Ferrari has announced the world premiere of the 149M Project, sparking rumors and speculation as to what the secretive project really is. The premiere, set for February 12, sits in line before the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Kept tightly under wraps by the Italian automaker, the prevailing rumor is that of a successor to the Ferrari California. The current California has been in production since 2008, and apart from a few small changes, has yet to go through any significant redesigns.
Though not yet confirmed, the timing of the Ferrari 149M Project fits suspiciously well into the California’s product cycle. Hype for the current California has all but subsided among the Ferrari lineup, which includes fresh offerings such as the 458 Speciale and the LaFerrari.
If the 149M Project is indeed the next California, Ferrari has a great deal of technology to work with. The internet rumor mill suggests the use of forced induction in the form of the Maserati Quattroporte’s 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. If this is true, the next California could see a healthy gain in horsepower over its current naturally aspirated V8. Assuming that the Quattroporte’s V8 is slightly detuned (which has traditionally been the case in shared Ferrari/Maserati engines), horsepower figures could even be higher than the current 523 horsepower rating.
Further supporting the new California rumors are the Ferrari test mules running around in less-than-sneaky camouflage. Keen enthusiasts are likely already aware of the test vehicles running around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, with the unmistakable California body and turbo sound, having been seen all the way back since 2012.
The M in 149M, as some have noted, suggests that the upcoming project announcement is modification of an existing platform, rather than a new model in the lineup. Much like the 550 was replaced by the 575M, the 149M project could very well be a “modified” California.
Outside of engine options, not much else is known about the possible California successor. Some suggest the styling will be tweaked to resemble the F12 Berlinetta, and that the interior will feature an improved entertainment system.
The Ferrari 149M Project is set for its world premiere on February 12. Whatever the announcement is – and all evidence leads to the next California – will likely be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in March.