"GranTurismo is back". That's the statement accompanying the launch of Maserati's new sports car, now available in South Africa.
Fifty years after the launch of the 3500 GT, Maserati launched its new GranTurismo at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.
With styling by Pininfarina, the new GT is svelte and slim and reveals many of the traits, including gaping grille and trident signature, which Maseratis have become renowned for.
Designed to go head-to-head with Aston Martin's V8 Vantage, the Jaguar XK, the BMW 650i and Mercedes-Benz's CL500, GranTurismo is powered by a 4.2-litre V8 producing 298 kW at 7 100 r/min and peak torque of 460 Nm at 4 750 r/min.
Maserati claims a 285-km/h top speed and reckons its GranTurismo is good for a 5.2 second 0-100 km/h sprint.
To help it meet its performance demands, the engine is mated with a new six-speed automatic gearbox with auto-adaptive control that responds to changes in driving style and road conditions.
Four transmission settings - Auto Normal, Auto Sport, Auto Ice (for road surfaces with low traction) and Manual - are offered.
While the Normal mode is geared towards more comfortable driving, punching the Sport button engages the Auto Sport mode and immediately activates the MPS stability control programme and the optional Skyhook electronic suspension control.
The stability control programme incorporates the car's ABS, EBD and ASR systems.
When in Manual mode, gears can be shifted either by using the gearshift or the elongated paddle shifts integrated with the beefy steering wheel. The hydraulic steering system is speed sensitive.
Stopping power for the 19-inch wheels is provided by Brembo cross-drilled and ventilated brakes. 20-inch wheels are an option, too.
GranTurismo's suspension makes use of "antidive" and "antisquat" technology that, respectively prevents the car from pitching forward under braking and prevents the rear from digging in when accelerating. The front and rear wishbones have forged aluminium hubs and arms for reduced weight.
Style and comfort
And while the car is developed to provide the discerning driver with all the tools for an exhilarating drive, it also comes with a handcrafted leather-clad cabin and interior proportions that allow four occupants to travel in the utmost comfort.
The GranTurismo is fully customisable to allow owners to express their individuality, too.
Conveniences include climate control, Maserati's multimedia system with a high-resolution seven-inch display and a 30 Gb hard drive, bi-xenon lights with adaptive functions, parking sensors and cruise control, among others.
Front and side airbags are offered, along with the prerequisite pretensioned seatbelts. GranTurismo also comes with Isofix child seat fixtures for the two rear seats.
Since this GT does not have the most roomy luggage area, a bespoke five-piece luggage set has been designed by Salvatore Ferragamo and is available on request.
All in all, the new Maserati GranSport reflects all the qualities of a thoroughbred Italian sports car. Its styling is exquisite, it makes all the right noises and, after 60 years of Maserati GTs, it certainly has the heritage to back it up.