Rumour has been rife for a while about a new Ferrari model. Overnight the exotic car purveyor took the wraps off its new California model, powered by an all-new V8 engine. The trump card for many will be its folding metal hard-top.

Update: When we first put this photo gallery up, we grumbled and grizzled that the men and women from Maranello didn't supply pics of the California with its top up. Well, they've put us out of our misery. Click through to the latest photos of the California in baby blue hue.

Coupe and convertible
Due to be unleashed on the public at this October's Paris Motor Show, and with sales to commence down under in mid-2009, the California is Ferrari's first model to feature a folding metal hard-top. The weight of the folding hard-top mechanism is likely to chew up most of the savings from California's aluminium body.

Prancing horsepower
The California will also mark a number of other debuts for Ferrari. There's an all-new 4.3-litre V8 with 343kW (460bhp) of power, which is actually down from the 365kW on offer on the F430's V8 of the same capacity. Paired with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission — the first such transmission for the Italian marque — the California can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in four seconds flat. Ferrari claims CO2 emissions of around 310g/km.

What's it like on the inside?
Well it's hard to tell. These first pictures are part of Ferrari's drawn-out drip feed of information prior to the Paris Motor Show in October. The House of the Prancing Horse does promise a raft of new in-car gear, including seats, steering and infotainment system. We might give the infotainment system a skip though if it's locked onto the Fox News Channel.

Dropping it California style
Like all coupe-convertibles — except Mazda's MX-5 — the California's metal roof folds up origami style and is stored above the luggage in the boot. Naturally, luggage capacity in the trunk drops from 360 litres to 260 litres when you're travelling alfresco. No word yet on how long the California takes to transform from hard-top to open-air cruiser.

Baby blue
The distinctive and, we think, rather fetching hue of baby blue on this California is called "Azzurro California" and is the same colour worn by the original Ferrari California at its appearance at the 1960 New York Auto Show.

More baby blues
Ferrari categorises the California as a "2+" seater — as in, 2 plus babies or 2 plus shopping. Anyone over the age of three or four will have trouble fitting in the California's back seats. Just look at how far forward the front seats have been pushed to make the rear pews a viable seating proposition.

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