2009 Maserati GranTurismo Review

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Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
August 7, 2009

The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo will satisfy even the most finicky high-end coupe buyers, giving them a truly exclusive look and feel—and the sound of a Ferrari.

TheCarConnection.com has read reviews of the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo from a range of consumer and enthusiast publications to bring you the highlights. TheCarConnection.com editors have also driven the GranTurismo and include firsthand impressions and assessments here in this Bottom Line.

The Maserati GranTurismo went on sale last year, replacing the former GranSport model. This year a GranTurismo S, equipped with a new auto-clutch manual gearbox, joins the lineup.

The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo has a sleek and voluptuous silhouette, but only up close will you realize how low the front end sits and how absolutely curvaceous the sheetmetal is, especially at the front fenders. The GranTurismo is anything but slab-sided at the back as well; the rear fenders are dramatically flared, with a well-defined fender. It's not quite design perfection—the front grille is almost too big for the rest of the proportions—but it's darned close.

Inside the GranTurismo, the seats and seatwells are a bit narrower than in other coupes, and the seats—which look great—actually feel a bit flat. There are officially two seats in back, but they're just too cramped for adults, and even kids will have trouble getting in and out smoothly. The pillars slope inward aggressively to the roof, so headroom is limited, even though the driving position is low. Overall, the driving position is much friendlier for the tall and large than in Maseratis (and most Italian cars) of the past. The trunk is also only large enough for a small suitcase or a couple of modest duffel bags.

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The standard 2009 Maserati GranTurismo features a 405-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8, while the 4.7-liter version in the S makes 433 horsepower; both engines are a variation of the V-8 mounted mid-ship in Ferraris.

The 2009 GranTurismo comes with two different transmissions, depending on the variant. Standard GranTurismos get a six-speed XF automatic transmission. It's an excellent replacement for the old Duo-Select automated manual gearbox, which was perhaps the least favorite automated manual to date. The ZF automatic shifts very quickly and decisively, and it seems to react more promptly to throttle inputs and steep grades than most automatics. Click the paddles alongside the steering wheel and it almost instantaneously commands a shift. Shifting for the Gran Turismo S is accomplished by a new six-speed automated manual that can pull off gunshot-style maneuvers in just 100 milliseconds. A GranTurismo S Automatic model is expected later in the model year. The dash to 60 mph takes 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 177 mph, while the S gets there in 4.5 seconds and up to 183 mph.

The 2009 GranTurismo is a little heavier than some of its rivals, but it still feels relatively nimble in tight corners, and the quick-ratio steering helps it attack tight hairpins with the enthusiasm of a smaller, lighter coupe. Its Skyhook suspension allows very little body motion in quick transitions, yet provides a smooth yet firm ride; selecting Sport will further firm it up and elicit a more abrupt throttle response. Only on roughly patched concrete does the ride become a bit jiggly in Sport mode. Brakes will take a little getting used to for most drivers; the pedal has an almost excessive firmness you'd otherwise find only in exotics or old classics, but their stopping power is tremendous.

In relaxed driving, the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo is remarkably civilized. Despite the engine's raucous demeanor when revved, its idle is just as smooth as that of other luxury coupes, and simply in Drive with the Sport button off, it's a relaxed high-speed cruiser that won't wear you down with noise and vibration.

The GranTurismo's cabin feels intimate, thanks to excellent materials and soft, minimally processed leather—not the stiff slippery kind you'll find on mass-produced luxury coupes. Only the dull black plastic of the switchgear and audio faceplate speak otherwise. GranTurismos are built to order and highly customizable, offered with eight different upholstery colors (including the very bright-red Rosso Corallo), three different wood veneers, 10 different dash surfaces, plus a tremendous number of combinations for steering-wheel trim, carpets, and seat stitching.
While the exclusive, customizable interior and abundance of traditional luxury comforts dominate, the 2009 GranTurismo doesn't have some of the latest high-tech factory-installed necessities like satellite radio or well-integrated Bluetooth.

The Maserati GranTurismo has not been crash-tested, but the safety-feature list is competitive; seat-mounted side airbags and head-protecting curtain bags are included, along with anti-lock brakes and stability control.

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2009 Maserati GranTurismo

Styling

An instant automotive design icon, the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo flows seamlessly from grille to taillights, with curves and creases in all the right places.

Maserati has been an automotive icon for decades, but the brand's recent revival is epitomized by the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo, a sporty GT that features one of the sexiest and most captivating designs on the road today.

Reviewers from all types of publications express unanimous approval of the exterior design of the new 2009 Maserati GranTurismo. Road & Track calls the sporty coupe a "stylish Italian grand tourer that through the judicious application of high technology has the heart of a true sporting machine." Car and Driver reviewers simply refer to the Maserati GranTurismo as "a Modenese masterpiece." For those not familiar with the Maserati 2009 GranTurismo, Edmunds describes it as "a four-passenger grand touring coupe available in two trim levels—base and S." From the exterior, there is little to distinguish between the two models; Motor Trend notes that the "visual mods are subtle" and limited to "a small spoiler on the rear deck, revised rocker panels, and a black grille and headlamp casings" for the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo S. Other than those changes, Edmunds says the Maserati 2009 GranTurismo lineup "looks like nothing else on the road—in a very good way." The word that the automotive press used most commonly used to describe the Maserati GranTurismo is "seductive," and the editors at TheCarConnection.com can't agree more.

