Maserati GranTurismo

The GranTurismo is a car you can buy with your head as well as your heart.

The Maserati’s 4.2-litre V8 engine, built by Ferrari, is a cracker. Eager, hungry for revs and tuneful, it’s magic when used hard. There’s always a bit of delicious background engine and exhaust noise. It’s fast, too, despite the hefty 1,800kg kerbweight – 0-100mph takes a mere 11.9 seconds! However, it’s more frustrating in daily use, because of a marked lack of mid-range pull, while the automatic gearbox’s reluctance to give you full control is frustrating. It is, however, a capable driver’s car. It’s not as polished as, say, a Jaguar XKR, but we think its flaws add character. The dampers feel fidgety and it can lose composure on bumpy roads – but, once you’ve got used to the sharp, light steering and alert chassis, it’s huge fun, with lots of feedback.

Maserati is one of the most glamorous and evocative automotive brands of all time – and the GranTurismo is more stylish than any German rival. It has exuberance, flair and a real sense of drama and passion. It’s a huge car, mind, with a long wheelbase, though there are some advantages to this. There’s just the single engine, gearbox and trim line at the moment, with a very extensive (and expensive) range of bespoke options available. Rivals to the two-door coupe include the Jaguar XKR, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, BMW M6, Mercedes SL and, of course, the Porsche 911.

The Maserati may have a small boot, but inside, there’s a real surprise. The long wheelbase provides enough space for a pair of rear seats as roomy as a family hatchback! They even have ISOFIX mountings for child seats. But it’s up front where the real excitement lies. The rich, tactile materials, shapely steering wheel and chrome-ringed buttons look superb. And while ergonomics are not perfect, they’re leagues ahead of Maseraris of old. Shame the unintuitive sat nav is lifted straight from a Peugeot, though. There is also a little more wind and road noise than you’d expect. And as for running costs, prepare for a shock. There are only 16 dealers in the UK, and three visits will cost you £3,999! The 25,000-mile service alone will cost £1,757. Luckily, tall gearing means everyday economy won’t be disastrous, while exceptional retained values should mean you won’t lose out when you come to sell


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