Maserati Grancabrio – Review
By Liam Bird
For the last week I’ve been watching the weather forecast with more than just casual interest. We’ve just come out of one of the wettest Aprils on record and yet bizarrely, because March was so dry, some of us are still in a drought. But it’s the state of the weekend’s weather that concerns me most and, as usual, it’s been as a result of a car. You see Maserati finally gave in to my repeated requests to drive their GranCabrio a few weeks ago and ever since I’ve been watching the skies. I was to have only a weekend in its company, and only a sunny one would do.
It may have taken what seems like an eternity for spring’s deluge to finally stop but fortunately it only takes 28 seconds for the GranCabrio’s triple layered soft-top to fold back beneath its cover. By doing so not only do you unveil a luxuriously trimmed leather interior, but you transform what is an already good looking car into an absolutely breathtaking one. With its roof stowed and its windows down, the GranCabrio’s Pininfarina lines instantly evoke images of open roads, Italian lakeside retreats, and an altogether more glamorous, sun-drenched, way of life. This is a car in which to be seen.
“A compliant ride”
And seen, and heard, you will be. Because the GranCabrio shares the same 4.7-litre V8 engine as its hard-topped sister, the GranTurismo, it makes the kind of mechanical melodies only an Italian grand-touring thoroughbred can.
Even if you decide not to press the Sport button, keeping the pneumatic bypass valves in the exhaust system closed, and leaving the last 10 of the 440bhp un-liberated, the GranCabrio’s magnificent deep bass rumble announces your arrival long before you actually reach your destination.
Fortunately though there’s more than enough “Go” to match the GranCabrio’s liberal helping of “Show”. Despite gaining 100kg of extra cross bracing, structural reinforcement and a pair of pop up roll-over bars as a result of its decapitation, the GranCabrio can still hold its own when it comes to the traffic-light Grand Prix. 0-60 takes just 5.3 seconds – quick in anyone’s book – and where allowed Maserati’s first full four seat convertible will top out at 175 – roof up of course!
Don’t however expect the full sports-car experience. Whilst it’s true to say it’s capable of covering ground at alarming velocities if you so desire, the GranCabrio’s nearly two tonne kerb weight means it’s somewhat better suited to a role of a relaxed tourer. Although firm, there’s a compliant ride, tyre noise – despite road-roller-like 285/35 ZR20 boots – is kept in check, and thanks to Maserati’s clever Skyhook suspension body roll, is minimal.
“Beautiful, but flawed”
There’s no need to work the engine hard either as the six speed electronic-actuated gearbox will change gears for you; 362lbft of torque makes over-taking effortless. It’s hard to resist changing ratios yourself though, via the column mounted paddles. You then revel in the automatic throttle blipping and cackling exhaust note on down-changes. Just because you can.
And that’s what this Maserati is really all about; indulgence. At nearly £100,000 the Grancabrio combines charisma and idiosyncrasy in equal measure. For here is a car designed to carry four and cruise the Riviera. Yet it has a boot that would struggle to swallow everyone’s bucket and spade. Plus, it struggles to better 18mpg. It’s beautiful, but ultimately flawed. Strangely though, you can’t help but be seduced by it.
Engine: 4691cc 32Valve V8
Transmission: 6 speed paddle shift with electro hydraulic clutch
Power: 440 bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque: 361 lb ft @ 4750rpm
0-62MPH: 5.1 Sec
Max Speed: 147mph
MPG: 18.3 (Combined)
Price: from £98,280