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Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 Maserati GranCabrio

The Maserati GranTurismo is arguably one of the prettiest cars created to this day. The GranTurismo was designed by classic Italian Car designer Pininfarina. The GranTurismo is a 4 seater, 2 door grand tourer that has a beautifully shaped body that makes it unmistakeably an Italian wonder. Performance wise, the GranTurismo did quite well for a car weighing just over 4000 pounds. With its original 400 horsepower 4.2 liter V8 and automatic transmission, it accelerated from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 177 miles per hour. Maserati did not feel this was enough and went on to produce the Maserati GranTurismo S which has a massive 4.7 liter V8 with 443 horsepower that rockets it from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds with a top speed of 183 miles per hour.. The new and improved GranTurismo S not only received engine upgrades, but also got a new Skyhook adaptive suspension system, improved exhaust system, improved braking system, and a semi-automatic MC-Shift gearbox. The MC-shift gearbox later was removed due to emissions issues in the United States and now all GranTurismos are solely automatics. Now, three years after production, Maserati is putting a convertible version of this amazing car into production.

Maserati's newest creation is called the GranCabrio. The GranCabrio has now claimed the spot in my mind of the most beautiful car ever created. Usually, when cars undergo the transformation from coupe into soft-top convertible, they lose some of their form and don't look as good as their hardtop counterparts. The GranCabrio lost none of its beauty and looks absolutely amazing in convertible form. The GranCabrio shares the exact same underpinnings as the GranTurismo S with the same 433 horsepower 4.7 liter V8 engine and Skyhook suspension. The GranCabrio though, weighs 4,365 pounds which is about a 150 pound increase over its coupe counterparts because of the new convertible mechanism in the car. This weight gain does sacrifice some performance though. The GranCabrio makes 0-60 in 5.3 seconds with a top speed of 176 which is quite impressive for a car of its weight. It retains the 6 speed adaptive automatic transmission of the latest GranTurismo S and also has paddle shifters for optional manual override. The GranCabrio will convert from coupe to convertible in an impressive 24 seconds. According to a Maserati press release, "the GranCabrio's roof is strictly canvas-made, emphasizing the link with the Maserati tradition." Another plus about the car's roof is that once stowed in the trunk, no trunk space is lost which is a problem with most convertibles.

Over the weekend I got the exclusive opportunity to attend the double launch event of the 2010 Lotus Evora and Maserati GranCabrio at the Cars and Coffee meet at St. Louis Motorsports. Because the GranCabrio has not been released to the public yet, there are absolutely no car reviews and very little information available about it. So, to further my knowledge on this car and get some questions answered, I talked to a very nice and knowledgeable sales representative named David about the cars. While discussing the matter of the convertible top, I asked him why Maserati did not make the GranCabrio a retractable hard top convertible instead. He went on to tell me that a few years prior when the parent company of Maserati and Ferrari (Fiat S.p.A.) was planning out their range of models in years to come, there was a debate of which car would get the retractable hard top between the Ferrari California and the Maserati GranCabrio and the California ended up getting it. During our discussion, I found out that because the GranCabrio on display was one of only several in the United States right now that Maserati would fine the dealership a whopping $20,000 if there were any miles at all put onto the car. Because of this, I was not able to see the car started to record its beautiful exhaust note. If you are interested as to what it sounds like, here is a video of a GranTurismo S accelerating which is the exact same sound from a GranCabrio (skip to 3:36).The sound of the GranTurismo S was aptly described by Robert Farago, editor for "The Truth About Cars". He said, "Those of you partial to the sound of an Italian V8 (i.e. anyone with a pulse) should note that the GranTurismo S’ symphony of wailing, thrashing and screaming is as good as it gets."


The exterior styling is impressive with the six soft top color options, the fourteen body colors and the six different wheel options. The interior though, is what must be highlighted here. The GranCabrio is best in class for its interior space. The GranCabrio is a 4 seater, 2 door car. When you hear this, you think that there is no human way anyone can fit in the backseat (which is the case with the Lotus Evora where the sales associate jokingly described it as only amputees can fit in the rear seats). The GranCabrio though, has space to seat four adult men comfortably. As you can see below, the seats are quite large for a car like this.

In the above two pictures, it is visible how luxuriously the GranCabrio is on the interior. The car is built to be a quick, sporty, luxurious, and spacious car. The GranCabrio appeals to a very wide market because it is easy to drive, luxurious, able to be a daily driver, and quite affordable compared to most luxury sports cars. According to David, the sales associate I talked to at St. Louis Motorsports, the base price starts at $142,000 which is a very good deal for a car like this. This car is both one of the best looking and one of the best sounding cars ever produced in my opinion. One day, I hope to own one, or at least get a ride in one.


*Note: All images and videos on this post were created by and are property of Ryan Cohen. 
*Also: A special thanks to David at St. Louis Motorsports for all of his assistance