The 'standard' Maserati GranCabrio might have 444bhp and the capability of hitting 60mph in 5.1sec but the GranCabrio can feel significantly less rapid.
There are two reasons for this: that weight and a distinct lack of torque. At its peak (at 4750rpm) the GranCabrio’s 4.7-litre V8 produces 376lb ft, but at 2500rpm it has less than 300lb ft. So although it is quick, it is no match for a Mercedes-AMG SL 63 or a Jaguar XKR convertible. Whereas the Maserati needs 4.5sec to go from 30mph to 70mph, the Mercedes takes just 3.8.
The Sport model brings several key improvements, which include 15 percent stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars, a 10bhp power increase for the 4.7-litre V8 and a brand new electronic damping system. Together, they transform the GranCabrio into a car that, on the right road, is considerably more fun, both in performance and aural thrills.
However, the Maserati always requires considerable effort to achieve anything resembling rapid performance. So if you’re leaving the gearbox to shift for itself, you’ll have to make more use of the throttle pedal and set the six-speed auto gearbox to work in a more frenzied way.
That, though, is no great hardship – and nor is it if you choose to flip the gearbox into manual mode to control it via either the gear selector or paddles. It will hold high gears on full acceleration (although it won’t run against the limiter) and reveals that none of this engine’s charisma or charm has been lost. In fact, the absence of a roof makes it all the easier to hear it. In Sport mode – with the exhaust flaps open – the V8’s voice is quite magnificent, on or off the throttle. Some might find it slightly anti-social, though.