Power and the pas­sion

The new Maserati ticks all the boxes— and how, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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