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Maserati GranTurismo 2010 Review

EXPERT RATING
8

This should have been a review of the Hyundai i20. The Korean baby boomer is up next for a Carsguide test but, when it failed to front this week, we have to switch to Plan B. In this case, B is more like Z, since that's about the distance from a $14,990 price fighter to a $318,500 Maserati GranTurismo.

But GT time is fine while we wait for the i20, and it's good to sample a little of what's happening at the top end of the car business. There are lots of new supercoupes and the choice in four-seater grand tourers has exploded with the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.

The latest Maserati is a tweak on familiar shape and recipe, combining the latest 4.7-litre Ferrari-built V8 with an MC supershift gearbox, essentially the robotised manual previously fitted to the Ferrari F599.

The Maserati GT is one of the best looking cars on the road today and, even if it only has two doors, there is space in the cabin for four real adults and you can get golf clubs in the boot. The cabin is also wrapped in the finest Italian leather, it has satnav and Bluetooth, and giant wheels to make an impact.

But the Italian GT is about driving, which is why there are 323 kiloWatts and 429 Newton-metres on tap, with driver-adjustable fully-independent suspension, giant disc brakes and a six-speed gearbox that promises full auto ease with full manual control on demand.

The GranTurismo is surprisingly big and fairly hefty too, at nearly 1900 kilograms, but that's par for this course.

And remember that, since Ferrari and Maserati sit under the same ownership, the GT is planned to sit alongside and below the sports car brand with a little more comfort and family focus. Not that the Maserati is the sort of car for long-distance family trips.

Next week, definitely, will be i20 time. And, seriously, I cannot wait.

DRIVING

The Maserati is a hoot. And relatively friends and family-friendly at the same time. It's never going to match a Kia Carnival for space with lots of kids, but it's a supercoupe you can actually use.

We've tried the GranTurismo coupe in the past but this is the first time with the 4.7 V8 and supershift, a robotised manual change. So computers and gizmos can make it fully auto or you can take manual control.

The Maserati comes with driver adjustable settings for the suspension, gearbox and even the exhaust note. The car always gives a raspy rev on start-up but gets seriously loud at full throttle, unless you touch the Sport button for loud all the time. It's not a nasty loud, either, but the sort of melodious V8 rumble most people love.

The performance of the GT is solid and on tap all the time. The V8 is tuned for bottom-end thrust and it delivers at all speeds, especially for overtaking. The brakes are great and the suspension is surprisingly compliant. It's firm but not thumpy. The steering is heavy in Sport mode but fine on the basic setting.

But... and here we go. The self-shift side of the gearbox is too slow and baulky unless you switch to Sport, and then it's still not as smooth as rival brands. Including Ferrari, with the double-clutch system in the latest California. It's fun as a full manual but I find it is still flawed and not as commuter friendly as a full auto.

The seats don't fit me at all, with far too much lumbar push and not enough side support; it's hard to fit a child seat in the back, and the electronics don't want to help with mirror adjustments or setting the seats but still leaving enough space to get people in and out of the back.

Still, there's a sense of occasion when you drive the Maserati and that's what makes it so special. It's not my favourite but it's a serious class contender and better than any Maserati I've driven in the past.

SHE SAYS Alison Ward

If only this car wasn't so expensive... I think it is fabulous. It may not be a Ferrari with its sports car handling and showmanship, but what it lacks there - by only by a little when I'm driving - it makes up for in practicality. I am a lover of cars that you can share with your mates. Solo driving in shopping carts is all very well, but you can't strike up much chatter with your groceries.

So the Maserati not only accommodates you and three passengers, but it does it comfortably and with superb style and sophisticated technology.

I love the sounds of this car. It can be the exhaust bark while burning down my street, the awesome audio system or the leather trim moving under your rear. It just fits a small pram in the boot, which is surprisingly big for the type of vehicle. I find getting the toddler in and out a breeze thanks to the automatic seats, too.

But I feel duped that a rear camera isn't installed as its almost a given in most models of this price tag. This car is the family car we all dream about but with the class only a few can afford. It's a pity really...

THE BOTTOM LINE: A very special drive with that special Italian flair.

MASERATI GRANTURISMO - Automatic

Price: $318,500
Engine: 4.7-litre v8
Power: 323kw at 7000 revs
Torque: 490nm at 4750 revs
Transmission: robotised six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Body: two-door coupe
Seats: four
Dimensions: length 4881mm, width 1915mm, height 1353mm
Wheelbase: 2942mm, tracks front/rear 1586mm/1590mm
Steering: rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension: fully independent with front and rear wishbones and coil springs
Fuel tank and type: 86 litres, premium unleaded
Fuel consumption: 16.6l/100km combined
Weight: 1880kg
Spare tyre: space-saver
Brakes: anti-skid all-round discs
Wheels and tyres: 20-inch alloys, 245x35 front, 285x35 rear
Safety: dual front/side/curtain airbags, electronic stability & traction control, anti-skid brakes, brake assist
Co2 emissions: 168g/km.

Pricing guides

$75,780
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$55,200
Highest Price
$96,360

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ $55,200 – 69,740 2010 Maserati Granturismo 2010 (base) Pricing and Specs
S 4.7L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $74,100 – 93,720 2010 Maserati Granturismo 2010 S Pricing and Specs
S M/C 4.7L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ $76,200 – 96,360 2010 Maserati Granturismo 2010 S M/C Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$74,100

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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