2011 Ferrari California

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$192,000 - $192,000

2011 Ferrari California Review

Note: This review was created when the 2011 Ferrari California was new.

Reviewers are impressed that the 2011 Ferrari California handles just as well at the track as it does on long cruises.

Pros & Cons

  • Retractable hardtop
  • Sporty  but comfortable driving dynamics
  • Good cargo space for an exotic sports car
  • Impressive automatic dual-clutch transmission
  • Unattractive rear-end styling
  • Chrysler-sourced navigation system
  • Back seat (if equipped) is too small for use
  • Some rivals offer better performance

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Ferrari California has a score of 8.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 21 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 8.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.

2011 Ferrari California Overview

The 2011 Ferrari California is unique among other exotic sports cars. Compared to other convertibles, the California’s retractable hardtop makes it more practical and comfortable year-round. Granted, this Ferrari does have rivals with more power and better handling, but reviewers like the California’s combination of performance and comfort. “Ferrari bills it as a grand tourer - with driver-friendly features like Bluetooth, iPod compatibility, a backup camera and a navigation system,” writes Cars.com. “Still, a 4.3-liter V-8 and Formula One-derived stability system suggest that, should they wish, California drivers could still fling their cars around racetracks.”

Its V8 is paired to either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission, and Ferrari says that the California will go from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Reviewers love the performance, and say that the California is also comfortable enough for daily use, thanks to its excellent suspension.

While the California gets the performance nod from the automotive press, it’s not without fault. On the outside, not all reviewers are in love with the look of the California’s rear end. This Ferrari had to be designed to house its retractable hardtop, and test drivers say that to gain that functionality, the California had to trade off some of its otherwise good looks.

Inside, the interior is beautifully crafted, and reviewers say that the front seats are comfortable and supportive. Most dislike the navigation system, which is sourced from Chrysler, saying that it looks out of place in a car in this price range. Another minor concern is behind the front seats. The California can be equipped with either a storage shelf or two small rear seats, but reviewers say that it makes more sense to go with the former since no one will be able to sit in the California’s rear row.

This isn’t unusual for exotic sports cars that have a back seat, and despite this deficit the California offers decent cargo space for the class and a folding back seat or pass-through to increase cargo capacity.

Other Cars to Consider

Car shoppers looking for a more powerful exotic sports car might consider the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo. The Gallardo lacks the California’s retractable hardtop and decent cargo capacity, but offers a V10 powerplant with rocket-like performance. However, the Gallardo is also more expensive. Expect to pay roughly $220,000, which is about $28,000 more than the Ferrari’s $192,000 base price.

If both the California and Gallardo are out of your price range, but you like the looks and features of the Lamborghini, the Audi R8 may fit the bill. It’s not as powerful as the California, but base V8-powered models start at about $114,000, which is also significantly less expensive. For $149,000 the V10-powered R8 still undercuts the Ferrari’s price, and it’s more powerful to boot.

Ferrari California: The Details 

The Ferrari California sees no changes for 2011. Starting at $192,000, the California comes with a 4.3-liter V8 and either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Standard features include a retractable hardtop, navigation, Bluetooth, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors and a backup camera.

  • "Providing a place to hold a beverage is just too banal for Ferrari to worry about, but in all other respects, the California offers everyday ease, extravagant luxury, and stellar performance. Just what we’re looking for in the perfect trophy car." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Fast, comfortable and dramatic, the 2010 Ferrari California is the most well-rounded grand touring convertible in the company's storied history. It's certainly not the prettiest, though." -- Edmunds  

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