Maserati GranTurismo


Debut: 2007
Maker: Maserati
Predecessor: 4200GT



 Published on 2 Aug 2007
All rights reserved. 
Looking back to the evolution of Maserati's GT car, I am grateful to see it gets into better and better shape. A dozen years ago the loss-making Italian company was still making Shamal, a strange-looking and poorly built coupe from the De Tomaso era. As Fiat bought the firm and put it under the management of Ferrari, a new car called 3200GT was launched in 1998. It still employed the Shamal's twin-turbo V8, but a much better looking Giugiaro design and modern chassis started changing the fate of Maserati. Through the years build quality and reliability gradually improved to more acceptable level. A new Ferrari-developed V8 entered the scene in 2001 and changed its name to 4200GT. Then came its derivative Spyder and GranSport. By the second quarter of 2007, Maserati finally earned its first ever profit since it went under the wing of Fiat. Improved products, servicing and sales network bring more and more satisfying customers to the once notorious Italian brand. The Quattroporte is doing well on the sales chart, especially since it added an automatic transmission. Now to sustain the growth, Maserati is going to count very much on the new GranTurismo.

 Apparently, GranTursimo is the successor to 4200GT and GranSport, as it becomes the new entry-level Maserati. However, the company officials said it is a very different car. Now under the management of Alfa Romeo, Maserati is turning away from the role as "junior Ferrari". Instead, it will become more luxurious oriented, offering more comfort and refinement, higher quality and less fuss to drive. In other words, it will compete head-on with Jaguar XKR and Mercedes CL500 (all on sale at £70,000-80,000). This sounds a little sad, but I do believe it will help getting more business to the Modena factory.

Going mainstream does not mean losing its own character. The GT can still distinguish from other rivals by its Italian design. Styled by Pininfarina - possibly with the help of Frank Stephenson, it has some beautiful curves, flowing lines and perfect proportion to deliver an extremely sexy and emotional appeal. Let's call it the Marilyn Monroe of cars, albeit a Marilyn Monroe with a big mouth – the big convex grille is a classic feature copied from the 1953 Maserati A6GCS. It cleverly links the new Maserati to the past legend and contributes to higher perceived value. The GranTursimo is one of the best looking GTs in the world, unquestionably. Only Aston Martin DB9 and Bentley Continental GT can rival its beauty, yet all three have different personalities.

As expected for an Italian luxury car, the interior of GranTurismo is richly trimmed with leather. What really surprised is the build quality and the amount of space available. High quality plastic and assembly finally landed on the Italian car, as is a good satellite navigation and audio system which came from PSA. The dashboard may be a little short on style (admittedly, we have higher expectation for an Italian car in this respect), but the sense of quality and solidity matches German machines and leaves nothing to be desired. Moreover, the pronounced flanks viewed from the driver seat remind you this is something more exotic than the German cars. Rear seat accommodation is generous, enough for most adults traveling for long distance with reasonable comfort. Among its rivals, only Mercedes CL can do the same.

How can it be so accommodative ? Easy, because it is derived from the large Quattroporte saloon. Despite of the deletion of rear doors, shortening the wheelbase and overhangs, the GT still measures some 4881 mm long and 2942 mm between the axles. It is much larger than the old coupe and much closer to the saloon, no wonder it tips the scale at 1880 kilograms without driver and luggage - exactly 200 kg more than the old car or only 110 kg lighter than the automatic Quattroporte. On the plus side, the chassis is 30 percent stiffer than the saloon, let alone its not-so-stiff predecessor. The long wheelbase contributes to the aforementioned roomy interior as well as allowing the V8 engine to be positioned entirely behind the front axle. This resulted in a perfect weight distribution of 49:51 front to rear, the same as the automatic Quattroporte.

In fact, the weight distribution could have been made even more rear-biased should it adopt Maserati's Cambiocorsa transaxle, but the recent experience of Quattroporte tell us that the majority of customers prefer the smooth-shifting ZF automatic transmission than the jerky Cambiocorsa, so the GT adopted the front-mounted automatic transmission from the saloon and offers no manual transmission for choose. Keen drivers must be unhappy.

