Maserati GranTurismo Trofeo 2024 review

MC20 engine, an accomplished chassis and stunning looks make the new GranTurismo a highly desirable grand tourer

Evo rating
Price
from £159,630
  • Gorgeous looks; stunning performance; capable chassis
  • Feels its weight; needs space to come alive; braking performance

Once tarnished, Maserati’s famous name is shiny again. The MC20, our reigning eCoty champ, has turned out to be a mid-engined marvel for the ages, while the first new generation GranTurismo to break cover, all 750bhp of whispering electric Folgore, brings sexy to a mostly rather sterile EV sector. Facing a reputational fight back as well as the market’s baked-in challenges from the long-established Teutonic hegemony, Maserati still has it all to do but is proudly hauling itself back to a state of grace and, just as importantly, a place of relevance.

Following a back slapping fest for the MC20’s makers, continuing this momentum is key and while the Folgore is necessarily a banker for an electron dependent future, it’s the all-new, all-drive, petrol-powered, twin-turbo V6 GranTurismo that will either establish a post-MC20 hit factory to satisfy well-heeled and style-savvy speed lovers or be the good but rather troubled second album. Tough act to follow, the MC20.

Tamer of the two new models and named after its birthplace is the Modena, though with 483bhp and 442lb ft, it’s hardly in danger of having sand kicked anywhere near its chiselled features. More evo-centric, however, is this, the 542bhp and 479lb ft Trofeo.

It's understandable that Maserati prefaces the introduction of its new car with a reminder that GranTurismo isn’t just a badge but a defining philosophy stretching back 75 years to the 1947 A61500, a milestone it bullishly touts as the first ever grand tourer. Certainly, a generous bonnet with rakish coupe profile was the original recipe and, in essence, nothing much has changed, though things are a bit more complex today, not least structurally where the new GranTurismo’s advanced, lightweight hybrid aluminium/steel hybrid construction leaves the previous generation GranTurismo, dropped in 2019, looking distinctly porky and ancient. 

Indeed, Maserati’s affable head of design, Klaus Busse, is keen to look beyond the rigidity, weight and performance benefits and calls the GranTurismo’s expansive and artfully contoured aluminium bonnet a masterpiece that should be hung on a museum wall and appreciated as a sculpture. It’s all about proportion, of course, but also to accommodate the low-slung front-mid positioning of the mildly sanitised and de-tuned MC20 twin-turbo Nettuno V6 and 8-speed ZF auto gearbox. 

There is a lot of bodywork - the GranTurismo is a surprisingly large car that appears even larger being so close to the road - but none of it looks superfluous. It can’t come as a surprise, Klaus suggests, that in addition to all the computer aided design and precision lasers, some of its modelling has benefitted from the touch of human hands. The GranTurismo Trofeo is simply a stunningly handsome car. 

But not as cramped as you might think on the inside. A snug four-seater but a four-seater nonetheless. Perhaps the packaging’s most effective move is the way the centre line of the roof doesn’t notably slope towards the rear screen - thus ensuring headlining and hairdo stay an unlikely inch or so apart - yet, with the eye drawn by the shape of the side window graphic, the profile still looks outrageously sleek.  

Sitting in the driving seat doesn’t exactly invite a rush of hard-nosed objectivity, despite what might be regarded as a catalogue of ergonomic missteps. The steering wheel – not too big, tactile, nicely-judged rim – hosts a swarm of switchgear including the start/stop button. Selecting Drive, or manual to bring the steering wheel paddles into play, requires pressing the most innocuous looking black button you’ve ever seen, lost in a row up on the dash along with the other gear selector buttons. And then there’s the inevitable angled touchscreen, which to be fair isn’t at all bad, and reacts quickly to your inputs and connects smartly to your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto rendering much of the tech Maserati has slaved over redundant. 

Look beyond this and the cabin is a wonderful, architectural cocoon of rakish angles and classy materials with good looking seats that get the compromise between comfort and support spot on and an ideal, low-slung driving position. The fit, finish and feel feels special and crucially makes you feel special as you plug yourself in. Bentley’s Continental GT couldn’t provide a more luxurious glove fit. And the fillets of so-called ‘3D Carbon fibre’ cutting across the neatly tailored and layered leather door trims and centre tunnel like holographic dado rails are finished to a standard that someone went to great lengths to perfect. 

