Phill Tromans climbs the career ladder at record speed, but only to sample the cars that come with his success. Four promotions, four different models of Maserati GranTurismo. What makes each one worth working that extra bit harder for?[Not a valid template]
I appear to have burst out of middle management and find myself wearing a cheap suit, a more expensive tie and talking on the phone a lot. Well, a bit. I’m rather shunning my new responsibilities (whatever they are) in favour of fizzing around in my new company car, a Maserati GranTurismo.
Although this is the base model, it’s still a Maserati and still comes in at $114,350, so it’s not to be sniffed at. In fact, no car this beautiful should be sniffed at. The Quattroporte divides opinion in the crankandpiston.com office, but on the GT we’re united – it’s stunning to look at even four years after its launch, with a Coke bottle body and a coiled, hackle-raised stance, seductively narrowed eyes and pouting mouth. This is the main spoil of my newfound business acumen. I’m climbing the ladder and I want to enjoy the fruits of my success. I also want people to know how great I am at synergies and wotnot, and a Maserati does that without seeming brash.
It’s a shame the interior’s not quite as impactful. The sweeping dash looks good, but I’m unmoved by the analogue clock and the old Peugeot radio looks awful. The seats are a disappointment; the upper bolster, which presumably is meant to come in at neck height, pushes me in the upper back and forces a stooped position.
A traditional key-twist ignites the 4.2-litre V8. It bursts into life with a metal-edged growl, but settles into a reserved idle. I chuck my suit jacket in the back, pull the gearlever into D and get out onto the road. After less than a kilometre, mildly disappointed with the subdued throb from the exhausts, I hit the Sport button to the right of the steering wheel. It acts like a decongestant, clearing the GranTurismo’s throat and sharpening up the throttle. Better. Even in the short distance travelled so far, it feels much more at home with its tie removed – trapped in its ‘regular’ mode, it’s muted and damped. Now the fun can begin.
The Maser feels easy to drive, benign and approachable around town and the mild gargle from the exhaust adds a sense of occasion. If I ever did any actual work, I’d feel fine turning up to meetings in it. On the open road though, the bite doesn’t quite match the bark. The deep voice thrills, but there’s not the torque I hoped for. Hauling 1880kg, it feels sluggish at low revs, but it really gets going at around 5000rpm, pulling strongly in manual mode until the redline requires a flick of the ornate metal paddle behind the wheel. Reaching 100kph takes more than five seconds, which isn’t particularly quick for a car of this type, and while 405bhp sounds like a lot on paper, it doesn’t really feel that scintillating here.
Through corners, despite the open larynx the GT still feels a touch reserved. The weight remains the elephant in the room and the steering, while satisfyingly heavy in the hand isn’t sharp enough to really attack challenging roads with confidence. However, grip levels are pretty epic and the balance is excellent when changing direction rapidly. It takes serious flinging to get the back moving around and the breakaway once I find the limit is nicely progressive.
My first GranTurismo certainly gives me the look of a man on the up, and the sound will announce my presence at business meetings nicely, but between appointments it’s proved more of a gentle cruiser than I want. Guess I’d better work hard on a promotion then.
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