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Maserati GranTurismo automatic 2008 review

The aural sensation of the operatically roaring Ferrari-derived V8 is but one way in which this $300,000 piece of Pininfarina sculpture transcends all misery.

We first drove it just on a year ago on the international launch through the Italian Alps, an environment which is germane in the same way this one isn't.

The roads there are as smooth as ours are cratered and crumbling. Highway speed is limited by conditions and ability not restricted to a rate guaranteed to induce sleep. Overtaking lanes are occupied not by oblivious zombies a la the M5, but by overtaking vehicles. In a word, paradise — one in which this grandiose tourer can be given its full range of expression.

Deploying it in our Third World conditions would surely be akin to tethering a stallion to a plough. In a dynamic sense, that is sadly true. Aside from the odd furtive burst of acceleration and gratuitously unnecessary downchanges just to thrill to that bent eight rip, you get to enjoy about one third of the GranTurismo's dynamic capability.

But where so many exotics and performance deities are just flat out wasted here, the Maser's sheer aesthetic presence is transcendent. Just look at it.

Confronting though the scarlet interior of our loan car was, nine other shades of quality cow hide can be specified to complement 19 exterior hues and even five choices of brake calliper colour.

The GranTurismo is $50K up on the ageing GranSport but feels and looks double that. The former's rear seats are more than expensively upholstered luggage racks; they'll hold two adults in tolerable comfort with 260 litres of luggage space behind them.

Captivating on the outside (and curiosity of an intrusive extent is a non-optional GranTurismo extra), what lies within is worthy of almost equal attention. The flat-on steering wheel is something of an object in itself; only the freakishly built could fail to find the optimum position from which to grapple with it and the chrome shifting levers.

Most of all, the GranTurismo benefits from the same highly adapted six-speed ZF automatic transmission of the Quattroporte Sedan, on which platform the coupe is based. When in Sport mode, the ZF is functionally almost as quick as the GranSport's abrupt clutch pedaless manual, but with the vast advantage of a Drive mode that works as such, not as a stuttering compromise.

The auto is better almost all of the time and far better suited to the grand touring remit. Consuming the kilometres with grace is what this Maserati is all about. While Drive mode suffices for the urban crawl, stabbing the Sport button is all but irresistible — gears are held longer, throttle response is enhanced and so too is the engine's already rich timbre. A high-quality sound system is fitted, but who has ears left for that?

Sport's transformation over normal mode is made complete by Skyhook adaptive suspension whose automatically and continuous damping ensures the forces generated by the car's 1880kg kerb weight go to where they count during cornering.

The GranTurismo is indeed a big unit but, come those few occasions you'll find to exploit it without fear of reprimand, it turns in with a fluidity that makes cornering feel intuitive.

Even with its hardly negligible 5.2 second 0-100km/h sprint time, there are any number of exotics and performance sleds that leave the Maser in their wake — or would if this land enjoyed autostradas and B-roads of Italian calibre. But we don't.

The triumph of this, the world's most beautiful car, is to make you forget where you're driving it.

Pricing guides

$65,000
Based on 6 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$64,970
Highest Price
$66,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ $64,970 – 66,999 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
Pricing Guide

$64,970

Lowest price, based on 7 car listings in the last 6 months

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