Tom Ford drove the new Ferrari California yesterday, and sent us a text about it. Today, he sent us a more slightly more 'proper' review. Via email and everything...
'So I wasn’t convinced by the press shots, and the thought of a more gentle Ferrari made me wince. But, thank the Lord, the California is a brilliant thing.
'The new 7-speed gearbox is ace, the 454bhp V8 engine is torquey, revvy and very, very loud, the handling is tight and extremely Ferrari. It might not be the fastest car in the range, or the most extreme in the ‘sporting’ stakes, but it works and puts a smile on your face just as broad as any of the others. Which is a big win, in my book.
'It’s not all shiny – I still think the rear looks a bit heavy, but it just doesn’t feel like it when you drive the car. But there are a lot of flaps and wires during operation and general heft to the back with the roof down, no question. There’s also a pretty crap swathe of plastic across the back.
'Mind you, the folding metal hard top is several kilos lighter than a traditional soft-top, is extremely quick at 15 seconds and looks great when closed. Ok, so it’s a busy-looking car in the metal – there’s a hell of a lot of designery stuff going on - but it grows on you.
'Especially in the right colour and on the right wheels.
'And it drives beautifully. Where a Merc SL is so much better in it’s latest guise, it still can’t hold a dynamic candle to the Ferrari in the feel stakes. You operate a Merc, you bond with the Ferrari. And it sounds glorious, wrapping you in a warm fog of noise. Possibly too loud for some, I’ll wager. And at £145k you’ll have to want one – you can get a hell of a lot of car for this sort of money.
'But the point is that Ferrari have succeeded in making a slightly gentler car, a more usable car, a car less likely to want to smack you in the mouth if you screw up, without diluting the Ferrari experience.
'In preference to an F430? For me, not quite yet, ta. But ask me that in a couple of years time, and I might have a different answer.
'Let me know what you think via my spot on the Cupholder blog.'