As grand tourers go, Maserati’s GranTurismo has been around pretty much the longest. Ten years, and counting. To look at the original and 2018 models side-by-side, for sure you’ll notice its evolution. Yet, visually at least, it’s still fundamentally the same car – it was a design classic straight out of tthe box. Maserati have been wise not to mess with its looks. Mechanically though, it’s a whole new ball-game. Refinement after mechanical refinement has produced an automobile whose curvy looks hide a razor-sharp driving experience. If you’ve got continental-miles to do, and you want to get to your destination with a smile still on your face, then here’s the GT for you. We took the 2018 GranTurismo and the GranCabrio for a spin through hills around Brescia.
If modern motoring has a downside, it’s that recent generations of designers and engineers have sought to distance the driver from the joy of actually driving an automobile. Too many, some of them even the finest engineered of cars, make the driver feel like an unnecessary guest. Maserati is one of few who have retained the magic of engagement – to sit behind the trident badged steering wheel is to be welcomed aboard, and tingles with the anticipation of adventure.
For the marque that claims to have created the world’s first grand tourer in 1947, with its A6 1500, there’s always a lot resting on the successful launch of the latest model. 70 years later, the 2018 version – particularly the MC Coupe variant (shown above) – illustrates the perfect evolution of the species.
Enough of the romance, how’s the drive? A few facts and figures first to help set the context. The front-mid-mounted 4.7-litre Ferrari-built V8 will help you out to the tune of 454 hp. In this 1,800kg GranTurismo, that’ll translate to 100kmh in 4.8 seconds, and to a maximum of 300kmh.
Impressive. Yet it won’t be the fastest around the racetrack, and it isn’t the most powerful at the ‘lights. What it does do, though, is something that Maserati are amongst the very best at – it’ll enable you to travel long distances fast, but also in comfort. It represents the perfect grand tourer.
Eminently driveable, you could own one of these and use it as your daily drive. Not only could – but should.
However, something to know about driving in Europe these days is that the authorities will do their best to make sure you’re not able to have too much fun. Ever lower speed limits and ever more speed cameras put paid to on-the-limit testing of the GranTurismo – at least until we arrived at La Forella.
Somehow, and I suspect this could only happen in Italy, Maserati had persuaded the local carbineri to close around 4 km of public roads – a mountain pass to be specific – to enable us to push on, back-and-forth, in a hillclimb format of test experience. The best thing was, not only did none of the locals noticeably complain, instead many of them lined the road, sitting on rocks and grassy verges whilst munching on sandwiches as they watched.
So, launch control implemented, take-off delivers a smooth yet solid punch to the small of your back. As the pass winds up and through the steeply-sided mountains, there’s barely a need to brake (except for the one essential hairpin). The car isn’t on rails, and the suspension is softer than you’d otherwise think would be useful for this sort of driving – but we’re taking this grand tourer well out of its comfort zone here. We’re asking it to become a sportscar – something the GranTurismo was never intended to be, but that the MC Coupe is knocking on the door of.
Unleashed, it has all the poise and raucous wail of a sportscar, yet it maintains the elegance of a grand tourer.
In the world of grand tourers, and updated for 2018, it enhances its claim to be the king of them all and, whether you’ll agree with that or not, one thing that anyone with a shred of automotive passion will be unable to do is to step out of a GranTurismo at the end of a long drive, without a huge smile on their face. Can you say that about your current car?
Find out more about Maserati in Kuwait right here.