What remains unchanged from the old car is the 4244cc Ferrari V8 with intake variable valve timing. Output figures raised slightly to 405 hp / 7100 rpm and 339 lbft / 4750 rpm, but its rev-hungry character keeps intact. It used to be a magnificent engine in the old car, but in the heavier GranTurismo and mates with power-consuming torque converter, its lack of mid-range torque is even more obvious. Maserati claims it goes from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds, but my experience tell me never to have too much faith in Maserati's figures. On the road, the GT feels much slower than the supercharged Jaguar XKR. Even Mercedes CL500 has more accessible performance. In fact, it feels more like in the league of the naturally aspirated Jaguar XK, which has only 300hp on tap.

The GT performs best as a long distance tourer. Unlike GranSport, its suspensions are tuned to be relatively soft. This results in more body roll but the ride is comfortable even without ticking the optional Skyhook adaptive dampers. The strong chassis and noise insulation provides good refinement – when did you last time hear the word "refinement" associated with Maserati's coupe ? Wind noise, tire noise and suspensions noise are limited, leaving only the melodic roar from the high-revving V8 entering the cabin. The shift program of the ZF transmission is not as perfect as in Jaguar XK (for example, not as responsive and no throttle blip during downshifts), but it still shifts smoothly most of the time. The GranTurismo may surprise many people by its high level of polishing.

Enter a corner, you can feel the well balanced chassis steers keenly into the bend. The perfectly weighted steering wheel transmits abundance of information to your hands. The tires generate bags of grip. The Brembo brakes seems to lack initial bite, but press the pedal harder and it becomes instantly powerful. So far so good.

Push it above 80 percent effort, however, its obedient handling gives way to understeer and body roll. It feels softer than Jaguar XKR and even the larger Quattroporte Sport GT reported last year felt more agile under pressure. As the GranTurismo is derived from the shortened Quattroporte platform, its handling could only be better. Undoubtedly, its civilized manner is down to softer suspension tuning.

That doesn't matter. Sooner or later Maserati will introduce a sport version of the GT, just like Quattroporte Sport GT and the outgoing GranSport. With a fundamental so good, a firmer suspension will undoubtedly convert the GranTurismo into a great driver's car. I am really optimistic about that. The lack of performance can also be rectified in the near future. A 450-horsepower, 4.7-liter version of the V8 is already in the engine bay of Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, so there is no reason why it can't be used in the Maserati.

Before that happens, the Maserati is still hugely desirable for looks, cabin space, ride quality, refinement and sense of occasion. However, in pure driving terms, Jaguar XKR is the better car.
Verdict: 
 Published on 22 May 2008 All rights reserved. 
GranTurismo S


The S does not feel as powerful as BMW M6 or Mercedes CL63, but its exhaust noise is certainly more exciting...

To silence those criticizing the standard GranTurismo gone soft, Maserati has produced a hotter version called GranTurismo S. Externally, it can be barely distinguished from the regular car by a set of new alloy wheels (with more stylish design and 1 inch larger diameter), lower profile tires, more pronounced side skirts, a tiny boot lid spoiler and oval exhausts. However, these minor tweaks make a sexy design even more attractive.

What you cannot see from outside are plenty. First of all, open the bonnet and you will find a 4.7-liter version of the previous 4.2-liter V8, basically the same as that serving Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. It produces 440 horsepower at 7000 rpm, 35 ponies up from the old engine, and 361 lb-ft of torque instead of 339 lb-ft. This is achieved by enlarging the bore by 2mm and lengthening the stroke by 4.7mm. Slightly disappointing though, it has yet to receive direct injection, unlike Lamborghini’s new V10 and Ferrari California’s V8. We expect the new engine will go to the regular GranTurismo as well as Quattroporte saloon soon.

Thankfully, the new engine has not changed its character much. It remains smooth, highly responsive to throttle and very eager to rev. Don’t expect it to produce a lot more bottom end torque. In fact, its torque curve is closely matched with the old engine’s, just runs higher values from 2000 rpm to 7000-plus rpm. This allows 0-60 mph to be cut by three-tenths to 4.7 seconds and lift its top speed to 183 mph. The GranTurismo S does not feel as mind-blowing powerful as BMW M6 or Mercedes CL63 AMG, but its exhaust noise is certainly more exciting, especially when you press the Sport mode button to open its by-pass valves in exhaust silencers.



If you can see it as a "4-seat sports car", everything suddenly makes sense...

However, the biggest change to S is not the new engine but the transmission. The standard GranTurismo disappointed us somewhat by switching to a front-mounted automatic transmission. Now GranTurismo S brings back Maserati’s renowned semi-automatic transaxle. By placing the 6-speed automated manual gearbox at the other end of the car and connect it to the engine through a rigid torque tube, Maserati changed its weight distribution from the previous 49:51 to 47:53, a figure I would consider as more desirable for a rear-drive machine. No wonder the S displays better traction and quicker turn-in through corners.

