2013 Maserati GranTurismo Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
August 20, 2012

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.

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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.

10

2013 Maserati GranTurismo

Styling

The Maserati GranTurismo isn't just good-looking--it's bewitching.

One of the most elegant, beautiful designs in Maserati history, the GranTurismo makes us forget the awkward geometry of the old Biturbo and the thick dullness of the GranCoupe that paved the way for it.

It's a standout piece of styling that's as exciting as it is enduring. Yes, it's full of stereotypical curves and lissome lines, and they're perfectly balanced and voluptuous. The rear quarters echo the muscular ones on a 944 or a Camaro, and the sleek wedge that lifts the lines from nose to tail is played up for maximum sensuality. The convertible gives the shape even more pronounced hips--never a bad thing. This year, all versions take on the tougher front air dam from the MC Sport, and it's a bit thicker and less graceful than it was, but the trident logo on the oval grille still stands out, front and center.

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The interior's just as seductive. The control layout's globalized and without the irritating ergonomic lapses of the past, and it's slathered in the most attractive mix of leather and wood and metal this side of a Jaguar XK. The gentle dip across the dash that nestles the shield-shaped clock is perfectly understated, and it's played up when a two-tone combination of trim is specified. That's the dirty-capitalist fun part of ordering a GranTurismo--choosing Bianco Pregiato leather over Grigio Chrono, painting your brake calipers yellow or black, having your headrests stitched with tridents in red thread or black. Personally, we'd leave the cliched carbon-fiber trim behind, but you're free to make awful choices with your money. That's awfully hard to do given the impeccably tasteful options on the table.
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2013 Maserati GranTurismo

Performance

A grand tourer with a Ferrari roar and the compliance of a Jaguar, the GranTurismo earns its "GT" with a marvelous mix of ride and handling.

With a raucous V-8 under the hood and graceful dynamics underfoot, the Maserati GranTurismo feels as fluid as it looks, at rest or at speed.

Last year Maserati made the 4.7-liter V-8--derived from Ferrari designs--standard on either body style. This year, all versions are uprated, with the base convertible being the only model with 44 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque--this year's lowest specific output, but last year's peak figures. All other versions gain 10 hp for a total of 454 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. The trip up the powerband is a thrill ride with an aural soundtrack second to none: it makes a beautiful noise as it stabs at the redline, pouring on acceleration and barking out a staccato rap through a sport-exhaust system that can get a little boomy at times.

All versions now adopt the upgraded six-speed ZF automatic with sport controls, once reserved for the MC and Sport models. Quick gearchanges, a manual mode that holds gears, and throttle-blipping on downshifts makes it a decisive transmission that makes perfect sense in a grand tourer, and soothes over the lack of a manual transmission.

The drivetrain yields tight performance numbers, with the coupes zipping to 60 mph in an estimated 4.7 seconds, reaching a top speed of 185 mph. The base Sport convertible takes 5.1 seconds to hit 60 mph and reaches 177 mph; the Sport convertible shaves two-tenths of a second off the 60-mph times and reaches the same top speed. All figures are marginally quicker than in 2012.

The Ferrari-inspired soundtrack and performance will lure you, and the GranTurismo's beautifully sorted-out handling will woo you to the Italian school of grand touring. It's nimble--no, you don't need "for its size" here--aided by quick steering and a near-ideal weight balance, front to rear. Amateurs can feel out the car's limits without too much worry, and the GranTurismo's compliant enough to absorb some bad driving and still make it look good. The ground-hugging weight of almost 4,400 pounds helps here, but so does the automatic Skyhook suspension, which has choices for normal or Sport reflexes, both of them being well inside the luxury-car limits of comfort. There's little uncontrolled body motion in the GranTurismo, and Sport mode firms up the ride even further, while it sharpens throttle response. Big Brembo brakes have excellent feel that will remind you of some more exotic machines.

The GranTurismo MC has an asterisk here for its standard single-rate suspension. Skyhook's still an option, but the MC comes from the factory ready for competition, with standard springs and shocks, the sport transmission, a limited-slip differential, sport-tweaked stability control, and Pirelli PZero Corsa tires, 245/35-ZR20 fronts and 285/35-ZR20 rears. Collectors and racers will love its absolutely flat cornering and the carbon-fiber trim, but everyone else will be better suited in a Skyhook-equipped car with all the opulent wood trimming.

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2013 Maserati GranTurismo

Comfort & Quality

There's a bit more space in the rear than in most GTs, but the GranTurismo's lucky passengers get to sit in front.

The Maserati GranTurismo is a classic gentleman's GT--a luxurious coupe or convertible, with ample room for two people and occasional room for another consenting pair of adults, so long as they can all leave most of their baggage behind.

