Make mine a dou­ble

When you’re on a good thing, milk it. But can you have too many ver­sions of Maserati’s GranTurismo?

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - NEIL DOWL­ING neil.dowl­ing@cars­

THE re­mark­able re­pro­duc­tion skills of Italy have borne an­other Maserati model based on its ever­green coupe.

It is split­ting hairs, or broad­en­ing its au­di­ence, with a more sports-ori­ented GranTurismo S: the MC-Shift.

In fact, the new model is the same one launched in 2008, but with more fea­tures and more mus­cu­lar per­for­mance. It will be fol­lowed later this year by the Stradale coupe.

Named af­ter its au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion, the re­freshed MC-Shift coupe will be sold along­side the more civilised ver­sion with its sixspeed, fully au­to­matic gear­box.

The MC-Shift coupe— which adds stiffer sus­pen­sion, car­bon fi­bre trim, spoil­ers, drilled disc ro­tors and sports seats over the nor­mal S— costs $345,000, or $27,000 more than the sib­ling.

Tech­ni­cally, the MC-Shift shares the S model’s 323kW/ 490Nm 4.7-litre V8 en­gine and, in­stead of the ZF auto, in­serts a six-speed elec­tro-ac­tu­ated gear­box with MC-Shift. Maserati claims a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.9 sec­onds and a top speed of 295km/h— the same as the auto.

The Stradale will cost $364,900 and cover 0-100km/h in 4.6 sec­onds up to a top speed of 301km/h.

Maserati will ex­pand the GranTurismo class— it has a 4.2, 4.7 and cabri­o­let ver­sion— with the MC-Shift from to­day and with its Stradale coupe model, beefed up to 331kW, by the end of the year.

That’s four coupes and a con­vert­ible from one model.

‘‘ Pre­vi­ously the only way to tell the two ver­sions of 4.7-litre GranTurismo S apart was the bark of the ex­haust and the ra­zor-sharp per­for­mance de­liv­ered by the MC-Shift gear­box, along with a dif­fer­ent style of al­loy wheel,’’ says Maserati Aus­tralia and New Zealand gen­eral man­ager Glen Sealey.

‘‘ We have changed that with the 2011 GranTurismo S MCShift, which now is equipped as stan­dard with the ful­lMC Sport­line equip­ment pack­age, de­rived from the Maserati Corse mo­tor sport pro­gram.’’

The GranTurismo S au­to­matic will be aimed at own­ers look­ing more for lux­ury, he says, while the MC-Shift ver­sions will have ‘‘ a sharper, more de­fined bias to per­for­mance’’.

Sports gear: The MC-Shift coupe gets the full MC Sport­line mo­tor­sport pack­age from Maserati Corse

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