GT’s Italian flair
It’s a family car we can only dream about, writes Paul Gover
YOU should be reading about a Hyundai i20 today. The South Korean baby boomer is up next for a carsGuide test but, when it fails to front, we have to switch to Plan B. In this case, B is more like Z, since that’s about the distance from a $14,990 price fighter to a $318,500 Maserati GranTurismo.
But GT time is fine while we wait for the i20, and it’s good to sample a little of what’s happening at the top end of the car business. There are lots of new supercoupes and the choice in fourseater grand tourers has exploded with the arrival of the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.
The latest Maserati is a tweak on a familiar shape and recipe, combining the latest 4.7-litre Ferrari-built V8 with the MC supershift gearbox — essentially the robotised manual previously fitted to the Ferrari F599.
The Maserati GT is one of the best-looking cars on the road today and, even if it only has two doors, there is space in the cabin for four real adults and you can get golf clubs in the boot.
The cabin is also wrapped in the finest Italian leather, it has satnav and Bluetooth, plus giant wheels to make an impact.
But the Italian GT is about driving, which is why there is 323kW and 429Nm on tap, with driver-adjustable fully independent suspension, giant disc brakes and a six-speed gearbox that promises full auto ease with full manual control on demand.
The GranTurismo is surprisingly big and fairly hefty too, at nearly 1900kg, but that’s par for this course.
And remember that, since Ferrari and Maserati sit under the same ownership, the GT is planned to sit alongside and below the sportscar brand with a little more comfort and family focus. Not that the Maserati is the sort of car for long-distance family trips.
Next week, definitely, will be i20 time. And, seriously, I cannot wait.
THE Maserati is a hoot. And relatively family-friendly at the same time.
It’s never going to match a Kia Carnival for space with lots of kids, but it’s a supercoupe you can actually use.
We’ve tried the GranTurismo coupe in the past, but this is the first time with the 4.7 V8 and supershift, which is a robotised manual change. So computers and gizmos can make it a full auto or you can take manual control.
The Maserati also comes with driver adjustable settings for the suspension, gearbox and even the exhaust note. The car always gives a raspy rev on start-up, but it gets seriously loud at full throttle — unless you touch the Sport button for loud all the time. It’s not a nasty loud but the sort of melodious V8 rumble people love.
The performance of the GT is solid and on tap all the time. The V8 is tuned for bottom-end thrust and it delivers at all speeds, especially for overtaking.
The brakes are great and the suspension is surprisingly compliant. It’s firm but not thumpy. The steering is heavy in Sport mode but fine on the basic setting.
But . . . and here we go.