The automated manual gearbox works very well in manual mode. Gearshifts are made cleanly and instantaneously (as short as 100ms) through steering wheel paddles. This let the driver feels more connected to the engine thus more satisfying to drive. In automatic mode the gearshift is reasonably refined, but sometimes jerky and never matches a real automatic transmission for smoothness. This problem probably won’t be solved until Maserati develops a dual-clutch gearbox.

The S has 10 percent stiffer suspensions to improve its body control and agility. Moreover, braking is upgraded to Brembo’s new dual-cast brake discs – each consists of an aluminum core laminated with cast iron surfaces to reduce weight and provide better heat dissipation - and 6-piston calipers. As a result, the car is more capable in bends. Although it can’t overwhelm German machines for cornering prowess or braking, its neutral and agile handling, marvelous engine and addictive noise are more than capable to make it the most entertaining 4-seater GT this side of Ferrari 612.

Being a real Maserati, this car won’t be perfect, of course. Its most obvious flaws are the transmission roughness and a harsh ride. Both are acceptable to keen drivers, but they prevent this car from becoming a great long-distance grand tourer. However, if you can see it as a "4-seat sports car", everything suddenly makes sense. Yes, let the German to make cruisers. Italian always makes the best sports cars.
Verdict:
 Published on 19 Feb 2010 All rights reserved. 
GranCabrio


Maserati's new cabriolet is flawed but lovely

I wonder why it took Maserati two and a half years to produce the cabriolet version of GranTurismo. Anyway, like waiting for a beautiful girl in your very first date, the wait is worthwhile. We are not talking about its competence. GranCabrio is not that fast compared with German and British GT cars. Its naturally-aspirated 4.7-liter V8 and automatic transmission struggles to crack 60 mph in 5.2 seconds while rivals can effortlessly do sub-5. Its 2-ton weight (100 kg more than GranTurismo) is always in your mind. It's not as refined as Jaguar XKR convertible, Bentley Continental GTC or Mercedes SL63 either. Although the chassis strengthening is adequate, its firm-setting Skyhook suspension struggles on poor surfaces, transmitting quite a lot of harshness and noise into the cabin. Regarding practicality, its spacious cabin is largely offset by a tiny boot measuring just 173 liters, limiting its usage as a long-distance tourer.

What makes the open-top Maserati so appealing is its character, style and sound in particular. This is easily the sexiest convertible on the planet. With the roof chopped, it looks even sleeker and sexier than the GranTurismo. Its fabric roof is stored
neatly under cover, and the upper edge of cabin is nicely decorated with chromed lining. Not even an Aston Martin DB9 Volante can match its beauty.



This is the only convertible luxurious grand tourer capable of seating 4 adults

The Ferrari-built V8 might be underpowered (or more precisely, undertorqued) to haul the heavyweight machine, but it still produces the best vocal among rivals. That sound, together with the sexy look and the Italian leather smell lifts your emotion, reminding you a great car is more than the summation of its mechanical parts. Once you are in love with it, all the aforementioned flaws become forgivable. Turn into the first corner, you will find another thing it is so different from rivals. Despite of its weight and long wheelbase, it feels really agile. Perhaps not as agile as the lighter and stiffer coupe, but it still steers more sweetly and eagerly than other grand tourer convertibles.

Character aside, the main selling point of GranCabrio is its 4-seater cabin. Its rear seats are repositioned slightly inward, forward and upward compared with the coupe in order to leave space for the roof mechanism, pop-up protection bars and underfloor reinforcement. Still, it is a true 4-seater, capable of seating four six-footers. Although rear headroom is reduced to 5 ft 8 in or so with the roof up, the 4-seat accommodation it offers is still unique in the luxurious GT class, at least until Mercedes E-class convertible arrived. However, the latter is neither a GT nor a rival to the Maserati. Its rivals like Aston DB9 Volante, Bentley Continental GTC, Jaguar XKR convertible, BMW 6-series convertible, Mercedes SL and Ferrari California are all either 2+2 or 2-seater. If you want a convertible luxurious grand tourer capable of accommodating four people, Maserati GranCabrio will be the only choice - a flawed but lovely choice.
Verdict:
 Published on 3 Mar 2011 All rights reserved. 
GranTurismo MC Stradale


No other car makers are more fond of silly names than Maserati. Take a look to its price list and you will find model names such as "Four Doors" (Quattroporte), GT (GranTurismo) and Big Cabriolet (GranCabrio). Even stranger is this one – MC Stradale. Its full name should be GranTurismo Maserati Corsa Stradale, or in English "Grand Tourer Maserati Race Street". So what is it ? A high-speed GT ? A race car ? or a street car ? These identities seem to be contradicting with each other. However, take a ride on the car and you will stop laughing. Yes, the new Maserati is all of them. Really.

