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Maserati MC Stradale 2011 Review

EXPERT RATING
9

THE character-warping skills of Jekyll and Hyde take on metal form as Maserati launches a special edition coupe that takes the race car to the road.  Limited in volume, but not exhilaration, the MC Stradale is Maserati's third coupe and runs an even more potent version of the company's 4.7-litre V8.

Only 15 units are allocated to Australia and New Zealand and most of the $364,400 race-bred coupes are spoken for ahead of deliveries next month.  The exclusivity and price seriously limit the potential of Maserati's limited edition that is designed particularly for drivers who want a squirt on the rack on weekends.

Sadly, though that's the desire of Maserati, the car is more likely to be garaged by people with money who simply want the latest Maserati model.

VALUE

Exclusivity has its price. The MC Stradale (it means street, so implies its civil) is $45,900 more expensive than the GranTurismo S and though gains 7kW (to 331kW) and 20Nm to 510Nm and is more fuel efficient, there are subtractions.

Unlike the GT S, the Stradale has only two seats. It has less sound proofing - though remarkably it actually benefits the car - and misses out on electric seat adjustment.

In Europe it comes standard with four-point seat harnesses - illegal in Australia - and an optional half cage for roll protection. Australia gets standard three-point seat belts and the option remains for the roll cage.

In its favour, the Stradale gets 20-inch wheels with new Pirelli PZero Corsa tyres; body kit with front splitter and rear lip spoiler; new exhaust system with centralised twin exhaust tips; carbon-fibre seats (it's also used for the mirror housing, spoiler, cabin trim and door handles); and enormous carbon-ceramic disc brakes with Brembo calipers. Serious stuff.

DESIGN

Basically, it's a Maserati GranTurismo S with a subtle body kit. Looks great and comes in lots of colours including a few matte paint schemes.

SAFETY

Top of the wozza five-star crash, with full complement airbags and stability control, and so on.

TECHNOLOGY

The engine gets tweaked for more power and has 80 per cent of its 510Nm torque on tap from 2500rpm.  Cleaning the efficiency of the engine has lowered fuel consumption in comparison with the GT S by 13 per cent to 14.4 L/100km and the same CO2 emission which is now 337g/km.

The three-mode robotised manual box is in the back, integrated with the diff, and offers full auto; Sport (manual); and Race (full manual with reduced traction aids).  The suspension is 8 per cent stiffer and the car rides lower by 10mm at the front and 12mm at the back.

But the biggie is the 110kg weight loss thanks to carbon fibre, negating some weighty bits (electric seats saving 26kg) with other fat busters being the carbon brakes (saving 18kg); removing most of the sound insulation (25kg); and the fact it has no back seat (16kg).

DRIVING

Noise... so much glorious noise. The full auto option in the box is relatively smooth and requires no input from the driver. Sport ups it to manual - clicking up and down the cogs via big carbon-fibre steering wheel paddles - and adds an open exhaust from 4000rpm.

The Race mode reduces traction aids while keeping the exhaust bypass valve open. It makes the exhaust sound like a mournful wail and is both threatening and addictive. Pedestrians on Maranello's narrow streets didn't object.

The Stradale hints at being a raw, race-developed car. In fact, it is very comfortable with no suspension jarring. The noise levels - despite the extraction of 25kg of insulation - is fine. You could definitely live and commute in this car.

The secret is that it goes like stink when prodded. The steering is as close to perfect as any car I've driven. Perhaps Porsche's Cayman R comes close, but not close enough.

Calculate the curve of the corner ahead and feed in the steering and the nose follows through with a perfect translation of thought to action.  Immensely confident handling and that engine that wants to roar and spit and bark forever make this a very emotive ride.

The cabin works. The switchgear can be a bit awkward - but not as bad as the Quattroporte's slap-dash placement - and the A-pillars are huge, but the rest of the car simply works.

VERDICT

Surprise package that takes the GT S one step higher but is so driveable that it won't sit in the garage waiting for race day.

Maserati MC Stradale

Price: $364,400
Warranty: 3-years/100,000km
Resale: 68% (est.)
Service Warranty: 15,000km/12 months
Safety: 5-star Euro NCAP
Engine: 4.7-litre, V8 petrol, 331kW/510Nm
Body: 2-door coupe
Weight: 1670kg
Transmission: 6-speed semi-manual, rear drive
Thirst: 14.4L/100km, 98 RON, CO2 337g/km ``Track car that's so flexible it'll do the shopping during the week''

Pricing guides

$92,235
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$62,700
Highest Price
$121,770

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ MAN $62,700 – 72,050 2011 Maserati Granturismo 2011 (base) Pricing and Specs
M/C Stradale 4.7L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ MAN $105,930 – 121,770 2011 Maserati Granturismo 2011 M/C Stradale Pricing and Specs
S 4.7L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO $89,870 – 103,290 2011 Maserati Granturismo 2011 S Pricing and Specs
S M/C 4.7L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ MAN $90,970 – 104,610 2011 Maserati Granturismo 2011 S M/C Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
9
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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