Somewhat larger than other GTs like the Jaguar XK, the GranTurismo rides on a 115.8-inch wheelbase, and is 192.2 inches long. At that size, it's able to deliver a superior amount of front-seat room, with excellent comfort for long-distance drives. It's not that the available space is particularly expansive--head and leg room are fine, not excessive--it's that other touring cars are notably smaller.

This year, Maserati's traded out the firm, slightly narrow seats of previous models for sport seats that it promises deliver more comfortable cushioning but more support in sporty driving as well.

The back seat? It can feel a little confining, and the tallest passengers won't be quiet about the accommodations for long. Most everyone else will be able to make do with the back-seat space, and fairly long doors make the rear seats fairly easy to clamber into. Most other GTs don't even offer the rear seats, but the GranTurismo's usable rear buckets are one of the better reasons to opt for it over the likes of the Jaguar XK or the Mercedes-Benz SL.

Cargo space is moderate. Maserati claims a pair of golf bags will fit; for non-golfers, think more like a pair of roll-aboard bags and some soft-sided luggage. At 6.1 cubic feet, the trunk's about the same size as the one in the Mercedes-Benz SLS roadster and gullwing. It's not tremendous--but Maserati will sell you a custom-made, custom-fitted set of luggage to take up every cubic inch.

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2013 Maserati GranTurismo

Safety

No safety tests have been performed, but the big Maserati coupe adds standard front parking sensors this year.

There's no data yet to support a higher rating, but we're scoring the 2013 Maserati GranTurismo fairly well due to its list of standard safety equipment.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet crash-tested the GranTurismo, and for a couple of likely reasons: it's a low-volume sportscar with a high pricetag. It's not unusual for luxury cars to run into this situation, and it's not likely to change in the GranTurismo's current life cycle.

The GranTurismo lineup does have the usual assortment of front and side airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes. Convertibles also get pop-up rollover bars that deploy in case an accident threatens a rollover accidents. The stability control is tuned for more wheelspin when Sport mode is engaged on models offering it.

Bluetooth and front and rear parking sensors are standard equipment, but the GranTurismo doesn't offer a rearview camera. It could use one, since its low seating position makes rearward visibility a challenge even in the convertible.

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2013 Maserati GranTurismo

Features

Above and beyond its conveniences, the GranTurismo sets out a fashionable palette of colors and trims for owners.

Custom-tailored if you like, the couturier coupe and convertible from Maserati offer almost every expected luxury feature and option, along with the choice of finishes and stitching that elevate its beautiful lines to an even more distinctive level.

From a base price of more than $125,000 for the coupe, the GranTurismo lineup rises to more than $143,000 for the MC. It counts in its family four models: the base GranTurismo S Coupe has been replaced by the new entry Sport model, but the base Convertible and Convertible Sport remain, all capped by the track-tinged MC coupe. 

All these versions have standard power windows, locks, and mirrors; an AM/FM/CD audio system with satellite radio and USB connectivity; Bluetooth; a hard-drive-based navigation system with 30GB of storage for other media; automatic climate control; leather upholstery; power heated front seats; red-painted brake calipers; front and rear parking sensors; and 20-inch wheels. The convertibles have a three-layer, power-operated top with a glass rear window. A wind deflector is an option.

The GranTurismo Coupe now has them as standard, but the Convertible Sport adds performance pieces optional on the base ragtop. Those pieces include a sport-tuned suspension; smoked metallic trim; and a front spoiler.

On all versions, a dazzling array of color and trim options greet owners. You can paint the brake calipers any of seven different colors, choose two-tone leather treatments, even order the Maserati trident logo embroidered on the seats' headrests. The finishes include carbon-fiber pieces that can be fitted to the Convertible Sport--they come standard on the MC.

The MC also has its own array of specific standard equipment. In addition to sport suspension and transmission tuning, the MC gets bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive control; dark metallic trim; and aluminum pedals and shift paddles.

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If you're looking for a bargain on the options list, you might be tempted to spec a standard coupe to MC spec. Maserati figures you can almost do it--but it reserves the sport-shift paddles and other trim to the MC model alone.
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2013 Maserati GranTurismo

Fuel Economy

A strong V-8 and room for four? A recipe for relatively low gas mileage, even in its class.

Gas mileage isn't usually a big GT's ally. The 2013 Maserati GranTurismo doesn't change that pattern--it's not much different from the Jaguar XK or Mercedes-Benz SL in its low fuel economy.

The EPA rates the GranTurismo coupe at 13/21 mpg, and 16 mpg combined. The GranTurismo Convertible weighs more, and its numbers fall to 13/20 mpg or 16 mpg combined as a result.

On a firsthand note, we've observed figures as high as 16 mpg, even when charging hard through a desert canyon or two in the GranTurismo coupe, but that's probably the most you'll see with regular use--especially if you keep its V-8 in the best-sounding part of its powerband.

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Styling 10
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 9
Fuel Economy 5
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