Despite the extra weight of the all-drive underpinnings, the double wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension can do supple and tender, too, at least with the drive modes pegged back to the default GT setting. As a GT it absorbs every mile without disturbing you unnecessary, its V6 that feels feral and edgy in an MC20 is refined, relaxed and calm as a field mouse once the eight-speed has shuffled into top and the revs are barely registering on the tacho. It’s got refinement nailed, the GT objectives ticked off and Bentley’s Continental GT squirming in its quilted leather. 

Strange how things can change in a blink. Suddenly ahead, straight tarmac tapering to a tree-fringed vanishing point. No traffic at all. The temptation is too much…time to wake up. Sport mode snatched, the ZF box kicks down maybe three ratios and the Trofeo, well, the Trofeo goes seriously nuts. It feels rapid and vastly more exciting. The seemingly exponential surge when the turbos, F1 tech dual combustion chambers and torque converter ZF transmission hook up under full throttle are closer to a 911 Turbo than a leather-lined GT. 

As in the MC20 the Nettuno feels like it’s punching well above its quoted power, piling on the revs with a violent surge akin to a flyweight hot hatch. In a blink it’s gone from a car you want to drive across a country in at a leisurely gate to one that you want to use to devour every twist and turn of your favourite road. The harder you push the more composure there is, the harder the gears hit home the more adjustable the throttle becomes. Even in the UK the car’s bumpy road damper setting is rarely required, so well judged is the blend of damping forces and body control. 

In many modern cars the transition from normal mode to a sport setting requires graphs to spot the differences, but in the Trofeo the difference between the two is stark, predominantly because when left in GT mode the GranTurismo feels too soft when pushed and the gearbox too slow to respond. But it means you engage with the car more, select Sport more often and adjust your style to the car’s mode and mood, focusing to get the best from it and you. So just as you could spend all day in GT crossing continents, so too it feels like a car you would enjoy hooning around in with everything turned up.

At no point does it feel all-wheel drive, the balance remains rear driven allowing you to enjoy the flow and precise nature that’s been dialled into the GranTurismo’s chassis. There are no hidden surprises or clunky transitions but a simple clean quality to how it steers and turns. Even when pushed hard the front is resistant to push, preferring to work its Pirelli’s harder to maintain an unbreakable purchase on the surface. Become friendlier with the throttle earlier in the turn and the GranTurismo settles on its haunches and shoves you through the exit in a fluid, hunkered down motion. 

Unfortunately if you enjoy the Trofeo too much the brakes won’t last the distance. There’s some dead travel initially but they soon bite strongly and haul the speeds down, but it doesn’t take many miles of spirited driving for the pedal length to increase and the rate of retardation to decrease. It’s not the same issue that affects the MC20, which suffers from a long pedal but delivers consistently strong braking performance, but is one that might peg a few back from exploring the unexpected high, and very welcome talents the new GranTurismo Trofeo has to offer. It really is a very special car, hence its inclusion in 2023's evo Car of the Year test...

Price and rivals

The GranTurismo Trofeo costs £163,00 in the UK, which is considerably less than the £178,200 V8-engined Bentley Continental GT and the £200,600 you’ll be charged for the Continental GT S. Despite the Bentley having an identical 542bhp to the Trofeo and four-wheel drive, they carry more weight and despite being the best they have ever been dynamically, the GranTurismo would get our cash. 

Aston Martin’s new £185,000 DB12 is only available as a rear-drive coupe and packs a mighty 671 bhp from its twin-turbocharged V8 and is a much tougher cookie for the Maserati to square up to, for the Aston also delivers on the GT and supercar credentials, providing a strong blend of both that’s hard to ignore. So too Ferrari’s £182,675 Roma coupe, the 611bhp twin-turbocharged coupe setting the standard in this vibrant sector.

Specs

EngineV6, 2992cc, twin-turbo
Power542bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque479lb ft @ 3000rpm
Weight1795kg (307bhp/ton)
0-62mph3.5sec
Top speed199mph
Basic price£163,000

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