WHEN I returned home from taking this car for a spin around the local area, I found a post-it note stuck to my front door with a message from a friend who lives locally. “Hi V,” it read. “I realised there’s a major flaw with your job. You’re missing out on some of the best engine notes money can buy because you’re in the damn things. This Mazza produces the best noise of any car you’ve had in the last few years, hands down.”
This raises an interesting question about the Maserati GranTurismo S. Is it better to be inside or outside it? On the one hand, it has a sublime interior in the finest Italian leather with the Maserati Trident embossed in the head restraints. It’s got rear seats too, seats that you can actually fit in, snugly but in a decent degree of comfort.
Externally, on the other hand, its design is so striking that I can’t imagine it not being appreciated by everyone. And there’s that growl. I can’t think of a simple way to communicate it to you. I went onto YouTube and searched for GranTurismo S, but there is not one example here that does the car’s sound justice. So for now, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
To get the best of both worlds, I decided that the only solution is to drive the GranTurismo S with the windows down.
When you step inside this car and press the Start button, the sound is raucous and expensive. Next, press the Sport button and ideally take it out of automatic. Ahead of you on the screen behind the steering wheel, MC-Shift will light up (you are now in manual paddle-shift mode) and the whole aural pitch drops several octaves. Now drive off, pulling the right paddle behind the wheel towards you. Change up – splutter splutter, crackle – and engage. Pure, unadulterated bliss.
How do Maserati create the perfect growl? It’s all to do with the Sport button which sidesteps part of the exhaust system and hastens the response to gearshifts. The MC-Shift (superfast sport shift) comes into play once the revs are over 5,500 and the throttle is open.
What we have here is the Sport version of the GranTurismo. It’s an altogether tighter, more racy machine compared to its sibling, which feels more of a grand tourer when you’ve been in this. Both cars share the same V8 engine built by Ferrari but modified specifically for Maserati.
With a 4.2 litre in the standard car compared with a 4.7 litre in the Sport there is rightfully a marked upsurge in power and torque (440bhp over 405bhp) and this combined with a lower ride height, stiffer springs and dampers – the latter aiding faster and more direct steering feedback too, which is what makes the GranTurismo Sport so utterly fantastic.
Driving the GT S during the icy, snowy conditions – and this being rear-wheel-drive – it’s not surprising that I had some unintentional drifts. Throw in a dab of steering and engine braking though and from the jaws of defeat comes triumph.
Gently apply the right foot again and change up through the six forward gears. The response is smooth and immediate, and via a brief intermission where there’s first a groan, then the detection of electronic help and the long straight road ahead beckons appealingly.
Windows down, and there’s a wham and a pow as you change down, flicking through the gears and revelling in the pleasure of the moment. There’s just you, the machine, an open A road and a crisp winter’s morning. It’s one hell of an engine note to start the year on.
0-62mph 4.9 secs
Max speed 183 mph
MPG (combined) 17.2
CO2 g/km 385
The Facts: MASERATI GRANTURISMO S
0-62mph: 4.9 secs
Top speed: 183mph
CO2 g/km: 385
MPG Combined: 17.2