Maserati GranTurismo(s). The Fast Track

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Tuesday. GranTurismo S

Well, that was easy. A day later I’ve ditched the suit in favour of a golfing outfit. Not for me the everyday slog, no sirree. Now I have people to do that for me; my involvement is restricted to networking on the golf course and barking orders to subordinates from the 19th hole. And most importantly, I’ve got a new car.

The GranTurismo S moves the game on. That extra letter embossed onto the dashboard badge brings with it more excitement, more performance and, for a man of my newfound standing, more prestige. Visually, not much changes. It’s still gorgeous to look at and the seats are still the same annoying, uncomfortable shape. The sideskirts are deeper, and the 20-inch wheels aren’t available on the standard car. But to look at, that’s about your lot.

So what does the best part of an extra $10,000 get me? The important differences are all under the surface, and the biggest new addition that all my hard work has earned me is the larger 4.7-litre V8 engine under the bonnet. This pushes out 434bhp against the 4.2’s 405bhp, produces more torque and has also seen service in the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. This bodes well.

The S sits a touch lower than the standard car, thanks to an adjustable suspension system called Skyhook. Out goes the old exhaust in favour of a new, louder one, and the brakes have been replaced with bigger Brembo items. Once I’ve established that my personalised golf bag will fit in the boot (it will), it’s time for a thrash in the Maserati before I show the boys from Fitzly, Crumpet and Shoddington a thing or too on the course.

Just like a precision golf club, straight away the S feels sharp; harder and stronger than the standard GranTurismo. The new exhaust gives a more vocally dominating note to the engine and the extra 30-odd horsepower takes the 0-100kph time down to five seconds flat. In the car though I feel like it has more grunt than that; a push of my right foot reveals extra pull lower down and an embellishment to that top-end rush at higher rpms. That said, it’s still low on torque at the bottom end and I find myself stirring the six-speed box for the progress to feel continuous at a chat. The ZF gearbox in Sport mode, with the lever flicked over to manual, shifts are as quick as any other ‘traditional’ regular auto out there. The cogs change smoothly rather than bang into place, as despite its upgrades the GranTurismo lives up to its name, erring on the side of tourer rather than sports car.

However, the S is much sharper in the hands than its junior sibling. Although the steering system hasn’t changed, the revised suspension makes it feel more direct and alert than the base model. It sits lower and feels more stable as I drive, more composed through the bends. Weight levels though remain high, and the same old issue of inertia comes into play when things get tighter; it’s reluctant to turn in tight when I’m on a charge, preferring sweepers to hairpins, and lacks the grunt to really rocket out of a bend. Still, with golf bags and a few crystal-hewn corporate gifts in the boot, it’s probably best that I don’t fling things around too much.

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