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."