I don’t think I have ever looked so good stepping out of something. Walking out of business class from LHR to JFK is a close second, but even then you know you’re heading into passport control with the great unwashed. The Maserati Gran Turismo Sport lives in the rarefied atmosphere of the layer cake.
My first real super car experience was a jaunt across nonchalant France in a California a few years ago. Paris, Bordeaux and Le Mans were all taken in over the space of a week and it really forged my appreciation for the marque. We would only have two real days with the Maserati and so like many fleeting relationships, I didn’t know if it would take hold in time. What can you do in two days? Well, arguably that is enough time to remove the well-placed tracking device and fake your own death in order to keep it, but perhaps that’s a little full on.
I stood on the balcony for a good thirty minutes doing my usual market research with the car parked below. Basically I’ll stand there, coffee in hand, seeing how many of the local lawyers and advertising execs turn their heads. I can assure you that it is far easier to tally from that vantage point than it is whilst driving. The Maserati ranked highly. After all, it is achingly beautiful. The paint work was in Blu Sofisticato, this being the launch colour for the marque, available only on the sport model. A striking combination of regency and racing pedigree.
The Gran Turismo Sport has one of the most vicious looking front ends of any car ever built. Don’t stare, just carry on walking. Remember that guy at school that could pick up any girl? Well, the Turismo is him, on speed. You’re looking at a 4.7 litre V8 delivering 460hp. To say it is quick is an understatement; it is world-endingly quick. Its subtle and debonair Italian lines indeed give it a refined allure. It blends elegance and immediacy in a way that I haven’t quite managed to describe just yet. From certain angles, it looks like it could be taking the Italian PM to an evening soiree, then from another it looks like it has just left the scene of an assassination, smoking gun concealed in the glove compartment.
The whole time we had the Maserati, I continued to see it in different lights. Around town it was a precision tool whilst I played point and counter point with gaps in traffic. On an open stretch of an A road, all I could think about was power. We all have our angels and demons but there is a reptilian glee in all of us as we plant the accelerator on a V8 and smoke up the road. A sort of wide-eyed, adrenalin-fuelled, one man mission to G-Force. My musings on the GT may seem somewhat sycophantic but I can assure you, all will be forgiven the moment you drive one.
However, let’s not put the Turismo ‘squarely’ into the racing category alone. Let us consider pedigree. I have to the best of my knowledge never seen the GranTurismo in a rap video. This tells me that it is the motoring aficionado’s choice. Not fuelled by ‘dollar bills’ and a penchant for Grey Goose but perhaps a case of bullion and a Partagas Piramides Le 2000.
The ride position is poised. You feel connected to the car in the same way you would a well-cut suit. It very quickly becomes an extension of your synaptic being. Almost everyone that sat in it or came for a drive had to be crowbarred out by a burly member of the security team. I only found myself needing security on one occasion driving the GranTurismo. I pulled out slowly on a very quiet side street in Long Ashton and found an old lady in a Nissan Micra quite irate that I had thought the 150 metres of distance between us was enough. I confess that I did act like an Italian with a temper and I doubt she knew what some of the four-letter words even meant. However I did think she understood the unspoken language of a wet sump-lubricated, 520 nm torque V8 engine note heading into the distance. I don’t think my driving would have been quite so ‘direct’ had the driving position not been so forthright. The steering wheel has thumb placement areas, almost as if the previous driver had embedded them whilst over indulging. This isn’t me waxing lyrical, it is designed to evoke a more muscular look and enhance handling during more aggressive drives.
The GranTurismo comes with two gearbox options, a six-speed, automatic ZF set up equipped with MC Auto Shift software or a sequential, six-speed gearbox with a twin-disc clutch. Obviously with this power and control comes stopping ability in the form of dual cast Brembo six-piston callipers and a four-piston unit bringing up the rear.
The Maserati was a captivating drive; a chameleon that took me from extreme to extreme. From cruising effortlessly and in sumptuous comfort to racing from the primordial ooze increasingly faster into the distance. My wide-eyed fixed glare being the only constant as terrain upon terrain raced past my peripheral vision. If we run an Arrive & Drive event this year, we can guarantee that those of you that receive an invite now know our preferred partner.