Pictures from Rallye Monte Carlo Historique leave TG.com lusting for fast French ‘minis.
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The Top Gear car review:Maserati GranTurismo
For:Gorgeous bodywork, room for four
Against:Gearbox far from class best, others handle better
V8 Sport 2dr MC Shift
Sport replaces S models. It’s quicker and better, especially with the standard autobox.
“Pull away with a squeeze of throttle and it’s a yawning lion.” Dan Read reports from Italy…
What we say:
Don't buy this car if you want the last word in handling. But, there are few things on the road today which are better looking, and can seat four adults in relaxed comfort
What is it?
Achingly pretty GT in the grand tradition (except it’s not built of tin foil and won’t burst into flames spontaneously). Seats four, gorgeous cabin, handles well - if not completely convincingly.
Understand that the GranTurismo has been created to use every day and you’ll soon appreciate the fact that it hasn’t been wound down on track-attack springing and rock-solid dampers. There’s a huge amount of grip available here with either the computer-controlled ‘Skyhook’ suspension or the steel-spring option, it’s just that to get the broader-brush ability the extremes of sense have necessarily been censored. Try the GT-S if you need faster, harder and stronger.
There was a time when driving a Maserati meant desperate posture at the wheel and a tendency to tramline that could happily fling you straight into a ditch. No more. Despite nearly 400bhp at a fairly high 7,100rpm, the GT manages to feel relaxed, composed and utterly comfy over distance. Good seats, relaxed but accurate steering, and ability to soak up bumps without sacrificing too much feel.
Fast but not devastating, despite a good-looking set of on-paper figures. The GranTurismo is powered by a Ferrari-derived 4.2-litre V8 with just over 400bhp, the full whack arriving late-ish in the rev-range. The sprint to 62mph arrives in just 5.2 and the top speed is 177mph, even with the added handicap of the slow-ish paddle-override automatic gearbox. There’s a 4.7-litre 450bhp ‘Sport’ version which is faster, hitting 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. Then there’s the MC Stradale, a 442bhp V8.
On the inside
Four people can happily arrange themselves in the GranTurismo, even with a six-footer seated behind a similarly-proportioned lump in one of the front seats. Headroom may be a touch compromised, but certainly nothing that would prevent you from taking a 2-hour journey. Take that, Jaguar XKR and BMW M6.
The GT is way, way better than even the later generations of the 4200GT, which means unrecognisable from the creaky and badly finished 3200. Seats made from special leather designed to look better as it wears, fantastic fit’n’finish, proper technology including a 30Gb hard drive and decent sat-nav. The GranTurismo feels like Maserati has got the quality message.
Group 50 insurance, 330g/km and high servicing mean that the GT remains in the ‘Italian exotica’ bracket for running costs. Be scared people, this isn’t a VW Golf 1.4.