Maserati GT 2008 Review
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Normally I'd wax lyrical about how this car will affect your senses, the aural music created by the quad exhaust pipes and the gravity forces affecting the driver's body through high-speed bends.
Then there's the sumptuous leather cabin, the richness of the timber trim and the clarity of instruments, not to mention the new, full figure sexy body.
But not this time.
Because for the few times that I've previous driven a Maserati, this was the first time that nothing went wrong. And that is so remarkable that it almost rates above the driving experience. It didn't squeak or rattle. Nothing fell off. The doors opened with ease and the radio was audible. Yes, you'd expect that for near-on $300,000. But in previous models, you didn't get the Q-word.
Quality, it seems, was a bit thin on the ground in the 1980s and 1990s.
I remember a Maserati of the early 1980s that seemingly was assembled from a distance.
So bad was the fit and finish it was highly likely that workers stood at some distance from the creeping production line and threw bits at it in the hope that some would stick.
Another Maserati rattled so much the radio was useless, and another started losing weight mid-journey by jettisoning parts. Window winder, lower dashboard trim and something unidentifiable that dropped from under the dash were three that broke free on my small trip.
Driving the latest GranTurismo could have been a journey back. But to my surprise, it wasn't. This new car — the latest Maserati and the one that could prise well-heeled enthusiasts out of their Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Astons — is simply beautiful to drive.
Gone is that dreadfully clunky semi-automatic gearbox that marked the brand as painfully sporty.
Now there's a silky-smooth ZF six-cog box. It even has shifters on the steering wheel if you simply must change gears yourself. The build finish is superb and only matched by the quality — there's that word in a Maserati article for the first time — of the materials.
The dashboard is attractive and as easy to use as a Camry. Everything is laid out so neatly it not only defies historic Maserati trends, it is at odds with the Made-In-Italy badge.
And it seats four adults. No kidding! A two-door coupe that fits two adults in the back. It was so novel that I tried it and even my 177cm frame was comfortable.
The boot is accommodating enough to fit a golf bag, primarily because there's no spare tyre. There's an aerosol kit, so lots of luck.
The simple fact is that the standard 20-inch wheels don't fit in the boot.
Now that we've established that this one is going to stay together, let's take it for a punt.
This is a big car. It's based on Maserati's four-door Quattroporte saloon with a margin snipped out of the wheelbase.
So in the flesh it's a bulky car that sits quite high for a coupe and stretches far enough to need park sensors.
It's also heavy and crests the 2-tonne mark with two occupants and fuel. Remember, this is primarily a GT and not a track racer.
Countering all this is the Ferrari-sourced 4.2-litre V8 engine that despite its meaty power, is quite uninspiring.
Sure, the exhaust pipes will bark and howl and the engine will make a muted mechanical gargle, but the auto gearbox softens the blow.
In the old model the semi-auto would sound like a rabid dog gnashing its teeth centimetres from your face, so it felt fast. But the fact is it is fast. Maserati claims that the 100km/h sprint arrives in 5.2 seconds, which is Ferrari territory. The ride is surprisingly compliant and the cabin remains quiet. It's a very relaxed ride.
The seats are supportive, the steering wheel falls easily to hand and the gauges simple and communicative. There's a premium audio system and a sat-nav system that doesn't need an electronic engineering degree to operate.
The car's bulk will be invisible to drivers who stay on gazetted roads, though on closed roads the kilos are noticed.
It can point and shoot corners with ease, though the brake pedal needs increasing pressure to slow it down. The steering is perfect for touring though in close quarters needs a few extra turns to make a tight corner.
But I'm penny-pinching. This is a beautiful car and the surprise is that it's a Maserati.
At last — a Maserati that looks as good as it's built.
Engine: 4.2-litre, V8, quad-cam
Power: 295kW @ 7100rpm
Torque: 460Nm @ 4750rpm
Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds
Fuel: premium, 86-litre tank
Economy: 14.3 litres/100km (claimed), 16.9 litres/100km (tested)
CO2 emissions: 335g/km (Corolla: 175g/km)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, sequential, paddle-shifters; rear-drive
Brakes: 4-wheel 330mm vented, cross-drilled discs; ESC, ABS, EBD, traction control, brake assist
Turning circle: 10.7m
Suspension: double wishbone, coils
Wheels: 20-inch alloy
Tyres: 245/35R20 (front); 285/35R20 (rear); no spare
Dimensions (MM): 4881 (l), 1847 (w), 1353 (h), 2942 (wheelbase)
Warranty: 3 year/unlimited km, roadside assist
For: Performance, comfort, driving ease
Against: Visibility, no spare tyre
Range and Specs
|(base)||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ||$44,300 – 55,990||2008 Maserati Granturismo 2008 (base) Pricing and Specs|
|S||4.7L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$62,600 – 79,090||2008 Maserati Granturismo 2008 S Pricing and Specs|