THE 2012 MASERATI GRANTURISMO MC COUPE REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: Want Italian?
The family has a hankering for Italian food. Should it be quick-and-easy Chef Boyardee, cheap Fazoli’s, or a night-on-the-town at Olive Garden?
Why not instead chow down on genuine Italian cuisine?
Authentic Italian food is an endangered species, diluted by chain restaurants and frozen recipes that promise the best of Italia but deliver processed products crated in tin cans. So-called “Italian” food has been altered to conform to mainstream American tastes in order to make a buck.
Repeat previous sentence. Substitute “food” with “2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC.” True or false?
Italy Visits America
Under Fiat ownership, Maserati was writing its will. Fiat sold the dying marque to Ferrari in 1997. Under the guidance of its new owner, Maserati prospered and re-entered the estranged American market in 2002. Within a few years, affluent Americans had resurrected Maserati. The U.S. soon accounted for approximately one-third of Maserati’s global sales, which many of those due to the GranTurismo, the marque’s 2+2 coupe.
Now that Maserati has recovered, it intends to dominate. It wants to sell at least 50,000 units globally by 2012. That is particularly ambitious, even foolhardy, considering that Maserati sold just 6,159 cars in 2011. GranTurismo models bore the lion’s share of that burden. Although Modena has plans to introduce three brand-new automobiles, the GranTurismo is likely to remain one of the marque’s most profitable and distinguished vehicles. Its success, and by contingency the success of Maserati, is dependent on its appeal to American buyers.
Enter the 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC, a special edition concocted specially for the North American market. How much Italian survived the transformation?
Does the Maserati Retains Its Flavor?
One glance at the sultry, menacing exterior and it is obvious that the coupe’s flamboyant Italian heritage came through unadulterated. From the front, it looks like an Aston Martin with the attitude of Mr. T. It’s flat-out breathtaking. Additions include a front skirt, reshaped proboscis, and rear spoiler. The boy-racer touches, courtesy of the Maserati Corse racing program, add 25 percent more downforce on the front and a whopping 50 percent of downforce at the rear at 124 mph.
Yet 124 mph is chump change compared to the GranTurismo MC’s unlimited top speed of 186 mph, the second-highest top speed in Maserati’s global lineup. The GranTurismo MC Stradale, a two-seat global iteration of the American-only MC, wins the gold at 187 mph. The 4,145-lb GranTurismo MC whips to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0.1 seconds faster than the base GranTurismo S Automatic, reviewed separately.
Is 0.1 seconds anything to get hot and bothered about? In the opinions of professional drivers, yes. The extra juice (11 horsepower) drunk by the GranTurismo MC, courtesy of its Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V8, delineates it from its smaller sibling. Thanks to less internal friction, the re-tuned powerplant also achieves superior fuel economy. Exhaust bypass valves open up in intense situations to unleash the soulful, livid roar of a Maserati in heat. The powerplant is mated to a ZF-sourced six-speed automatic transmission.
Cue the trolling. Yet what other than an automatic could do business in an Italian grand touring coupe? This is not a Porsche. In manual Sport mode the Maserati holds the gear at the redline, and shifts whip by in a PDK-like 200 milliseconds.
At least Maserati bestowed the gearheads with a traditional suspension. Compared to the base model, the GranTurismo MC is 10mm lower, 16 percent stiffer up front, and 32 percent more rigid out back. How does it handle? With the passion and inferno of Dante, somewhere between a Jaguar XK and Porsche 911, similar to an Aston Martin DBS, ready for the road, born for the horizon.
Adaptive dampers are available.
In the end, the American-only specialty of the GranTurismo MC is not its performance but its interior. The rest of the world gets two seats. America gets four. That means two more occupants have the privilege of enjoying the lustrous interior, cocooned in Poltrona Frau leather, sporty chrome accents, and more customizable design schemes than an episode of Cribs.
Or so the story goes. In reality, with 30.1 inches of rear legroom and 35.8 inches of rear headroom, the rear seats are glorified shelving units.
The six-figure sports car is equipped with all manner of luxurious amenities. Though certainly no bargain, the Maser has a voice-activated navigation system, power and heated front seats with memory functions, and an 11-speaker Bose sound system with digital storage and the requisite auxiliary ports.
The GranTurismo MC retains its Italian flavor, but is adapted slightly for American consumers. Its authenticity will be a true draw for buyers.
Engine: 4.7-liter V8: 444 hp @7,000 rpm/276 lb-ft of torque @4,750 rpm
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Economy: 13/21 mpg
0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
Base MSRP: $139,900
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