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Steering, suspension and comfort

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.

The suspension is firm - too firm for rough roads

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. 

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On the Sport model the addition of a brand new version of Maserati’s Skyhook electronic damping system has transformed the ride. 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.

On both versions of the car the steering is heavy and feelsome enough, but it lacks a little accuracy because of some looseness in the chassis. Through the steering wheel’s rim, you can feel the body flex, just as you can through the seat and by looking at the rear-view mirror. It is not unpleasant – but it is a borderline disappointment.