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FrontRunners: The Ferrari California

The Editors

The Ferrari California (www.ferrariusa.com) will not debut officially until October, at the Paris Motor Show, but prospective buyers can add their names now to the soon-to-be-overcrowded waiting list for the company’s first-ever convertible hardtop. The four-seat grand touring car—which will be approximately the same size and weight as a Porsche 911—will use a mid-front-mounted, direct-injected version of the F430’s 4.3-liter V-8 to develop 452 hp at 7,500 rpm. Coupled to a 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission, this engine will catapult the aluminum-bodied California from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes, a standard feature, should slow the car just as quickly, and the F1-Trac traction-control system—borrowed from the 599 GTB Fiorano—promises to keep the California from straying too far sideways. Intended as an entry-level model, the car likely will have a price that falls below the usual $200,000-plus admission into the Ferrari owners’ club. If so, California dreamin’ may never be so practical.

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