this car who previously wouldn’t have considered the Italian brand.
Those who may have been looking at a Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG or an Aston Martin DB9 Volante now suddenly find this is on their list of potential cars too - and it is a tantalising proposition that is winning friends. Don’t think it has gone soft, though. The wailing 460bhp engine can still hit 60mph in under 4 seconds, and it goes on to a maximum of 192mph… it’s every inch the genuine high performance Ferrari, with sublime handling that ensure it’s a true thoroughbred to drive. The brand knows from the past how not quite doing a complete job can dent reputations - and has made no such mistakes here.
New California List is from £145,000. A bargain when compared with the £182,500 ‘base price of an automatic Aston Martin DBS Volante! There are few Californias actually on the market for sale. A random look online found less than 10 real cars for sale across the UK. These ranged from a 15,000 mile good spec 2009 at £145,000 to a pre registered brand new car for £167,000. With the scarcity of samples I cannot offer graphs of data because there is little. As the market matures there will be more hard core data to analyse. If you wish to contact me directly to find out about value of a specific Ferrari California please do by emailing me at email@example.com.
Although completely different in character a used Ferrari 599 can be bought for less than a Ferrari California and to the unitiated this would look very tempting until you factor in the folding metal convertible roof, the token rear seats and the 7 speed DSG transmission.
The California is a new Ferrari that retained its super-premium market status for only five minutes before being eclipsed by the announcement of the 458 Italia. It is too early to get a precise feel on longer-term values though, as it is still finding its feet in the marketplace.
It is not worth over list now, but not easily found and will be in demand for the summer. Now, at last, Ferrari has dropped the F1 transmission in favour of the superb seven-speed dual clutch DSG box. This is much more in keeping with the experience those attracted to the California will expect. I’m keeping my eye on the California over the next few months, as it will be interesting to see what effect so few in the marketplace will have on prices.
The California has settled into the wider niche that it shares with the Aston Martin DBS Volante and the Bentley Continental GTC Speed. The Bentley is the more practical, offering real four seat capacity, while most would agree that the DBS Volante is the best looking. Yet the Ferrari adds the intangible element of the forbidden fruit appeal of the Ferrari brand.
-- The above is extracted from a 68 page luxury car market report that can be found on www.clivesutton.co.uk.