Maserati GranCabrio

9 Jul, 2010 4:48pm Conor Mills

Maserati's new drop-head combines stunning looks with V8 muscle, but how does it measure up to the rest of the range?

Verdict

4
The GranCabrio is one of the best-looking convertibles money can buy. What’s more, it serves up a combination of storming performance and genuine space for four adults that not many other drop-tops can compete with. The star of the show is its storming 4.7-litre V8 engine – which offers one of the world’s most intoxicating soundtracks. While quality falls down in some places, few cars will turn as many heads. Fewer still are as desirable.

It’s the drop-top with a grand design! Maserati’s stunning new GranCabrio has been penned with the help of legendary styling house Pininfarina, and is the first genuine four-seater convertible that the Italian manufacturer has ever produced.

But is it the best model in the range? Auto Express took the wheel in the UK to find out.

Whether the roof is up or down, the Maserati is a head-turner from every angle. Its body is an imposing 4.8 metres long, and it makes a big impression alongside the company’s other models – the Quattroporte and GranTurismo coupé.

Inside, the car is as luxurious as you would expect, but there are some small details that fail to impress. Finished in leather, the seats and steering wheel are pure class. Yet around the doors, and on the centre console, the quality of the plastics could be higher. What’s more, the dials, instruments and clock face are all starting to look dated.

Compensating for this is the generous tally of standard equipment, which includes a 30GB music hard drive and a Bose sound system. The boot is negligible, at 173 litres – just enough space for a few bags of shopping – but further forward, the rear seats provide room for two adults to sit in comfort.

Whether the folding canvas roof is in place or stowed away, the cabin feels calm and well insulated from road noise. The ride is smooth and the steering nicely weighted, with lots of feedback. Despite a hefty 1,980kg kerbweight – 100kg more than the coupé – the car feels balanced through corners and resists body roll well.

The GranCabrio’s most impressive attribute lies under the bonnet, though. The engine is the same 434bhp 4.7-litre V8 as found in the GranTurismo and Quattroporte, and it throws the car forward from low revs – the benchmark sprint from 0-62mph is completed in 5.4 seconds – and screams when it hits the red line.

Plus, the noise the V8 makes with the roof down is one of the most enjoyable soundtracks in motoring. Select the Sport mode, and the experience becomes even more memorable. The engine note gets louder and deeper, and the exhaust pops and gurgles when you lift off the throttle.

The GranCabrio is fitted with a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox, which can be left in full auto mode if you are looking for an effortless ride. Owners who’d rather change gear themselves can switch to the manual setting, and use the steering wheel paddles – although shifts are super-smooth either way.

It’s not perfect, but the GranCabrio scores full marks for character. It’s rewarding and engaging to drive, and the most desirable model in the range.

Key specs

* Price: £95,630
* Engine: 4.7-litre V8
* Transmission: Six-spd paddleshift semi-automatic, rear-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 434bhp/490Nm
* 0-62/top spd: 5.4 secs/175mph
* Economy: 18.5mpg
* CO2: 354g/km
* Equipment: Leather trim, electric heated seats, sat-nav, 30GB hard drive, ejectable roll bars, 16-speaker Bose stereo, climate control, iPod connection
* On sale: Now

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