The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo features an elegant and luxurious design inside the cabin as well, although there are a few problems with control placement. The most glaring flaw is called out by Road & Track reviewers, who say that "you have to be positive in stabbing the brake pedal—it is positioned close to the gas pedal to facilitate heel-and-toe operation of the manual versions of the S and you can be caught out by applying both the brake and throttle if you're not careful." The other major complaint comes from ConsumerGuide, where testers feel that "the standard navigation system is a nightmare of nonsensical buttons and knobs...requiring lengthy study before use." On the positive side, Car and Driver considers the "ergonomics are mostly the antithesis of Italian tradition," with the driver placed "in proper relationship with primary and secondary controls," although they point out that "the signal and wiper stalks were a little too far away." Overall, however, reviewers tend to side with Edmunds, which remarks that the Maserati GranTurismo's "leather-cased interior is warm, inviting and highly customizable," with a "driving position [that] is first-rate."

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2009 Maserati GranTurismo

Performance

The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo handles with remarkable prowess, considering its overall level of ride comfort.

With the introduction of the Maserati GranTurismo S last year, the Maserati 2009 lineup of sports GTs is equal to anything else in the class. Thankfully, Maserati ditches the previous Maserati GranTurismo's transmission this year, opting for a new ZF transmission that reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate is among the best available.

The two versions of Maserati's 2009 GranTurismo model are each powered by a different V-8 engine. Car and Driver reports that base Maserati GranTurismo models comes with "a 405-hp, 4.2-liter wet-sump iteration of the engine you'd normally locate in the middle of a Ferrari F430," while the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo "S gets a new version of Maserati's Ferrari-derived aluminum V-8," which displaces 4.7 liters and pumps out "433 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque."

Both engines emit a ferocious sound, but the Maserati GranTurismo S is understandably more intimidating and enjoyable to hear at full throttle; Automobile Magazine states that "there are faster cars than the GranTurismo S, but none of them make more intoxicating sounds when you select the Sport mode, thereby opening a bypass in the exhaust and liberating countless decibels of race-car-style mayhem." ConsumerGuide raves about the Maserati GranTurismo's passing power, finding that "once underway the engine shines...pulling vigorously as revs climb." Acceleration numbers are brisk, with Automobile Magazine noting that the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo S "leaps from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds."

The big news for Maserati's 2009 GranTurismo lineup is the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo S Automatic, which Road & Track calls "one of the best sequential-shift torque-converter transmissions in the world." Car and Driver claims that the clutchless manual's "full automatic mode is irritatingly slow." However, they also point out that "the Maserati marketeers say this shouldn't matter because the S should be regarded—and driven—as a manual." The base Maserati GranTurismo gets the ZF automatic from the GranTurismo S Automatic, and Car and Driver reports that "every shift is a crisp rifle shot preceded by matching revs, followed instantly by a big green LED informing what gear has been summoned." No matter how good the automated transmissions are, Edmunds reviewers opine that they would "still like to row [their] own gears with one of those iconic Italian gated shifters," but in their absence, the "S model's crisp automated manual has placated [them] to some extent."

The one problem with marketing the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo as a grand touring car is that it needs rather frequent fill-ups, thanks to an EPA-estimated gas mileage of 12 mpg city and 19 mpg on the highway. In the world of ultra-luxury sports cars, however, those numbers aren't all that bad. Consider, for example, that the Ferrari F430, which shares a similar engine to the V-8 found in the Maserati GranTurismo, gets 11 mpg city and 16 mpg on the highway.

The wondrous suspension that regulates the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo lineup affords an impressive combination of ride quality and performance. Car and Driver testers find that "the car always felt stable, nicely planted, and free of extraneous body motions," while the ride is "firm but never intrusive." TheCarConnection.com's research supports both of those claims, as ConsumerGuide reports that "every nuance of the road surface is felt but effectively filtered, with no harshness or crashing." The major handling complaint comes from Car and Driver, where reviewers object to the fact that the steering is "too heavy at all speeds" with "some slop on-center."

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2009 Maserati GranTurismo

Comfort & Quality

The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo boasts a world-class interior and beautiful-sounding engine, but it's hard to find the practical side to this grand tourer.

The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo's interior contains very few quality oversights, but at this price level even a few are too many. Also, despite its billing as a long-distance cruiser, the Maserati GranTurismo's seats lose their comfort after some time behind the wheel, and the cargo area won't accommodate any meaningful amount of luggage.

