8 March 2004

Maserati has answered its Coupé critics with a hard-core performance version. The GranSport, unveiled this week at the Geneva show, will go on sale in summer with UK right-hookers due in September.

Designed as the most thoroughbred trident-badged car on sale, the GranSport draws on heritage stretching back to the 1950s with the Carozzeria Frua-designed A6.

Externally, the front air dam is deepened, the grille chromed and chunky wire meshing applied liberally to air scoops front and rear. Heavily sculpted sills stretch the side of the car, while an understated spoiler and 19in Trofeo championship-inspired alloys add further differences. There are six paint finishes, including Fuji White, shown here. Inside are sports seats and a rich mix of leather, carbonfibre, alloy and an innovative double-layered fabric.

Matching the beefy looks are a series of engineering changes. Maserati has uprated the 4.2-litre V8’s power output to 395bhp – 10bhp over the standard car – which, combined with a taller top gear, pushes maximum speed beyond 180mph. The 0-60mph sprint remains at 4.9sec.

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Suspension has been lowered by 10mm and tuned for more agile responses. A Sport mode tightens body control with the optional Skyhook damping and makes the Cambiocorsa paddle-shift gearbox swap cogs 35 per cent quicker, says Maserati.

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