It may seem odd to buy a car and then try not to drive it, but that’s what I’ve been attempting (but singularly failing to do) this month with the GranTurismo. I lay the blame for this failure squarely on Maserati for creating one of the most usable coupes on the market. It’s the combination of comfy cabin, slick auto gearbox and a split-personality engine that’s just as happy pottering about town as it is sling-shotting past dawdlers on a typical UK B-road.
Just two cars have tempted me to leave the Maser in the car park this month. One was our Grand Challenge contender, the Lexus Soarer, purely to prove it still worked, and the other was Maserati’s GranTurismo press car.
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Maserati had kindly offered their car for a few days while a few niggles were sorted out on my own GranTurismo. It wasn’t a very long list: re-attaching a loose bit of trim in the passenger footwell; a factory update for the satnav to stop it crashing occasionally (it has frozen twice on me so far, forcing me to turn the car off completely before it comes back to life) and replacing a set of wheelnuts that had started to go rusty.
Looking at the press car, I’m still not sure about the bigger, optional 20in alloys; they look too ‘open’ to me, exposing parts of the car that I don’t really want to see (including the puny brake discs). So the additional £2021 doesn’t look very good value to me, especially as the standard wheels look anything but standard. The only saving grace might be if the 20inchers improve the driving, but after spending a few days with the press car I’m not sure they do that either.
I’ve commented already that the GranTurismo’s steering is overly sensitive at motorway speeds, and the 20in wheels (with their ultra- low-profile Pirelli P Zero tyres) seem to make matters worse. It might seem odd complaining about a car having super-sharp turn-in, but on a proper GT it’s not always a welcome characteristic: fine on the Nurburgring, not so fine on the M40 late at night when all you want to do is get home.
The ride suffers with the 20in wheels, too, especially if you prod the Sport button (which I find I do more often than I’d expected to, since it makes the gearbox ultra-responsive and therefore great for overtaking). On my car the suspension simply tenses, but on the press car the ride changed to the point where it got downright uncomfortable. So that’s why Maserati chose to fit all the launch cars with the standard 19in wheels.
Other options fitted to the press car included Bose surround-sound (£1175), which adds an ugly speaker in the middle of the rear parcel shelf, and Comfort Pack memory seats (£1175) that should really be standard on an £80,000 car but are something I can happily live without.
What I can’t live without, though, is the Maser itself. I can’t think of another new car that combines this much usability with such sky-high desirability. Keeping the mileage down to sensible (come trade-in time) levels over the next few months is going to be no easy task.
|Date acquired||December 2007|
|Costs this month||£0|
|Mileage this month||3120|
|MPG this month||22.8|