What is it?
Not only will you need to be a true extrovert to drive the sensationally loud, undeniably gorgeous new Maserati GranSport Cabrio, you’ll also need to be exceedingly wealthy, too. For when it goes on sale in ‘early autumn’ this car will cost £102,615, and as such it’ll be competing with some of the world’s most desirable convertibles.
Yet in its way the dramatically elegant, much improved Maserati is easily capable of pulling it off. Rumble along any stretch of road, anywhere in the world, and you will get noticed in this car without any problem at all. And my goodness will you be heard as well as seen.
The key improvements include various upgrades both to the styling and what lies beneath, hence there are 15 per cent stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars, a 10bhp power increase for the 4.7-litre V8 and a brand new electronic damping system. But it’s what happens when you press the button marked sport, just to the right of the steering wheel, which makes the biggest difference of all.
What’s it like?
Pretty wonderful to be honest, so long as you find the right road, the right weather and have the right attitude with which to drive it. But the key thing to realise is that despite the addition of a range of upgrades intended to make it more sporting, the GranCabrio Sport isn’t the bone rattling madman of a car you’d half expect it to be. It’s actually a much more complete machine than the regular GranCab, featuring a more mature ride, crisper feeling steering, much better body control and an exhaust note to die for – so long as you press the right button.
Do so and, at a stroke, the throttle response gets punchier, the dampers become stiffer, the steering weight deepens, the shift times within the excellent six-speed semi-automatic gearbox are cut – and the exhaust note goes completely berserk. The transformation is a bit like what happens when Clark Kent emerges from the telephone box, and the effect it has on the GranCabrio Sport’s personality is as close to total as it gets.
Despite this, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the car is its ride. Previously this was a weak area, not merely because there was a degree of shake through the huge 1890kg open top bodyshell (which is still there if you look hard enough for it) but because its suspension was simply too stiff for the dampers to be able to cope with.
Now, though, thanks to the addition of a brand new version of Maserati’s Skyhook electronic damping system, the ride has been transformed. So much so that even on quite rough roads and with sport mode engaged, the GranCabrio Sport glides along with impressive refinement. And in normal mode, which to be honest is what you end up using most of the time once the novelty of deafening yourself has worn off, this car is now a truly impressive cruiser.
Should I buy one?
The GranCabrio Sport’s only genuine four-seater rival is the BMW 6-Series cabrio, although of course there’s a raft of other cars with which it indirectly competes, ranging from the 911 convertible to the Aston Martin Virage. Compared with the BMW there’s little or no contest; the Maserati is infinitely more desirable, not least because it’s become a very complete car in its own right. And when it comes to charm there’s no question, the Maserati wins hands down.