Surprisingly simple pleasures. You wouldn’t think it, but Maserati’s revamped GranTurismo delivers old-school charm. Words Colin Goodwin. Photography Barry Hayden. #Maserati-GranTurismo
Hidden under an acreage of plastic, but visible if you lean in and have a good look, are the crackle-finish red cam covers of the Maserati GranTurismo’s Ferrari-built 4.7-litre #V8
This seductive power plant goes back a long way; it’s essentially the same engine that was fitted to the Ferrari 360 Modena, which in turn was a tweaked version of the motor in the F355.
We don’t know when the replacement for the current GranTurismo will be here (it’s several years late already) but one thing’s for sure – it will have a turbocharged engine under its bonnet. Emissions targets will demand it. For now we have this facelifted GranTurismo and its open-topped brother the GranCabrio. It’s a typical cosmetic job with only the bits that are not too expensive to change coming under the scalpel. There are new bumpers front and back and a deeper front grille that’s been influenced by the one fitted to the Alfieri concept car. The MC versions (MC standing for Maserati Corse and sitting above the standard Sport) get a carbonfibre bonnet with scoops and cooling ducts. Inside there’s a new infotainment system which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.
For anyone who is frustrated by car manufacturers’ incessant addition of features and systems that actually reduce the pleasure of driving, the GranTurismo is a great relief. That engine in particular is a wondrous thing. It delivers its 460bhp the old-fashioned way, with the power increasing as the revs rise. There’s nothing of the flat torque curve that modern turbochargers bring but instead a thrilling increase in thrust as the 7500rpm red line is approached. And, in case you’re wondering, the previous model’s 4.2-litre option has been dropped due to lack of demand.
Eight- and even nine-speed automatic gearboxes are the norm these days but the Maserati makes do with its six-speed ZF torque converter transmission. That might sound behind the times for a modern GT but, like the GranTurismo’s hydraulic power steering, it works more than adequately. Simply kicking down a gear coming out of a corner is enough to give you decent thrust but you can tap down a couple of ratios with the always-active column-mounted paddles if you want to.
Maserati may well wince at the comparison, but the 2018 model-year GranTurismo is similar in many ways to the current Ford Mustang. Both are cars that remind us that you don’t need 600bhp under the bonnet and that in the modern world a car that is a pleasure to drive at 30mph is more desirable than one that can deliver 300kg of downforce at 175mph. The next generation GranTurismo will probably be faster, cleaner and more sophisticated. Maserati’s challenge will be to create a car that achieves these goals without losing any of the current car’s simple appeal.
Left and below The looks have been tweaked, the interior updated, but the big appeal is the muscular driving experience.