Ferrari the Environmentalists

The first model released since Ferrari began talking about fuel efficiency has aerodynamics working in its favor, but not much else

Ferrari California (2009)

Ferrari hasn’t yet pulled the $50-a-yard, Swiss voile cotton sheet back on its latest model, the California. But the company did release its initial media package on the car earlier today. It revealed a sleek grand tourer sporting the first front-mounted V8 in the company’s history. The California is also the first all-new model to arrive since the iconic brand started hinting at a new focus on fuel efficiency. Say what?

Don’t get any crazy ideas about Ferrari diesels (though a hybrid is on the drawing board). The overarching idea is to keep the Ferrari sports-car mystique by holding weight down. Ferrari hasn’t released any figures on the California’s bulk, but it follows on the company’s relationship with aluminum producer Alcoa, which recently built a massive new shop in Modena, Italy just to meet Ferrari’s demand for lightweight spaceframe chassis. (The California’s chassis and bodywork are aluminum.) The California also gets a 4.3-liter V8 with direct fuel injection producing 460 horsepower and a torque curve that provides more twist at lower revs. Pairing the engine with a new 7-speed dual-clutch manumatic transmission, the company says, will reduce fuel consumption and emissions (c.310 g/km CO2).

Ferrari hasn’t released pricing info yet, but they will say this: it’s not an entry-level model.