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2013 Maserati GranTurismo Review

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9.0
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The Car Connection Expert Review

Earthy exhaust tones and serene handling carve out a distinctive niche for the fabulous Maserati GranTurismo.

If you're carrying around baggage in life, it may as well be Italian, and exotically made. You'll still have to leave most of it at home, if you're piloting a Maserati GranTurismo. Because for everything it does in scintillating fashion, about the only thing it doesn't do is ferry a week's worth of Samsonite.

You'll want the cachet of the custom-fitted luggage that's on the option sheet, just to keep up with the GranTurismo's grand couturier style. So much more effusive and curvaceous than the GranSport it replaced, the GranTurismo could have had just one mission, to be one of of the most stunning vehicles on the planet. By any measure it's gorgeous, with suggestive hips and a come-hither front end wrapped around a soothingly refined interior fitted with your choice from a palette of trims and finishes and exquisite details, like embroidered logos on the seats.

The Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V-8 under the hood couldn't be more sonorous if it tried. This year all versions make at minimum the power rated by the top versions just last year. It's 444 horsepower on the base Convertible, and 454 hp on the coupes and the Convertible Sport. A six-speed ZF automatic is the sole transmission, but it's also upgraded with sport shifting, throttle-blipping, and blessed with very rapid reflexes. The best GranTurismo will drop 60-mph runs in 4.7 seconds, right in Aston and Jaguar territory but a second slower at least than the fastest Porsches in the price range. All the while, it's issuing out that spectacular engine note--alone, more soulful than any spec-sheet champ we've driven. That must count for something in a universe of data-driven supercars.

The MC coupe carries on with a track-tuned steel suspension, but all other versions--and the MC, optionally--sport the Skyhook air suspension that endows the GranTurismo with effortless, fluid handling that distinguishes great grand tourers like this, like the Jaguar XK, like the Mercedes-Benz SL.

The Ferrari-inspired engine is an awesome piece, but the GranTurismo's four-seat cabin is the real rarity, and a useful one. We're not suggesting you stuff NBA recruits back there, but the rear seats are usable for all but the biggest adults. The trunk has just enough room for a pair of weekend bags.

Elsewhere, the GranTurismo's up to date with technology, including a standard navigation system, Bluetooth, and a Bose audio system. The options list blooms with cosmetic frills and haute-coutuore fillips-- custom-stitched seats, a choice of wood trim and differently colored leathers stitched on the seats, steering wheel and dash. You'd be missing the point if you didn't spend for the red-painted calipers or the trident-embroidered headrests.

That custom look and feel is the point, in case you missed it in the blur of rushing landscape and the Doppler snarl of the sport exhaust. The GranTurismo's not about logical decisions. It's the Italian analogue to Jaguar XK, another car that warms your heart well before it sinks into your brain. They're gentleman's GTs, nearly bespoke in style as well as in pricetag, distinctive and worthy because of what they're not.

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