From £81,7357
Maserati is aiming to extend the life of its ageing coupé with new tech, some design tweaks and a rationalised engine range
14 July 2017

What is it?

Maserati’s ageing coupé has been given a final facelift in an effort to keep it relevant until its long-awaited replacement finally arrives.

In truth, it’s a range rationalisation as much as a refresh, with Maserati dropping both the entry-level 4.2-litre engine and the option of the single-clutch automated gearbox previously offered on the hardcore MC Stradale. All versions will now use the brawnier 454bhp 4.7-litre V8 and a six-speed ZF torque converter auto. Other changes include redesigned front and rear bumpers, improved equipment and the introduction of the Levante’s touchscreen infotainment system, replacing the previous stone-age sat-nav.

Two versions will be available: the Granturismo Sport, costing £93,145, and the more focused MC, which weighs in at a serious £108,780.

What's it like?

While ‘off the pace’ is hardly a suitable term to apply to a car capable of getting to 62mph in just 4.7sec, the Granturismo is definitely feeling its age when compared with more obvious rivals. There is still a huge amount to like about it, especially its snarling Ferrari-built V8 engine, but much of what normally comes as standard in this rarefied segment is conspicuously lacking. There are no active safety features or radar cruise control – not even keyless start, the Granturismo fired into life with what looks suspiciously like a rebranded late 1990s Alfa Romeo key.

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While the details are lacking, the fundamentals remain compelling. The naturally aspirated V8 is built by Ferrari in Maranello, and although it lacks the low-rev wallop of more modern turbo motors, it delivers plenty of Italian opera. Throttle response is outstanding and the engine loves to explore the top quarter of the tacho, its sonorous soundtrack augmented by a switchable sports exhaust. While this sounds great under hard use, it also creates some droning harmonics in the cabin at cruising speeds. The MC also gets a carbonfibre bonnet and a more aggressive diffuser.

While Maserati definitely killed the right gearbox – the old automated manual lunged like an attack dog on upshifts – the six-speed auto isn’t the sharpest, with slushy reactions at low speeds and changes that feel leisurely compared with a dual-clutch automatic, or even the much more advanced ZF eight-speeder that Maserati says the next-gen coupé will use.  

Steering is similarly old-fashioned, with the hydraulic assistance passing on the sort of low-intensity feedback that electric systems filter out as unwanted noise. The rack itself is low geared, meaning lots of arm twirling in tighter corners. Grip levels are respectable, but the MC transitions to gentle understeer as its high limits approach, with the engine lacking the grunt to do much to alter the car’s inclination at anything other than low speeds or very high commitment levels. The brake pedal feels slightly inert, too, and the steel brakes will start to fade under hard road use.

Somewhat perversely, the Granturismo MC uses fixed-rate dampers while the cheaper Sport gets adaptive units, and the range-topper feels their absence. Even on smooth roads, the MC is bordering on being too firm, and we suspect it won’t cope well with the greater challenge of battle-scarred British roads. There is still a Sport button, but this only alters the throttle map and gearshift mode. The Granturismo Sport doesn’t feel quite as well lashed down at speed, but its greater pliancy suits the Granturismo’s eponymous continent-crossing dynamic mission better.

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The new infotainment system works well and the intuitive touchscreen effectively negates the need for the rotary controller that still sits next to the gear selector. It sounds good, too, thanks to a standard Harmon Kardon speaker set-up. But the Granturismo’s cabin is where it feels oldest, with a slightly offset driving position and hard-to-see switchgear. Our test car also suffered from what sounded like leather-on-leather squeaking.

Should I buy one?

With the exception of ladder-frame SUVs, luxury sports cars tend to live longer than any other type of car. The Granturismo has passed its 10th anniversary, but the soon-to-retire Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin Vantage are both as old, and the Maserati remains a hugely likeable car.

Some will still see sufficient appeal in a Pininfarina-designed four-seater with a Ferrari-built engine to justify the price. While there’s certainly no shame in lusting after one, it is really starting to feel its age and the segment contains many more rational offerings, if not necessarily more emotionally compelling ones. 

Maserati Granturismo MC

Location Italy; On sale September; Price £108,780; Engine V8, 4691cc, petrol Power 454bhp at 7000rpm Torque 384lb ft at 4750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1873kg; 0-62mph 4.7sec; Top speed 187mph; Economy 19.8mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 331g/km, 37%; Rivals Bentley Continental, Aston Martin Vantage

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Comments
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gruppenfuhrer 19 February 2018

they have ruined the front

they have ruined the front with the 2 ugly vents 

Speedraser 17 July 2017

I'm with the Morty and Joe

I'm with the Morty and Joe group. To each his own, but are we really comparing SEATS and Maseratis? I couldn't care less about the latest electronic tech/gadget in a car. For me, none of that enhances the driving experience -- much of it actually detracts from it. The performance of the latest hot hatches and so on is very impressive, but once a car is fast enough, even faster becomes effectively useless on the road, so that stops being a priority for me. Today's really fast cars are so much faster than can be used on the road, without being homicidal/suicidal, that it just doesn't matter to me. A 4.7L quad cam naturally aspirated V8 will ALWAYS be more interesting and desirable to me than a 2L four, no matter how much power/torque that 2L four (or electric motor for that matter) may make.

Spanner 18 July 2017

Absolutely

Speedraser wrote:

I'm with the Morty and Joe group. To each his own, but are we really comparing SEATS and Maseratis? I couldn't care less about the latest electronic tech/gadget in a car. For me, none of that enhances the driving experience -- much of it actually detracts from it. The performance of the latest hot hatches and so on is very impressive, but once a car is fast enough, even faster becomes effectively useless on the road, so that stops being a priority for me. Today's really fast cars are so much faster than can be used on the road, without being homicidal/suicidal, that it just doesn't matter to me. A 4.7L quad cam naturally aspirated V8 will ALWAYS be more interesting and desirable to me than a 2L four, no matter how much power/torque that 2L four (or electric motor for that matter) may make.

I could not agree more. Well said.

Lanehogger 16 July 2017

I agree Joe G and Morty and

I agree Joe G and Morty and the fact that Autocar's road tests now have a separate ratable feature on mutimedia sums it up. It seems as important to rate a car's gadgets, ergonomics and infotainment system as it does the car's real designs and engineering, like chassis, engine, brakes, refinement etc and how good the cars i based on those aspects. Aspects that actually make the car.

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