2011 GranTurismo New Car Test Drive
The Maserati GranTurismo Convertible combines a spacious, finely executed interior with an engaging powertrain to create a fast, stylish and comfortable four-seat touring car. The GranTurismo Convertible is new to the North American market for 2011, and it's the first four-seat convertible in Maserati history.
Sun-loving buyers will appreciate a comfortable open-air experience, relatively free of wind buffeting, excessive noise, or compromised amenities.
The combined demands of high-performance, luxury, and open-top operation are notoriously difficult to reconcile. In the case of the GranTurismo Convertible, every effort has been made to overcome those conflicting priorities, so the car can offer the best of all three personalities.
The performance part of the design envelope is based on a high-revving, 433-horsepower V8 engine, mated to an adaptive six-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shift capability. The suspension consists of a four-link, coil-strut arrangement with active, electronically controlled damping on both ends. Powerful drilled-disc brakes supply confident braking control behind 20-inch wheels shod with low-profile Pirelli tires. A substantial 4365 pounds in weight, the Maserati can still do 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, and has a top speed of 178 mph.
Luxury and comfort considerations are built around a custom-crafted Pininfarina-styled coach that incorporates fine leather, rare wood, and uncommon consideration for the rear seat passengers. In the rear there is ample legroom and shoulder room for full-size adults, surround sound audio, and separate climate control. Interior detail is evident, including fine chrome rings around buttons and switches, and hand-sewn exposed stitching. The interior is available in 10 different colors with three choices of wood.
As with any ultra-luxury car, all adjustments are power controlled, including seats, folding mirrors and steering wheel. Features like navigation, high-end audio and iPod compatibility are built in. The dash and center console are simple and elegant.
The convertible top adds a final element of style and luxury to the Maserati. To keep the chassis from flexing without a roof, reinforcing steel has been used in the A-pillar, B-pillar, through the rocker panels and around the doors. These pieces add about 220 pounds to the convertible compared to the coupe version, a relatively modest increase for a convertible of this size and class. The convertible top is designed with a triple-layer fabric that does not balloon at high speeds. It can be redeployed in 28 seconds should the threat of rain approach.
Addressing the needs for greater security in a convertible are five anti-theft high-frequency sensors. The audio system is also adapted to open-top use, with an auto pilot noise sensor that adjusts volume depending on ambient sound levels.
Rollover protection is enhanced by two electronically controlled ejectable roll bars that can pop up in less than 190 milliseconds, whether the top is up or down. These roll bars, located behind the rear seats, plus the reinforced A-pillar, provide a survival area should the car overturn.
On the move, the Maserati has a wonderful dynamic quality. Accelerative performance is there when you want it, but the car does not have to be driven hard to be enjoyed. It rides smoothly on all kinds of surfaces and changes direction easily, without effort. The Sport mode noticeably stiffens the suspension, allows for firmer shifts, and opens up the exhaust. It all happens at the touch of a button, and back again. Driven in Sport mode, the car can be encouraging and forgiving at the same time, with fluid steering, strong-but-not-touchy brakes and an exhilarating exhaust note that builds above 3000 rpm.
Top-down air flow is well controlled and the driving is easy, with all four occupants sharing the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside. All this in a substantial four-door car capable of easy cruising at high speeds, top down or up.
A rare bird indeed, the Maserati GranTurismo will never exist in large numbers. The capacity at the Modena factory is roughly 800 units a year, but a rough estimate of production for 2011 is more like 600.
The 2011 Maserati GranTurismo comes in coupe and convertible body styles. The GranTurismo coupe is available with a 405-hp 4.2-liter V8 ($118,000) or a 433-hp 4.7-liter V8 ($122,000). The GranTurismo Convertible ($135,800) comes exclusively with the 4.7-liter V8.
Most cars are personalized at the time of purchase, then built on a flexible production line over a period of 4 to 6 months. Since each is built on order, with 14 exterior colors, choices of top color, wheel and caliper colors, there are over 2000 total exterior combinations.