To be honest, if you’re looking for a superbly engineered, finely-tuned, high-perfromance and luxurious Italian grand tourer these days, you’re spoiled for choice. There are a handful of exceptional models to choose from. But, if you want one that’s red-blooded, with race-engineering at its heart, and that’s got curves in all the right places, there’s only one – Maserati. You see, even after more than one-hundred years of making motors cars, no-one makes ‘voluptuous’ in quite the same way as they do. And for 2018, it just got even better. A visit to Italy and an opportunity to drive the new MY2018 GranTurismo and GranCabrio presented itself – courtesy of our friends at Al Zayani Kuwait.

It’s ten years now since Maserati first introduced their GranTurismo – and they’ve worked hard to ensure it has remained relevant and contextual to the segment ever since. With this latest facelift – aesthetic and technological – they’ve breathed new life in to what was already a desirable automobile.

A full four-seater sportscar, it’s the ideal city-car when called upon; and capably fast when required – it’s the consummate grand tourer. For 2018 The GranTurismo range has been streamlined and two well-defined versions will be offered – Sport and MC. The 4.2-litre GranTurismo has been discontinued, while the Sport and MC share the same powertrain and interior personalization packages.

Maserati GranTurismo

In essence, the GranTurismo is the ultimate expression of what grand touring means to Maserati.

When restyling the GranTurismo for 2018, Maserati approached the original Pininfarina design with the greatest respect. As a result, the changes are barely noticeable but still substantial and the car is aerodynamically even more efficient.

Over the years, GranTurismo has evolved to become one of the world’s most iconic sports cars. It is also, of course, a Maserati design classic – a resolutely sporty luxury coupé with a uniquely timeless elegance. According to Marco Tencone, Head of Maserati Design, there is good reason for this: “GranTurismo was originally considered a courageous design, even for Pininfarina standards. This helped it remain contemporary throughout the years. In fact, the boldness of the initial design was adopted by other luxury brands in the following years. As a result, the car still looks fresh today – it is a timeless design”.

For 2018, the sumptuous, hand-crafted interior of the GranTurismo features more dynamic design, improved ergonomics and a new, state-of-the art infotainment system. Inside you’ll find a completely new infotainment with 8.4” high-resolution capacitive touchscreen; a redesigned central console with double rotary control; compatibility with Apple Car Play and Android Auto (as you’d expect in these highly connected times); fitted as standard – the Harman Kardon Premium Sound system.

The leather wrapped interior has been redesigned, echoing Maserati design traits by using the finest real materials, while subtle chrome rings around the buttons and stitched Trident logos on the headrests aptly illustrate the exceptional care given to each and every detail.

The state-of-the art infotainment system of the GranTurismo is the latest one adopted by the entire Maserati range. The 800×600-pixel display offers drag and drop functionality and features a 3D perspective effect in a greenish ambient light. This is an ideal match with the backlight colour of the instrument cluster and that of the courtesy lights.

Maserati GranTurismo

The long front, muscular rear and defined lines suggest forceful forward movement – even at a standstill.

The 2018 model follows a new architectural philosophy, according to Maserati Head of Interior Design, Gianni Colonello: “We took the chance to redesign the interiors combining the craftsmanship appearance for the new instrument panel volumes with the updated infotainment elements. With the adoption of this approach the dashboard is now more clearly focused than before, comprising two, perfectly arranged areas: digital and physical.”

Maserati offers a personalization programme unlike any other, allowing each customer to create a unique GranTurismo, according to precise individual wishes and tastes.

For 2018, there are eight interior colours available and five interior trims – from Carbon Fibre to Black Piano and Walnut Briarwood. These options are available on both Sport and MC versions.

There are also three optional interior Anniversary Edition packages. They include Poltrona Frau® leather upholstery in three different colours (Bianco Pregiato with strip design, Nero and Black leather/Alcantara®) combined with the dashboard, central console and armrests in stitched leather and the Trident logo stitched into the headrests.

The naturally aspirated, Ferrari-built V8 engine in the GranTurismo – true to its red-blooded racing pedigree – provides sharp throttle response, free-revving character and a unique, soul-stirring Maserati soundtrack.

The state-of-the art 4.7-litre powerhouse in the GranTurismo is one of the last naturally aspirated V8 engines in the segment today. Based on the F136 family of 90º V8 petrol engines, it was developed jointly by Ferrari and Maserati and produced by Ferrari in Maranello.

What makes the GranTurismo engine unique, and what gives it that famous Maserati sound, is the exclusive use of a cross-plane crankshaft, instead of the flat-plane version used in Ferrari supercars.

This, along with other clever design features and advanced electronics, also creates an engine character that combines the best of two worlds – high-rev output (up to 7,200rpm) and strong torque at low revs. And when it comes to throttle response, the Maserati V8 is incredibly sharp – it almost feels directly connected to the driver’s right foot.

With the six-speed ZF Automatic gearbox, the GranTurismo Sport accelerates from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 299km/h. Its combined fuel consumption is 14.3 litres/100km and CO2 emissions are 331g/km. Acceleration and top speed values for the lighter MC version are, respectively, 4.7 seconds and 301km/h.

It all adds up to a thrillingly dynamic driving experience in the GranTurismo. That and the ability to cover long distances with seemingly limitless, endlessly obliging power always on tap.

The MY18 GranTurismo is fitted with new, lightweight, fourth-generation Pirelli P Zero™ tyres. These contribute to a reduction in unsprung weight plus better suspension performance and tyre grip. The new P Zero™ is designed to improve braking distances in dry and wet conditions, respectively by 4% and 5%, while improving mileage by at least 30%.

Maserati GranTurismo

Racing has always been in the Maserati DNA. For the GranTurismo, this is directly manifested in the use of Formula 1-derived special coatings for components subject to high stresses in the V8. These reduce friction for increased power, lower fuel consumption and improve reliability. Nikasil-coated steel cylinder liners are extremely tough and wear-resistant; Diamond Like Coating (DLC) and super-finished camshafts originally developed for motor sport are also used.

Attached directly to the rear of the engine, the MC Auto Shift gearbox is a perfect match to the character of the GranTurismo, delivering comfortable to extremely sporty gearshifts through its five operating modes.

The six-speed ZF Automatic gearbox (MC Auto Shift) has been conceived to match the extra performance of the V8 powerhouse. Engine power is fed to the rear wheels via an asymmetric limited slip differential – 25% in traction and 45% in release – with a final ratio of 3.54.

The luxurious four-seater sports coupé was conceived as an ultra-modern interpretation of our very first production grand tourer, the elegant Maserati A6 1500 of 1947. And over the years, the GranTurismo has evolved into one of the most iconic Maserati cars ever built, thanks to its uncompromised GT character.

This character is perfectly expressed by a uniquely compelling combination – bold yet elegant design; the exhilarating, inspirational performance of a naturally aspirated, Maranello-built V8 engine; and hand-crafted comfort offered by four individual, Poltrona Frau® seats.

Follow us at @passions.arabia to be the first to read our GranTurismo drive experience – public and closed-road driving. Soon on passionsarabia.com