Working out how to make a large cabriolet like the Maserati GranCabrio both ride and handle is one of an automotive engineer’s tougher jobs. Make the chassis rigid enough for the car to feel like the coupé on which it is based and you’ve probably made it so heavy that there’s precisely no chance of that happening. Go for retention of lightness and the chassis is so flexible that the situation is even worse.
It’s always a compromise and the chances are that a manufacturer goes for softness, both to suit the characteristics of a convertible and to attempt to mask the lack of precision offered by a flexible bodyshell.
Having to remove such a vast area of roof and leave four full seats open to the elements has done Maserati no favours, given that it is ostensibly a performance brand. The same weight that afflicts the GranCabrio’s performance also blunts its potential as a driver’s car.
Nevertheless, Maserati has fitted springs and dampers on the base car that, around town, suggest to the driver that the GranCabrio means business. There’s a firmness to the car’s demeanour that tells you it is not as soft underneath as it is on top – especially if the two-stage adjustable dampers are placed in Sport mode, where the baseline is firmer still. It’s not actually uncomfortable, but it comes close to being so at times.
However, when you ask a lot of the Maserati’s chassis, such as on challenging roads, you do need to accept some discomfort and keep Sport engaged to ensure sufficient control of the car’s body movements.