Having committed to spending a fortune on dinner at the Burj Al Arab, I thought I’d probably done enough to impress my wife for our special evening out, but then I had a cunning idea. “Amit, is the California still in the wheels garage?” It was, but not for long! Apparently, the garage doors had been left open all week because my first task after picking up the car in the early evening was to wash it myself.
I mean, you can’t turn up at the Burj in a filthy Ferrari now, can you? Of course I could have paid to have it washed, but then my neighbours wouldn’t have seen it on my drive. En route to dinner, as I reclined in sumptuous leather and was seduced by the burble and howl of that glorious 4.3-litre V8, the prospect of my wife’s hair-do being given a ‘distressed look’ by the turbulence in the cockpit was, I admit, low on my radar.
Whoops! Naturally she felt otherwise, and guys, we all know what that means; so the roof had to go back up until we reached low-level cruising speeds. With the roof finally down, we wafted across the bridge to the Burj on a glorious winter’s evening and it was hard not to be completely taken in by the California’s glamour.
Yes, it turns heads, and yes, I was paranoid about having the wheels dinged by the parking attendant, but in fact, I needn’t have worried because they carefully parked it right in front of the hotel, just to show it off. Their choice, and I don’t blame them, because if there’s a better way to arrive to the Burj Al Arab than in a Ferrari California with the roof down and a beautiful woman by your side, I just don’t want to know.
Our 2012 long-term Cali is the result of a mid-life update. It now tips the scales at about 1,700kg — it’s shed 30kg, while retaining the torsional rigidity of the original — and although not exactly a featherweight, it is lighter than rivals Merc SL and Bentley Continental GTC V8.
Highs: Can be your daily driver
Lows: Small boot
Even a brief run to the supermarket is a treat in the baby Fezza. It’s perfectly capable of negotiating the most treacherous speed humps and the tightest car parks. It really is a car in which you can whizz to the shops and back without breaking into a nervous sweat. It’s even better if you find a tunnel along the way.
Highs: Looks and sounds fantastic
Lows: The back seats are tiny
You can effortlessly pootle around town as the smooth-shifting seven-speed doubleclutch auto goes about its business serenely — it’s not as grumpy at low speeds as the single-clutch auto it replaces. You can drive it for hours without
fatiguing your spine and it sounds just glorious.
Highs: Notably faster than before, but still comfy
Lows: Stylistically, not as striking as its siblings