Inside the cabin of the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo, occupants will be treated to well-bolstered and very supportive seats at all four seating positions. Road & Track feels that the "leather covered bucket seats are...extremely comfortable," but Car and Driver counters that "they're great for short bursts of spirited driving but can induce some squirming in the second hour of occupancy." At least there is a decent amount of room up front, as ConsumerGuide reports "sufficient headroom and legroom for most folks" and the pair of "large, wide-opening doors [makes] entry and exit easy." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com tend to vilify the backseats; Car and Driver testers compare jumping in the back of the Maserati 2009 GranTurismo to "sitting in a dark cistern." ConsumerGuide praises the rear seats for their "surprising adult space," although they qualify the statement by adding there is only decent space "if that adult is small and the trip is short." While the rear seats are far from the most cramped in the segment, the Maserati GranTurismo isn't the kind of car in which you'll bring three adult friends to the golf links.

Aside from the smallish rear seats, there is one other factor preventing a trip to the local golf course: the lack of storage space. Car and Driver says the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo's "trunk is small," and although Maserati claims that, "supposedly, it will hold a bag of clubs," Car and Driver muses "perhaps Maserati meant miniature golf." Inside the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo's cabin, ConsumerGuide finds that "interior storage is limited to an average-sized center console and smallish glovebox."

The name Maserati has become synonymous with high-quality, luxurious automobiles for the current generation of GT buyers, and the Maserati 2009 GranTurismo easily steps into the role of top-flight luxury car. Road & Track says "the fit and finish of the cockpit is first rate," while ConsumerGuide calls the Maserati GranTurismo's cabin "more private library than car interior." Car and Driver reviewers are exceedingly impressed by the fact that "[t]en shades of skins are on offer" for the leather interior, "and they can be endlessly mixed and matched to upholster seats, dash, parcel shelf, trunk, steering wheel, shifter, and headliner." However, even this beauty isn't without its flaws, as Car and Driver points out "two substandard items: the radio's plasticky faceplate and a bone-white accelerator scuff plate that is in jarring contrast with the rich black carpet."

Out on the road, Maserati's 2009 GranTurismo isn't as quiet as you might expect, but it's not road or wind noise that intrudes into the sumptuous cockpit. Rather, ConsumerGuide points out that the sound is "more music than mechanical noise," as "the GranTurismo's engine is a delight to hear rev," which is a good thing since "the engine is always heard, even in relaxed cruising." Car and Driver adds that "eighty dBA at wide-open whack...is a lot of sound. But at least it's a good sound."

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2009 Maserati GranTurismo

Safety

There are cars with more safety features, but the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo promises as much safety as most luxury sport coupes.

At this price point, buyers aren't comparing crash-test scores, so it's no surprise that neither NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo.

In keeping with domestic safety standards, the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo sports a full complement of airbags. The inflatable protection includes both front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Edmunds also reports that the Maserati GranTurismo "comes standard with antilock brakes, [and] stability control." While the stability control might not be as advanced as those on some competitors, it does allow for quite a bit of fun behind the wheel before kicking in to keep things from getting truly out of control.

Unfortunately, despite the standard safety features found on the Maserati 2009 GranTurismo, one major problem rears its head and brings the Maserati GranTurismo's score down significantly. Car and Driver reports that the "sightlines are mediocre" from the driver's seat of the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo, as they are "hindered by a small backlight and the fat A- and C-pillars." While the sheetmetal may obstruct the view in some directions, Edmunds says that parking maneuvers in the Maserati GranTurismo are made easier by the standard "rear parking sensors."

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2009 Maserati GranTurismo

Features

It's not as tech-savvy as a top-end Mercedes, but the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo is a wonder of built-to-order production.

The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo will set you back at least $120,000, and in that rarefied price range, its features list comes up somewhat short compared to the competition.

Customization is the name of the game for the new Maserati GranTurismo, although a few standard features make their way inside all Maserati 2009 GranTurismo models. Edmunds reviewers point out that both versions of the Maserati 2009 GranTurismo include "Brembo brakes...adaptive bi-xenon headlamps with washers, foglamps, heated exterior mirrors, [and] rear parking sensors." Edmunds goes on to list "leather upholstery [and] heated power front seats with memory and dual-zone automatic climate control" among the standard features on the Maserati GranTurismo. The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo also gets a voice-activated Bose multimedia system, which is new for 2009 and comes with a 30-gigabyte hard drive and navigation function.

The only major difference in features between the Maserati GranTurismo and the GranTurismo S is that the S gets aluminum pedals underfoot and a digital tach in the forward instrument cluster. While this list is acceptable and luxurious, TheCarConnection.com's editors are disappointed that the latest in high-tech gear is conspicuously absent from the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo's otherwise stellar cabin.

Maserati has always courted deep-pocketed buyers, and the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo is definitely for the well-heeled set. Considering that most Maserati buyers have cash to burn, it's no surprise that Maserati offers a number of available optional features and packages for the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo. Edmunds feels that the "options list is notable for its dizzying customization possibilities," as even the "brake calipers can be painted any of five additional colors." Maserati GranTurismos can be built to order, and they are available with "[t]en shades of skin" for the interior leather, which "can be endlessly mixed and matched," according to Car and Driver.

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