On The Road

Ferrari California

The car that says money: The Ferrari California appeals to the mega-rich of our carbon conscious 21st century ... people so wealthy that when the oil runs out they will be able to insulate their penthouses with spare banknotes

Warning: use of the word "zeitgeist" approaching. For the first time in years, perhaps decades, it is the Italians not the Germans, Japanese or French who have captured the automotive zeitgeist. First, Fiat did it with the 500 and now here comes the staggering Ferrari California, unveiled last week.



Let's take the Fiat first. This is the car as celebrity – the defining word of our age. It is a nostalgic, sentimental throwback, like going to a roller disco or listening to Gilbert O'Sullivan. We chuckle when we see one, and they make owners feel better about CO2 emissions (kind of carbon feel-good offsetting). Ownership of a 500 says, I am cool but I don't take myself too seriously, and I need you to like me. Please.

The California reaches out to the remote polar opposite of the 21st century's economic demographic: people so rich that when the fuel runs out, they will be able to insulate their penthouses and fuel their yachts with spare banknotes. They are a new breed of obscenely mega-rich (your Russians, your hedge funders, Chris Evans), who are apparently immune to the vagaries of global economics, and very, very demanding when it comes to their cars. So the California is the first four-seater convertible Ferrari since the Mondial, and the first Ferrari to have a folding hard top and, thus, the first to go head to head with the Peugeot 307cc.

Purists are up in arms, their default setting. A folding hard top adds weight, blunts performance and compromises handling, or at least it is supposed to. But the people at Ferrari haven't made a duff car since the 348. From the 355 onwards, each model has trumped the previous one in terms of technological prowess, performance and handling. And, dare we say, the California looks good with the hood up.

It is unlikely to trouble a Porsche Turbo on a track. However, buyers will be less concerned about razor-sharp performance than they will be about looking cool – out goes the head-banging, race-bred paddle shift, in comes a smoother, Audi TT-style dual clutch system. And, judging by the bustle-style rump, these owners are expected to play golf. Probably on their own courses.

So, what will a California say about its owner? The only thing that's going to matter in the long run: money.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map