From £97,795
Hugely appealing, but more for its aesthetic qualities than dynamic ability

Our Verdict

Maserati GranCabrio
The Maserati GranCabrio is one of the best-looking four-seat convertibles in the world

The Maserati GranCabrio is a four-seat convertible with beautiful styling and oozing charm

11 February 2010

What is it?

A drop-top version of the Maserati GranTurismo, imaginatively named the GranCabrio. While the coupe is available in three versions, mixing 4.2 and 4.7-litre V8s with either an automatic or six-speed automated manual, there is just one convertible: a 4.7-litre automatic.

This combination is hardly surprising because, like most open-top conversions, structural reinforcements mean the GranCabrio is heavier than the fixed-head, which would leave the smaller engine struggling. And a proper automatic is better suited to the GranCabrio’s softer remit.

What makes the GranCabrio interesting is that it is being billed as a proper four-seat convertible, rather than a 2+2 like Jaguar’s XK and the Porsche 911. Until the new E-class convertible arrives later this year, the only other true luxury four-seat drop-top is the vastly more expensive Bentley Continental GTC. And even then, the Maserati is longer.

What’s it like?

Probably the most important single element that convertibles need to get right is styling, which the GranCabrio absolutely nails. You can come to your own conclusions, but personally I think it looks absolutely stunning. And that’s with the roof up or down, which is no small achievement with such a large canopy. As you would expect for price, the fabric roof is fully automatic, taking 28sec to raise or lower, and can be operated on the move at slow speeds.

The forward cabin is practically identical to that of the coupe, mixing upmarket materials with an appealing design. For the most part it is a success, although there are one or two ergonomic slip-ups. Most relevant of which are the less than perfectly comfortable seats. In the rear, as with the coupe, there are two individual seats, but these have been moved inwards by 42mm and raised by 40mm to make room for the roof mechanism .

Maserati claims that there has been no movement forward. While it is true that the GranCabrio will sit four full-sized adults, those in the back won’t be grateful for prolonged journeys. There is just about enough leg room, although taller passengers need to adopt a splayed leg position, but head room with the roof raised is tight.

Refinement with the roof up is generally good, with just a little wind whistle from the rear of the roof. Top-down buffeting is minimal too, but the raised rear seats are less protected. However, it is not refinement or accommodation that limits the CranCabrio’s four-up touring credentials, but luggage space. Such is the invasion of the roof and an additional torsion wall that the boot shrinks to a pathetic 173 litres.

The fact that the GranCabrio is not hugely different from the GranTurismo to drive is testament to the work Maserati has put in to ensure that structural rigidity isn’t excessively compromised. It also has rather a lot to do with the fact that the coupe isn’t exactly a nimble sports car in the first place.

Overall balance is good, as is grip, but the GranCabrio always feels a heavy car – which, at nearly two tonnes, it is. Maserati’s adaptive Skyhook suspension is standard and does a reasonable job of providing enough compliance to ensure that big bumps don’t upset comfort, as well as adequate agility. While body flex is actually pretty minimal, the GranCabrio is not immune to shimmy and shake over shorter, sharper intrusions, but no more so than any other large convertible.

We've said previously that the GranTurismo, even with the larger 4.7-litre engine, is brisk rather than seriously rapid. It's not that 443bhp and 361lb ft aren’t enough; it's more to do with where those figures are produced – north of 4000rpm – and the weight they have to move.

And so it is with the even heavier GranCabrio. If you want to press on you really need to work the engine – which is okay if you’re in the mood, but the Maserati lacks the effortless roll-on performance of the Jaguar XKR. The compensation is that it sounds sensational, even more so in Sport mode.

Should I buy one?

If you like the way it looks – and who wouldn’t? – and have the necessary £100,000, beyond the tiny boot there is very little reason not to. Not because the GranCabrio is perfect, but because really it has so few competitors.

Astons and Bentleys are more expensive, BMWs and Mercs probably don’t hold the same appeal, and the Jag XKR has nowhere near the same interior space. It could do with being faster and lighter, but for those attracted by its sensational styling, we suspect neither will be a deal breaker.

Jamie Corstorphine

Join the debate

Comments
19

PHB

12 February 2010

Looks nice, at least much better than the Ferrari California. I drove behind a white California for a few kilometers and man this is an ugly car, they should have "designed by Botero" stickers on car. I was recently looking at the a5 cabrio, that is until I realized it's just another one of these 2-ton porky cars. What a sad world we live in, can't wait for Audi and other manufacturers start getting serious about cutting weight.

12 February 2010

This car looks stunning, 5.3 to 60 and 175mph should be enough for anybody and the room in the rear looks class leading for a convertible, the only issue for me with £96k is that pathetic boot!

Although I wish did have £96k to spend on a car.

12 February 2010

that must be the most beautiful convertible on the market today

and surely fast enough for modern motoring, too fast in fact,

12 February 2010

Good looking indeed. The issue with 96k is not only the actual money - one either has it for a car or not - its too much for me, not so much for someone else...

The issue the massive depreciation these Masers take.. this will be a 15k mile, £29k car in 36 months from today - it will lose a huge amount more money than any California, XKR, db9 etc - anything comparable...

The smart trade is to pick one up then...

The secondary issue with those is the eternal question: "Will it make the distance, won't it?" ( i ran a GT manual 02 reg when the 4.2 motor had just come out for 6 months - terrible car in all aspects but beauty...I remember like it was yesterday the HR Owen salesman (JC if you read this you were talking bull mate) claiming those cars where not like the fallible Masers of old.... - No they were in fact worse!)

12 February 2010

It's a looker and if you were seriously loaded and in need of something to tootle around Monte Carlo in... I'd have to say, it would be candidate...

13 February 2010

Who is going to drive such convertible cars at 8/10s? This is absolutely stunning. It's no sportscar, we already knew it. It's a GranTurismo, we can't compare it with cars like the 911 or similar. It seats properly four adults. It's comfy and big. Ok, it's heavy. Who cares? If you want a lighter car, buy an Atom. If only I had the money...

13 February 2010

It's flawlessly elegant, and today that's almost unheard of in car design. In fact, I can't think of another modern coupe or convertible of which you could say the same.

14 February 2010

A bit of a disappointing review from Autocar here. No mention of how soft the dashboard is, no mention of how badly it will depreciate, no mention of a diesel alternative.

2/10 Autocar, 1/10 Maserati.


  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

14 February 2010

Lovely !

15 February 2010

Aesthetics are, of course, subjective and I seem to be the lone voice here, but I think it looks fat and heavy. Which, incidentally, is probably a good description of the target audience...

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