The Maserati Granturismo has underlying brilliance, marred by frustrating niggles. But it’s the first Maser for an age that you don’t need excuses to buy.
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What is it?
Maserati’s new distance-mashing grand tourer; a four-seat 400bhp coupé, based on the Quattroporte platform.
What’s it like?
Beauty. Passion. Soul. These are just three of the millions of clichés trotted out every time someone drives an even vaguely sporty Italian car. An appalling driving position, iffy build quality and patchy reliability are the flipside of the Italian automotive stereotype.
The question is, does the new Maserati GT conform to these hackneyed phrases, or does it keep the good and dispense with the bad?
It’s certainly beautiful. Heart-stoppingly, pant-wettingly gorgeous, from the 250F-inspired grille to the sexy, sinuous flow of bodywork-over-wheelarch. If only the front and rear lights were less angular, there would be no-one in the Autocar office who could find a single criticism of its looks.
So that’s looks licked, and probably passion too. Soul is ticked off the first time you open the V8 up along a stretch of open A-road. Its pace doesn’t blow you away – the 1880kg Maser is a heavy beast and not blessed with endless reserves of torque – but it’s fast enough and the yowl it emits as you close in on the 7000rpm red line is literally spine tingling.
Unfortunately, the stereotyping continues to be accurate when you get to the driving position which, unless you are of entirely average height and shape, forces you into an unnaturally reclined angle. It’s also got oddly hard seats for something that purports to be a grand tourer.
However, ride and refinement is thoroughly befitting of Maserati's touring brief, even on UK roads. It doesn't have the suppleness of an XKR, but it's never harsh and always feels planted.
Patchy reliability we cannot comment upon, but the Granturismo certainly has build quality sorted – this feels as well put together as a near-£80k car should.
Should I buy one?
Depends what you want. Problem is, this car suffers from a bit of an identity problem. It looks and rides like a genteel-but-rapid grand tourer, and yet it holds on to gears too long for a cruiser. Its super-darty steering is good for turn-in, but this translates into nervousness at high motorway speeds.
The engine is magnificent, however, and it looks utterly sensational. If those are the things that really count for you, then the Granturismo is a winner. In the end, an Italian acquaintance summed up the Maserati for me. “It’s not a car, it’s art,” he told me.
And that’s the point. It might not go around corners as well as a Porsche 911, but it would surely outhandle the Mona Lisa down your favourite B-road.