Maserati sees the new sports coupé as a competitor to the 911 or BMW 8 Series. We were traveling with the 550 hp Granturismo Trofeo.
Even if this may be new to many: Maserati is one of the inventors of the modern sports car. It began when the free-standing wheels of racing cars were covered with body parts in Italy. We still feel committed to this heritage today, says head of design Klaus Busse. And on the gray Maserati Granturismo Trofeo on the gravel driveway in front of the hotel, it shows how graceful and elegant the sheet metal arches over the four wheels. The unsightly German term fender seems particularly inappropriate. According to Busse, it also explains why the new Granturismo is quite similar to its predecessor, although the new one is not only built on a completely different basis, but also has completely different drives.
"The Granturismo", explains the designer, "is meaningful for our brand, it should be recognizable." In short: the Granturismo is the essence of Maserati. No question, the new Granturismo looks beautiful, muscular, exciting, and yet never intrusive or playful.
There are also traditional drives. Here Maserati is returning to its almost forgotten roots: 90-degree V6, two turbochargers on the right and left of the cylinder bank, that was already the case with the Maserati Biturbo of the 80s and 90s.
Three-liter V6 from the MC20
Not that the V6 in Granturismo Modena and Trofeo has much in common with the biturbo from 1982 apart from these key data. The three-liter V6 with the beautiful name Nettuno (Neptune), which is also used in the MC20 super sports car, is a high-tech propellant with dual injection and pre-chamber ignition. In the Granturismo it comes with a little slowed down foam: 490 (Modena) or 550 (Trofeo) instead of the 630 hp in the MC20.
A Granturismo Trofeo is arriving for the first try, in the exclusive Prima Series equipment, of which there will only be 300 copies for special customers of the brand. Our Trofeo is in the color Grigio Lamiera, 75 copies are planned in this color. There are also 75 Granturismo each in Nero Cometa, Rame Folgore and Ink Blue. Lamiera means sheet metal in Italian, you might as well guess it yourself when the car is standing in front of you in the morning light north of Rome.
We board the tin gray Trofeo Prima series. And search. First the start button (on the left on the steering wheel), then the gear controls (switch bar between the navigation monitor and the climate touchscreen). Since we would prefer a grippy selector lever. Actuating the power transmission could be a little more emotionally charged than simply pressing a button, especially in a sports car like this. The buttons command the well-known ZF eight-speed automatic 8HP 75. It does its job as unobtrusively as calmly. There is a little more spectacle when the V6 is in manual mode up to 8.000 revolutions before the next gear is zapped in with a tug on the steering column-mounted, right-hand rocker switch.
Pampering air spring chassis
This is of course rarely necessary. Despite its extremely high liter output, the V6 is a casual companion that pushes like an ox from medium speeds and is acoustically pleasantly restrained. It gets a little louder in Sport mode, but adolescent droning isn't its style. That goes remarkably well with the character of a Gran Turismo. Of course, this means that you are often faster than expected in the 550 hp coupé.
So keep an eye on the speedometer and head-up display so that the tour doesn't degenerate over the ramified roads north of Rome. The Maserati soon gives up the pursuit of an ambitious Fiat 500 L as it rushes down the valley far beyond the Italian country road limit. It is much more relaxing to simply feel good in the Granturismo, firmly embedded in very firm, yet versatilely adjustable sports seats and pampered by an air spring chassis, which here in rural Lazio finds the right balance between confidence-inspiring firmness and acceptable comfort. In addition, the steering strives for transparency, is smooth-running, but not indifferent and reports hastily decreasing grip on the front wheels.
It all works so harmoniously that the high weight (1,795 kg) is not really noticeable. Even the fully electric Maserati Granturismo Folgore , which is allowed to do a short test lap for comparison, succeeds very convincingly. The electric GT, which has an output of up to 610 kW and 1,350 Nm, surprises on the road with easily controllable power and bumpy comfort. Positive here: no artificially overemphasized soundscape, but natural Stromer noises from the drive and power electronics. If you now want more: you can order the two versions with V6 from 178,278 euros (Trofeo: from 222,204 euros), the electric Folgore will be available in the second half of the year.
The new Maserati is a magnificent GT with a V6 with a strong character and a skilfully tuned chassis, wrapped in a beautiful, elegant body - the engineers and designers in Modena have already done a lot right. Of course, the fun doesn't come cheap. Nevertheless, as a Porsche or BMW driver, you can get stupid ideas from time to time.