I nonetheless keep in mind how I felt the primary time I noticed a Maserati GranTurismo. I used to be wandering by means of a Maserati dealership whereas my dad obtained his Jaguar XJ8 serviced on the adjoining lot. It was then, on the ripe younger age of 15, that I first laid eyes on what continues to be—in my humble opinion—one of the vital lovely cars of the final 20 years, maybe ever. After circling it a couple of instances, I let myself inside; the seller had, maybe unwisely, left the showroom mannequin unlocked.
That Alcantara-clad bucket seat, the tremendous leather-based virtually all over the place, and the expansive view over a endless hood swept me off my size-9 slip-on Vans. It was love at first sight, and I silently swore to myself sooner or later I’d, on the very least, drive this very Maserati. On the time, the aim appeared somewhat lofty. I used to be merely 15 years outdated, and this bona-fide supercar—with its supercar price ticket—appeared genuinely out of attain.
Fortunately, the day got here prior to anticipated and likewise simply in time. Your entire Maserati GranTurismo vary is now lifeless. The final instance rolled off the manufacturing line in November of final yr, and a substitute is already nicely underway. However earlier than it is all gone away for good, I used to be given the keys to this Modenese masterpiece for one final hurrah.
It’s true that every one marvel dies with age, however on this very uncommon case, I used to be struck with the identical emotions of affection and adoration I had as a teen. Strolling as much as it, I used to be transported again to that dealership. Sitting within the heat gentle of a June afternoon, it was simply as lovely as I had remembered. The one shoulder line that runs the size of the whole automobile, the peerlessly sculpted rear haunch, and the mile-long hood have been all simply as beautiful as I had remembered. Maybe it was even higher than I had remembered on this instance’s ($10,500) Rosso Magma paint and Cuoio (actually “leather-based” in Italian, on this case suggesting a pure leather-based hue) inside specification.
As soon as I snapped out of my nostalgia-induced drooling, I lastly hopped in and turned the important thing; sure, a key, it is that outdated. The Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V-Eight fired right into a wild, naturally aspirated roar. Abruptly, this automobile made much more sense than earlier than. I imply, actually: How may anybody reside with out listening to that sound each morning? The game button opens up the exhaust, and I am formally behind the wheel of a $168,925 thunderstorm.
Buckled up and prime lowered, off I went. Even the smallest throttle inputs end in large bellows from the again of the automobile, and the truth that there is not a roof to muffle any of the beautiful V-Eight noise solely makes it higher. I giggled like just a little child who’s simply carried out one thing naughty each time I opened the throttle. In my opinion, the Maserati GranTursimo Convertible is among the most lovely, best-sounding, splendidly useless automobiles to have existed on this aspect of Y2K; I can say that a lot with confidence.
However … there was at all times going to be a “however,” wasn’t there? On the floor of it, the whole lot concerning the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible is nice. Higher than nice. Unbelievable, even. However after its glowing first impression, the cracks within the façade began to point out, and so they regularly poked holes in a love story I wrote for myself once I first laid eyes on the automobile all these years in the past.
For starters, there’s that transmission. The six-speed automated is nicely over a decade outdated, however it feels prefer it might be older. That sport button that provides that wonderful exhaust notice at full roar additionally “sharpens” the shift high quality—if “sharpens” means “lurch the automobile ahead each time you attempt to come to a cushty cease” round city.
Taking management of the gearbox utilizing the huge paddles behind the wheel would not resolve the issue, both. Downshifts are tough to execute easily. Ask for one on the improper time, and the entire automobile screams in protest because the engine repeatedly rages towards its rev limiter. In brief, in the event you’re driving the GranTurismo round city, it is best to go away the game button off and pray that light driving will persuade the transmission to play good.
However it’s an outdated gearbox, and I used to be very happy to place the shortage of smoothness out of my thoughts for the sake of my little love story. I used to be in considered one of my dream automobiles in any case; it was by no means going to be good. I knew that entering into, and I needed to have the total Maserati expertise. And what higher technique to expertise a GranTurismo than with a grand-ish tour of my very own.
As a result of California fortunately provides up greater than 600 miles of beautiful shoreline to cruise up and down on, I assumed it might be a disgrace to not discover a few of it within the GT. Route 101 is a close to good drive. You get a great, lengthy take a look at locations like Pismo Seaside, the farmland that makes up a lot of the center of California, and the rocky shores of NorCal. However regardless of the breathtaking surroundings, I could not assist however discover the way in which the automobile rode over California’s poorly completed tarmac. I assumed this 16-foot lengthy barge would iron out all of the bumps within the street and make the journey straightforward. Uh, no. As a substitute, the automobile repeatedly shimmies and vibrates; on something however the smoothest of roads, you would possibly as nicely be driving over a washboard.
There is not sufficient rubber within the huge Maser’s suspension for one thing this heavy and roofless, and that stiffness solely exaggerates the way in which the chassis flexes beneath you. Often, the automobile is well-sorted and straightforward to drive like a great GT needs to be, however as a rule you are concentrating too laborious on managing the way in which it handles to take pleasure in your self, particularly if that journey up the coast takes you all the way in which from Los Angeles to Huge Sur, and also you’re on the street for six straight hours.
Piloting the scarlet grand tourer was a unbelievable expertise from an emotional standpoint—the wind in my hair, the solar on my pores and skin, and the fantastic engine notice behind me made that drive one to recollect. However although my dopamine receptors have been happy, my physique was not. By the point my journey was over, I felt battered and my again was extraordinarily sad with me. Spending 1 / 4 of the day driving may do this in any automobile, however I assumed the massive GT would do extra to counter the consequences of fatigue.
Once more, I used to be confirmed improper. After some time, the GranTurismo transforms from a joyous cruiser into a large quantity of labor, and that is simply not what a GT needs to be. I additionally had greater than sufficient time to note the entire plastic littered all through the cabin and the positively anachronistic show that sits between the blue tachometer and speedometer.
In the long run, the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible is one hell of a blended bag. It would not look misplaced in the event you have been to put in it as a everlasting exhibit within the Uffizi. However on the street, it fell nicely in need of my initially lofty expectations. An ages-old chassis, a poorly tuned transmission, and an inside that does not befit a $160,000 price ticket all maintain it an arm’s attain away from actual greatness. Even so, I am unable to await its substitute.
|2019 Maserati GranTurismo C Sport Convertible|
|LAYOUT||Entrance-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door convertible|
|ENGINE||4.7L/454-hp/384-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,400 lb (mfr)|
|L x W x H||193.three x 75.Four x 54.three in|
|0-60 MPH||4.7 sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||13/20/16 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||259/169 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.26 lb/mile|
|ON SALE||At the moment|