Wound to the top of its rev range, the GranTurismo’s 4.2-litre V8 delivers a performance every bit as charismatic and spectacular as you’d expect. Against the clock, the Maserati passes 100mph in 13.0sec and the standing km in 25.3sec, marginally quicker than a Mercedes CL500, but fractionally slower than a Jaguar XKR.
It’s at less heroic speeds that the GranTurismo falters. The V8 needs every last revolution to generate its power, with the Jag and Merc hitting hardest some 1000rpm sooner. This peaky delivery is compounded by a 1975kg kerb weight, meaning that the GT struggles away from the startline.
The better option is the 4.7-litre GranTurismo Sport, which makes one of the most glorious noises in production. The wet-sumped V8 revs to 7500rpm with the kind of crispness and zing that comes only from Modena. With Sport button engaged, it’s loud and visceral, and off-throttle it fizzes, pops and braps. Disengage Sport, however, and it’s refined and reserved. The 4.7-litre V8 makes 453bhp at 7000rpm and 383lb ft at 4750rpm, but is offered with a choice of tranmissions. The ZF automatic turns the Maser into a wonderful grand tourer; the harder-edged MC Shift robotised manual is cantankerous at low speeds but comes alive as the pace increases.
Buyers looking for a more focused driving experience are offered the GranTurismo MC Stradale, which has received attention from Maserati Corse, the company’s in-house motorsport department, and is the closest thing you’ll find to a GranTurismo GT3. Its 110kg lighter than the standard Sport and power is increased to 444bhp. It might have a surprisingly civilised long-distance gait, but the V8 emits a wonderfully brassy growl that‘s a long, long way from shy and retiring. It’s noisier and harder-edged still if you select Sport mode, when blips of the throttle seem shrill enough to shatter spectacles at close range.