Gorgeous, sexy and graceful, the MC Stradale is just as beautiful as other variants of GranTurismo. Simultaneously, the aero package from MC Trofeo race car injected a greater sense of sportiness. Ditto the effect of lower ride height (by 10 mm front and 12 mm rear), thin-spoke alloy wheels and the two vents on the bonnet.



Open the doors, you will see a race-car-inspired interior. Most surfaces are trimmed with Alcantara instead of leather, while carbon-fiber inserts are added for obvious reasons. The front bucket seats become lightweight carbon-fiber items. The rear seats are even discarded. They save 26kg and 16kg respectively. Taking the space of rear seats is now a roll cage, which on the one hand reinforces the whole structure for better handling, on the other hand serves as the attachment point of the racing harnesses. This is the racing side of its character.

Further weight saving comes from reduced sound deadening, lightweight wheels, standard ceramic brakes and the use of robotized manual gearbox instead of the standard car's ZF automatic. As a result, MC Stradale is 110 kg lighter than the standard GranTurismo.

But then you may realize that it still weighs some 1770 kg, so it is hardly a lightweight special. Moreover, the 4.7-liter V8 has received the lightest modifications – an ECU tweak, a more efficient lubrication system and application of low-friction diamond-like coating on tappets and cam lobes – so it produces only 10 more horsepower and 15 lbft more torque than the standard engine. Performance is marginally improved to 187 mph and 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Not too spectacular these days.



However, on the road the MC Stradale can feel far more exotic than those numbers suggested. Switch on the "Race" mode, the exhaust note becomes thunderous as the magnificent V8 screams towards 7500 rpm redline. It also turns the robotized gearbox into madness – each gearshift takes only 60 milliseconds, matching Ferrari Scuderia and 599 GTO, and it is accompanied with a momentary shockwave to raise your pulse. This marvelous powertrain reminds us that speed is nothing without drama. The Italian still knows how to engage drivers better than everyone else.

A similar story can be told for its handling. Look at the photos, you can see the MC Stradale rolls a touch more than most German performance machines in corners. Never mind. What counts is the agility it displays in the twisty. With a perfect weight distribution of 48 percent front and 52 percent rear, the Maserati is easily more agile than anything else this size and weight. It is better balanced, more adjustable and more transparent to the driver. It won't outhandle a Porsche 911, but that is only down to its extra size and weight. Compare with other versions of GranTurismo, the MC Stradale handles better, thanks to its lower ride height, stiffer suspensions and specially developed Pirelli P-Zeros.



However, what really surprises is how civilized the car behaves when you are not in a hurry. In Auto mode, the gearshift is smooth and the engine is just as quiet as the regular GranTurismo. Sport mode speeds up the manual gearshift and throttle response, but it leaves the exhaust bypass valve closed until you hit 4000 rpm, so the level of refinement goes in sync with your driving mood. The V8 is always smooth and tractable, with at least 80 percent of its max torque available from 2500 rpm upward. The ride is also surprisingly supple, actually as good as the regular GranTurismo, although there is more road noise generated from the P-Zeros. MC Stradale did not opt for the Skyhook adaptive dampers but a set of stiffer passive dampers for their more consistent response. Its springs are 8 percent stiffer than those on GranTurismo S, while front and rear anti-roll bars are thicker. Despite these, it still rides very well on road. Thanks must go to those ceramic brake discs, which save 14 kg from unsprung weight.

No wonder it is Corsa and Stradale simultaneously.

Being a 2-seater
, the MC Stradale may be pitched against thoroughbred sports cars like Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Aston Martin V12 Vantage. To beat them in dynamics is hopeless, of course. However, if all you want is a car combining GT comfort (albeit for two), sexy appeal and occasional race car thrills, nothing would be better than the MC Stradale. It's that unique.
Verdict:
 Published on 1 Jun 2012 All rights reserved. 
GranTurismo Sport


This is yet another small update by Maserati. The GranTurismo Sport replaces the 4-year-old GranTurismo S to be the core model of its family. It slots between the entry-level 4.2-liter model and the striped-out MC Stradale. As before, its key rivals include Jaguar XKR, BMW 6-series, Mercedes CL-class and the slightly pricier Bentley Continental GT.

