Power and the passion
The new Maserati ticks all the boxes— and how, writes NEIL McDONALD
MASERATI waited more than a year to unveil its Gran Turismo S for good reason. It wanted to put some distance between the Gran Turismo and the hotter sibling, according to Maserati Australia general manager Ed Butler.
‘‘It really was about giving each car their own space,’’ Butler says. ‘‘They are very distinct cars.’’ The Italian carmaker has labelled the S the ‘‘ultimate expression’’ of the company’s performance pedigree and the fastest production car it has built.
Maserati has taken the standard Gran Turismo and massaged it, adding a new 4.7-litre V8, electro-actuated six-speed gearbox with MC-Shift hardware, trans-axle layout, sporty exhaust and high-performance Brembo brakes that turn the S into the company’s new flagship.
Though the performance numbers are academic, the S hits 100km/h in 4.9 seconds, 0.3 of a second quicker to 100km/h than the standard car and has a maximum speed of 295km/h, 10km/h more than the Gran Turismo. The compact and lightweight V8 engine develops 323kW at 7000 revs and 490Nm at 4750 revs.
Maserati says the car’s everyday practicality has not been affected despite 25kW more power and 30Nm more torque.
Engineers have given the S a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde persona.
Around town the engine has a muted note but push the Sports button and an exhaust bypass valve unleashes a gruff rortiness from the dual exhausts.
The six-speed gearbox uses MC-Shift software borrowed from Ferrari, which harnesses the new engine’s power output and delivers lightning-quick changes.
Like the Gran Turismo, the engine and gearbox in the S are arranged in the trans-axle layout, which puts the gearbox at the back axle.
The V8 and gearbox are rigidly connected by a tubular element containing the drive shaft.
This provides an excellent 47/53 front-torear weight distribution to aid dynamics and high-speed stability.
Visually the S gets new 50cm smoked grey rims, discrete rear spoiler, side skirts, the Brembo high-performance brake system, dual oval exhausts and black headlight treatments.
The front brake discs are made with dualcast technology, a dual casting of iron and aluminium, paired with aluminium monobloc six-piston brake callipers for better stopping power and pedal feel.
At the wheel, the Maserati Gran Turismo S is more rigid and compact, thanks to the suspension layout developed specifically to support the new weight distribution.
Vehicle roll has been reduced through firmer springs, bars and dampers.
The interior gets Poltrona Frau leather and alcantara on the steering wheel and centre of the seats.
As with the Gran Turismo, the S can be ordered with a bewildering array of leather and wood trims.
And the cost of sliding sumptuous leather seat?
At $328,500 the more powerful S costs $29,700 more than the Gran Turismo.
into the S’s was impressive because of the car’s levels of refinement and poise. The Quattroporte’s sheer size and bulk was forgotten as it shrinkwrapped itself around you, delivering the type of dynamics and precision more in keeping with a race car.
Now we’ve repeated the Maserati experience— albeit in the Gran Turismo S during an ever-so-brief fling around Sandown racetrack.
The S takes the Gran Turismo and adds some spice in the engine and driving experience. Unleash the 4.7-litre V8 in Sport mode and it rewards with a raucous sharp crackle from the dual exhausts and ultra-swift performance. The Sport model firms the suspension, the transmission and throttle responses sharpen and the exhaust bypass valve opens, delivering a gruffer note.
The car we used was part of the ‘‘ultimate drive day’’ experience by the Trofeo Motorsport so a series of track exercises only confirmed what we already knew.
The Gran Turismo is not only one of the most beautifully crafted two-doors on the road, but the S also backs up the looks with some serious dynamics that are more than a match for other supercars.
We managed only a nodding acquaintance with the MC-Shift system but it is impressive in its rapier-like responses.
Though the Gran Turismo is prime cut, the S is the side order of wasabi.
Mamma mia what a car: the Maserati Gran Turismo S does not disappoint either in looks or performance.