The Maserati GranTurismo Sport is a world away from the affordable cars we normally test here at carwow. But everyone needs to dream, and if you are going to dream then a beautiful Italian coupe with a Ferrari engine is the logical place to start, isnt it?
Ninety thousand pounds is an awful lot of money, but when Maserati offered to lend me one it would have been churlish to refuse. Wouldnt it?
Gloriously, wonderfully, wantonly beautiful, the GranTurismo must be one of the most achingly gorgeous cars on sale today, especially in the Blu Sofisticato of our press car. But it isnt just the colour and lines of the car that make it so desirable; the black wheels play their part, as does the purposeful grille, sweeping wheel arches, and air vents in the front wing. It is utterly sublime.
Its a look that others enjoy, too. Drive a Porsche or Ferrari in the city and youd be amazed at how studiously other drivers avoid making eye contact at junctions. Not so in the Maserati. Drivers practically fall over themselves to let you out, and strangers will smile and make appreciate gestures. Raised thumbs are common; other supercars often lead to single digit gestures too, but it is usually a different finger...
The interior is just as lovely as the exterior. Cream leather seats arent usually my thing but in the GranTurismo they work rather well, helped by the complete absence of wood. Carbon fibre is used extensively; there is a broad swath of it across the dashboard for example and its used to fashion the pair of chunky flappy paddles and the gear knob too.
It looks beautiful and if it doesnt save weight or add strength it adds a silky tactility that you appreciate every time you drive it.
Its more practical than you might think, too. Head and legroom is good in the front and I carried two full-size adults in the back. While they might not have wanted to stay there for an inter-continental blast, they were happy enough back there for an hour or so.
Cars like this have one primary purpose, and thats to entertain the driver. If it cant do that it doesnt matter how many pairs of knickers are thrown at you, it has failed. Yet driving is a complex set of interactions between driver and car, many of which are clearly defined and can be engineered in.
Some, however, are more elusive, more abstract, less easily categorised. Hard to pin down they might be, but they are important as they are what separates the good from the bad; no-one claims the Lamborghini Countach was the last word in sophistication, but it had driver appeal in spades.
Which is my long-winded way of saying that while the GranTurismo might not be the most dynamically capable car in its class (its a heavy car and feels it, and the brakes could be sharper), it is one of the most desirable.
It howls like a werewolf on crack, darting from corner to corner like a champ. The MC Auto Shift gearbox works brilliantly and gives you a spine-tingling blip on the downshift without any effort on your part. The Sport Skyhook suspension anchors it to the tarmac and retains at least a bit of suspension compliance. And the engine and exhaust note are chillingly addictive, especially in Sport mode (which does various things that make it all a bit more Maserati), a setting that encourages you to use more revs than you really need, just to enjoy the noise it makes.
High-speed touring, slow speed city work, B-road schlepping; all are accomplished with either civilised disdain or raucous impatience, depending on your mood.
The engine, a 4.7-litre Ferrari-engineered V8, howls out 454bhp and 383lb/ft of torque. That sounds like a lot but the weight of the Maserati a hefty 1,880kgs blunts it just a little bit. Still, when an engine sounds this good there is no excuse for not using the gears to their fullest and winging along at full chat whenever you get the chance.
Driven like this it will hit 62mph in 4.8 seconds and go on to a top speed of 185mph. Most of us, though, will appreciate the kind of inter-stellar mid-range urge that makes overtaking a joy.
Fuel consumption? Dunno, Im afraid. Maserati claims that the GranTurismo Sport will return almost 20mpg. I bet it wont. It sounds too good when you rev it to get even close. Id guess 12-15mpg would be more like it. If that sounds poor then Id suggest the wonderful Skoda Yeti diesel might be more suitable.
Value for Money
How do you judge whether a car like this represents good value for money? Our press car cost over 90,000, which is a nice house in many parts of the UK. Depreciation will also see you lose about half of that in three years, which is a nice flat in many parts of the country. No one needs to buy a Maserati.
Yet, given the choice between 100k sitting in the bank earning nothing and having a GranTurismo sitting on my drive Id go for the car every time. The Maserati is a bewitching mix of practicality and frivolity, and I never failed to smile getting into it; an Audi R8 might be your accountants choice but then hes unlikely to be the sort of chap who would bail you out of a police cell in the middle of the night, is he?
If you think Im gushing a bit, youre right. I loved the Maserati and everything it stands for. I took it for solo mountain-road blasts and family outings and to do the weekly shop. I encountered no jealously whatsoever from other road users and crept outside to start it up sometimes, just to hear that V8 engine.
The Porsche 911 might be more competent, and the Audi R8 more durable, but few sub-100k cars will entertain and stimulate you more than the GranTurismo. It might be a left-of-field choice, but it would be an intelligent one. Go on, you dont know what youre missing
For more information, head over to our Maserati Gran-Turismo Sport page which includes reviews, stats, photos and videos.