GT’s Ital­ian flair

It’s a fam­ily car we can only dream about, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

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.

Driv­ing

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.

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