You can't see any radical changes in the update, but all revisions point to the right direction. The front-end styling is benefited from MC Stradale and looks sexier than ever. Inside, there are some tweaks to the trims and a pair of new front seats that not only offers more lateral support but also frees up rear knee room by 20 mm. Under the bonnet, the Ferrari-built 4.7-liter V8 is a further improvement from that of the MC. It gets not only the low-friction treatment but also revised pistons, valve timing and ECU mapping, yielding another 10 horsepower and 7 pound-foot of torque – by the way, the MC will get the same engine later this year. That is a reasonable pump of 20 hp and 22 lbft from the car it replaces. On the road, the extra punch is not very obvious until the top end of its spectrum. Instead, you will be aware of the improvement made to the ZF 6-speed automatic transmission. Its new software leads to quicker yet smooth gearchanges. Shift time is halved from 400 to 200 ms in the fastest mode. Furthermore, it has learnt how to blip throttle to match rev during downshift, so to smoothen the transition. Now the automatic is so good that you can forget the automated manual transaxle, whose hardcore manner suits MC Stradale more.

The transaxle does bring better weight distribution and sharper turn-in, but the auto is not bad either, with 51 percent of its weight acting upon the rear axle. Moreover, the Sport gets stiffer suspension setting than the S, with the Skyhook dampers set 10 percent stiffer at Sport mode and a 12 percent stiffer rear anti-roll bar. This sharpens its handling and makes the car feel smaller than it has any right to be. Meanwhile, lighter brakes cut unsprung weight and maintain a composed ride.

The update has ironed out some flaws of the old car, especially the gearbox. It makes the GranTurismo more desirable than ever. Although it is not as quick or as luxurious as rivals, the Maserati is unquestionably the most charismatic. Therefore it is our first choice of the class.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout
Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
GranTurismo
2007
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4881 / 1847 / 1353 mm
2942 mm
V8, 90-degree
4244 cc
DOHC 32 valves, VVT
-
-
405 hp / 7100 rpm
339 lbft / 4750 rpm
6-speed automatic
All double-wishbones
Adaptive damping
F: 245/40ZR19
R: 285/40ZR19
1880 kg
177 mph (c) / 175 mph*
5.0 (c) / 5.2* / 4.9** / 4.7***
12.0** / 11.7***
GranTurismo S
2008
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4881 / 1847 / 1353 mm
2942 mm
V8, 90-degree
4691 cc
DOHC 32 valves, VVT
-
-
440 hp / 7000 rpm
361 lbft / 4750 rpm
6-speed automated manual
All double-wishbones
Adaptive damping
F: 245/35ZR20
R: 285/35ZR20
1880 kg
183 mph (c)
4.7 (c)
-
GranCabrio
2010
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4881 / 1847 / 1353 mm
2942 mm
V8, 90-degree
4691 cc
DOHC 32 valves, VVT
-
-
440 hp / 7000 rpm
361 lbft / 4750 rpm
6-speed automatic
All double-wishbones
Adaptive damping
F: 245/35ZR20
R: 285/35ZR20
1980 kg
176 mph (c)
5.2 (c) / 5.1****
11.9****




Performance tested by: *Quattroruote, **C&D, ***R&T, ****Autocar





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout
Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
GranTurismo MC Stradale
2011
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4881 / 1847 / 1353 mm
2942 mm
V8, 90-degree
4691 cc
DOHC 32 valves, VVT
-
-
450 hp / 7000 rpm
376 lbft / 4750 rpm
6-speed automated manual
All double-wishbones
-
F: 245/35ZR20
R: 285/35ZR20
1770 kg
187 mph (c)
4.4 (c)
-
GranTurismo Sport
2012
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4881 / 1847 / 1353 mm
2942 mm
V8, 90-degree
4691 cc
DOHC 32 valves, VVT
-
-
460 hp / 7000 rpm
383 lbft / 4750 rpm
6-speed automatic
All double-wishbones
Adaptive damping
F: 245/35ZR20
R: 285/35ZR20
1880 kg
185 mph (c)
4.6 (c)
-



























Performance tested by: -





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