Ferrari California in its Natural Habitat

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Ferrari's convertible cruiser takes the scenic route to Laguna Seca.

Ferrari clearly had a certain market in mind when it made the California. (Hint: it's right there in the name.) Now Motor Trend's affable editor-at-large Angus MacKenzie has taken it for a little drive in the Golden State. In this latest video clip, Angus starts out on California State Route 33 by Ventura City and ends up at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, driving the twisty switchbacks of the Los Padres National Forest along the way. Not a bad route to sample any car, really, particularly one named for the setting.

The lighter, refreshed California is powered by a 4.3-liter V8 that now delivers 483 horsepower (thanks to new exhaust manifolds and an ECU tweak), enabling it to run from 0-60 in a very Ferrari-like 3.7 seconds. The most "accessible" model in the company's catalog is also its first front-engined V8 model.

Arguably "softer" than other Ferraris, the hard-top cabriolet may be the boulevard cruiser of the Prancing Horse stable, but its howling exhaust note has a thing or two to say about that dubious epitaph. Along the drive, MacKenzie has a thing or two to say as well, critiquing the Ferrari's handling capabilities, serving up a brief history lesson of the original 1957 California and reflecting on where James Dean was killed while driving his Porsche 550 Spyder.

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