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Maserati GranCabrio Sport 2011 Review

EXPERT RATING
8

Maserati has perfected the art of applying subtle changes to existing models to create new  variants to appeal to new buyers. Basically, it’s like a woman having a series of hairdos designed to subtly alter her appearance and expand her list of suitors.

But in the case of the GranCabrio Sport, the tweaking has made an attractive convertible into one with more appealing driving characteristics.

VALUE

The GranCabrio Sport is expected in Australia in December and, based on currency predictions, will land here for less than $350,000. That’s a premium of about $20,000 on the existing - and ongoing - GranCabrio. What do you get? Well there’s a more sporty line of body gear - stuff like a front splitter, side sills, black grille and headlights surrounds and 20-inch wheels - but the better value is in the slightly more powerful engine, firmer suspension and an enhancement to the world’s best exhaust note. The modest changes to the body sharpen up its street cred and the engine note is certainly head spinning. But is this all worth the extra dosh? Maybe not.

DESIGN

Same as the existing GranCabrio but with the additions as mentioned above. This is Maserati honing the model and in its creation of a new, high-priced variant of the convertible, may be seen as gilding the lily. It seats four people - yes, adults in the back for short trips - and the ride comfort is very good for a car that has been worked over in the suspension department. It’s as quiet and comfortable with the electrically-operated fabric roof up or down. The boot is small and in the test car, was practically full just with the addition of the fold-out wind deflector. Cabin treatment is excellent, falling over only by the placement of some switches behind the steering wheel where they are invisible to the driver, and a sat-nav system that isn’t up to Japanese standards.

TECHNOLOGY

Maserati make song and dance out of the extra 10kW (that’s not a misprint - it’s a weeny 10 kilowatts) and additional 20Nm. More important is the friction-reduction campaign that has reduced fuel consumption and emissions by 6 per cent to 14.5 l/100km and 337g/km CO2. The end result is 331kW/510Nm for a 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds. That’s a mere 0.1 second faster than the 323kW/490Nm standard version. The ZF box gets longer steering wheel paddle shifters made of carbon fibre - which is dotted around the car as a trim material - and the box changes gears twice as fast as the existing model and blips on downshifts while manual mode will allow the engine to run to the rev limiter. Suspension springs are 15 per cent stiffer and there’s ben modifications to the dampers. The brake rotors are ventilated, drilled and slotted to minimise fade.

SAFETY

Maserati cars, like most exotic cars, aren’t flung into concrete barriers to come up with a crash rating. It’s understood they’re pretty safe. Standard kit includes stability and traction control, six airbags and automatic pop-up roll bars.

DRIVING

As expected, it’s a quick car with lots of exhaust hoise available at the touch of the “sport’’ button on the dash. Though suspension tweaks are designed to improve handling, comfort has not been sacrified. It is also an easy car to drive and well suits the role cruising the more expensive suburbs in your city.

VERDICT

It’s clearly Italian with its showmanship styling, loud exhaust noise and ability to sprint. It turns heads all the time and despite its exotic tag, was a real pussycat to drive. Four seats also make all the difference.

MASERATI GRANCABRIO SPORT
Price: est. $345,000
Warranty: 3-years/100,00km
Resale: 72% (est.)
Service interval: 15,000km/12 months
Safety: n/a
Engine: 4.7-litre, V8 petrol, 331kW/510Nm
Body: 2-door coupe
Weight: 1980kg
Transmission: 6-speed sequential auto, rear drive
Thirst: 14.5L/100km, 98 RON, CO2 337g/km

"The heart and soul of luxury motoring that takes its top off''

Pricing Guides

$116,105
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$108,020
Highest Price
$124,190

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 4.7L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $108,020 – 124,190 2011 Maserati Grancabrio 2011 (base) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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