Maserati GranCabrio Fendi. A Fashion Statement

Standing before me is the brand spanking new Maserati GranCabrio Fendi, a limited edition combined effort of both the Italian luxury sports car marque and the Italian luxury fashion house. What he have here then is a true example of Italian flair and panache.

Clearly then this particular Englishman – standing as I am with the key in my hand in an un-ironed shirt, black cargos and trainers with “only one hole in them” – hasn’t got the ‘luxury’ idea behind this at all.

A quick flick through the paperwork and press materials that have filtered into the crankandpiston inbox recently highlights words like ‘exquisite’, ‘style’ and ‘fashion’, focal points that are clearly the main agenda on the Maserati table. Oh sure, with a 450hp 4.7l V8 bolted down under the bonnet, a 5.2s 0-100kph time in the books and a 285kph top speed, the GranCabrio can certainly pull enough punches. But focusing principally on these would surely be missing the point.

That and the prospect of being throttled by the good chaps at Maserati for dinging one of only 50 examples designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi (Head of Accessories at Fendi, and granddaughter of the label’s founders) doesn’t appeal much either.

Style it is then, and it seems only fair that I put a bit more effort into my appearance for such an occasion. A quick glance through the wardrobe suggests other avenues of exploration are required, and since the travel bag, portfolio, sunglasses and pashmina scarf that come with the Fendi were unavailable today, I instead drop into the driver’s seat for a quick shoot up the highway to the Dubai Mall, where wall-to-wall fashion marques await.

Fendi aficionados amongst you won’t be surprised to learn that the brand’s inspiration on the inside is not exactly in-yer-face. There’s the Light Pergamena Fendi wood trim across the dash and door panels for instance, which is duplicated on the top of the gearlever too. The Maserati trident logo on each of the headrests have been stitched using the traditional Fendi yellow, while the model’s five-digital serial number is etched on a small silver plaque set into the dashboard, just alongside a sizeable ‘GranCabrio’ badge. As a finishing touch, Fendi’s Double F logo has been woven into the leather seats both front and rear. And, actually, that’s about it. Combine those though with an uncluttered centre console, high-quality panels and plenty of legroom, and you’ll find the limited edition GranCabrio a very relaxing environment.

Time to concentrate on the road ahead though. Flicking through the responsive six-speed paddle box brings with it linear rather than violent acceleration, while solid steering provides good feel for the road through the front Pirellis. And then of course, there’s the sound. Already the big V8 has sent chills racing through my spine on start-up, the resultant explosion from the exhausts one you’ll not grow weary of in a hurry. In motion there’s a growl under acceleration and a burble on the overrun, both of which are making me smile immensely.

Opting for valet parking at Dubai Mall – I’ll admit I’m posing a little – I begin to notice just how much attention the Fendi is drawing, and that’s not just down to the idyllic tones emanating from the exhaust valves. A few quick taps of the throttle while stationery suggests the noise has certainly got something to do with it, but I only truly appreciate why my fellow-shoppers are throwing glances our way when the keys are handed over and I step out.

It’s a pretty item, the new GranCabrio. Granted only the most knowledgeable of petrolheads will know from a distance that this is a Fendi limited edition, another small silver plaque adorning the side of the retractable roof and the Fendi yellow brake calipers the only exterior clues. And in a way – unless you’re reading this from the Maserati sales office with a wad of expected sales figures tucked away in your pocket – this doesn’t really matter. The GranCabrio, with or without its fashion house adornments, is still a very pretty item.

The elongated headlights took a little while to get used to I’ll admit, but the sleek lines of the bodywork, subtly flared wheel arches and chiseled front end are neither outlandish nor undignified. There’s an elegant grace all the way through the Maserati – the sportily designed rear bumper and dual exhaust valves aside perhaps – all of which are set off by the three-layered Grigio Fiamma Fendi dark grey finish and 20” polished alloy wheels. I had been tempted to turn up at Dubai Mall with the roof down (which should take about 28s to retract) but rapidly escalating temperatures and a shirt prone to cling in hot weather change my mind for me.

Categories: Road


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