Maserati GranSport 2006 Review
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No arm twisting in the office is necessary when it comes to driving an Italian thoroughbred.
And what a thoroughbred the GranSport is with a heritage going back to 1926 and a retuned V8 engine from Ferrari's F430.
Maserati has been through ups and downs over the decades with some superb machines and some forgettable.
The GranSport falls firmly in the former category.
As the name suggests it is more of a grand tourer than a road going race-car and as a result, is easier to live with - as far as a highly strung performance car can be.
The sexy, low slung, two door coupe seats four and has a swag of luxury and comfort items.
Occupants don't suffer privation to enjoy the delights of the GranSport.
And there are plenty of delights, especially if you like them fast and furious.
As expected, performance is witheringly quick thanks to the lightweight 4.2-litre, naturally aspirated V8 engine.
Good for 295kW/452Nm, the multi-cam engine is capable of propelling this 1680kg coupe from 0-100km/h in 4.85 seconds.
The two mode automated six speed manual transmission called Cambiocorsa is arguably the best in the business being a virtual lift from Ferrari F1 cars (with modifications for civilian use).
The system even blips the throttle on every down change and an auto mode is provided.
The GranSport is right up there in the handling department.
In "normal" mode, the suspension is too soft but in "sport" everything gels.
The faster it goes, the better it feels. Steering precision is of a high order and the massive Brembo brakes make light work of stopping. It holds a line through corners beautifully.
Driving the GranSport is a rare treat, everyone looks, everyone hears especially when sport mode is selected and the exhaust baffles open wider.
It commands respect and deserves praise but then for nearly $250,000, it would want to be good.
I'm suprised I managed to liberate the keys to this bag of tricks from Barney, a feller known for his "lurve" of fast cars.
I've driven plenty of screamers over the years but this one definitely stands out.
It's the sound of the engine I will remember most.
Say what you like about the Italians but they know how to build superb engines.
Forget turbocharging, supercharging and the like, nothing beats a beautifully crafted and prepared naturally aspirated V8.
Hit the start button and it, you and the immediate neighborood are enveloped by a loud, low frequency hum, a bit like the din from a 13B rotary - a noise transformed into an F1-like roar that can be heard blocks away as the car moves off.
At 4.85 seconds, it's faster than anything from FPV or HSV, quicker than a WRX STI and a hair's breadth slower than a Porsche Carrera S.
Breathtaking to drive.
Having said that, the GranSport is a pig in traffic (tranny is way too slow for stop-start city driving), brake and accelerator pedal are too close together, the suspension has got no idea what to do with a good old Aussie bump, the back seat is built for a race of pygmies, the sound system is a big disappointment and did I mention that it leaks?
Yes, there I was, being the real yob, driving this Italian super car in Dr Scholls sandals after a brief shower of rain and lo'... was that a drop of water I felt?
Sad to say but every time I pointed the car at a hill the big toe of my left foot, minding its own business on the foot rest, copped a sprinkling of water.
Well, you've got to take the good with the bad.
Range and Specs
|(base)||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP||$34,500 – 44,660||2006 Maserati Gransport 2006 (base) Pricing and Specs|
|Spyder||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP||$43,800 – 55,330||2006 Maserati Gransport 2006 Spyder Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data