The latest addition to the Maserati range is the Maserati GranSport, a new model celebrating the concept of sportiness at the heart of all of the Trident’s Grand Tourers, due to be unveiled to the world for the first time at Geneva’s International Motor Show. The new car, which joins the Coupé and Spyder in the Maserati range, goes on sale next summer. The GranSport’s name alone suggests its eager thoroughbred GT spirit, the kind of spirit that can provide plenty of fun on demand for the driver. The GranSport name also has a special symbolic significance for the Trident as it was first used in the 1950s for an elegant two-litre coupe designed by the Carozzeria Frua on the base of the famous A6 G.
The new GranSport, however, is designed to offer an exciting alternative to the current Coupé, and as such, has been treated to series of new enhancements that give it a very powerful temperament indeed.
The Maserati GranSport’s harmonious volumes are beautifully combined with more muscular, aerodynamic forms, the fruit of much testing in the wind tunnel aimed at improving the Cx value and achieving a balanced division of the vertical loads (Cz) between the front and rear axles. The result is that the Maserati GranSport has a Cx of 0.33, one of the very best in its category. An almost total absence of oversteer and improved front-wheel drivability and precision make it very easy to handle too and ensure that drivers will be able to really put it and themselves through their paces in complete safety. Work on the new model’s aerodynamics has led to the addition of newbumpers. The front one, in fact, has a very pronounced lower spoiler with side bars elegantly integrated into the body itself, while the luggage compartment deck has been given a discreet yet equally efficientspoiler lip. The new aerodynamic features associated with the fact that the set-up is now 10 mm lower, result in a two point improvement in the Cx value and translate into clear benefits for the driver. In fact, the Maserati GranSport offers a truly blistering drive, thanks to its direct, precise steering and excellent stability at high speeds.
The traditional Trident elegance is there too in the classic chrome grille reminiscent of the Quattroporte’s. The grilles over the air vents on the rear bumper are chrome too. The Maserati GranSport’s sporty look is completed by new 19” wheels inspired by the ones sported by the cars in the Maserati Trofeo Championship, with spokes forming a very attractive Trident.
The Maserati GranSport’s normally aspirated 4,244 cm3 V8 has all the structure of the most advanced racing engines with dry sump lubrication and twin overhead camshafts per cylinder bank with four valves per cylinder hydraulic tappets. The intake cams also feature variable phase timing.
Its maximum power delivery has been upped from the original 390 hp to 400 hp too, thanks to special development work to reduce internal attrition and careful work on the intake manifolds and valve seats. The engine has been combined with a sports exhaust system that is instantly recognisable, thanks to the unusual design of its twin chrome exhausts and was designed to give enthusiasts that instantly recognisable deep, full-bodied rumble. Thanks to an electronically controlled pneumatic valve system, even more can be made of the exhaust by pressing the “Sport“ button on the central console too.
The Maserati GranSport is available only with the six-speed electro-hydraulic transmission in which the gears are changed using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel, a feature that further enhances the car’s sporty personality. The Cambiocorsa systems allows drivers to choose between various gear shifting modes (Normal, Sport, Automatic and Low Grip), and in the case of the Maserati GranSport , is controlled by specific software. Even with respect to already very highly developed Coupé Cambiocorsa system, the Sport mode in the GranSport offers 35% faster gear changing on average and also boasts automatic heeling and toeing to make dropping down a gear even faster. Thanks to the new Cambiocorsa software, the Maserati GranSport can sprint a whole kilometre from standstill in a breathtaking 23 seconds flat.
The gear shift ratios are specific too, with the adoption of a sixth gear that is 5% longer, which, in combination with its more powerful engine and improved aerodynamics, allows the Maserati GranSport to improve on the already blistering speeds of the Coupé, delivering a dizzying top speed of 290 Km/h.
As with the other models in the Maserati range, the driver can choose between two levels of gear changing. Normal mode is more comfortable and typical of Grand Tourer driving, while with a touch of the Sport button on the central console they get to feel the true power of the car. The Sport mode delivers much faster gear changing, a deeper exhaust sound and less invasive use of the MSP stability and traction control system. The optional Skyhook suspension system, which offers continuous damping control, is also affected by the driver’s choice of Normal or Sport modes. For more comfort-oriented driving, there is even an Auto button which puts the gears in full automatic mode so that the driver need do nothing more than sit back enjoy the thrilling experience of driving a Maserati. However, the Sport function can still be activated in this mode.
Needless to say, the Maserati GranSport boasts all of the many excellent technological and safety features offered by the Maserati Grand Tourers, but with some very important refinements. The car has the same sophisticated set-up as the Coupé Cambiocorsa: a Transaxle layout with the gearbox rear-mounted in unit with the differential, stability and traction control (MSP) integrating ABS, ASR, MSR and EBD functions, which the driver can deactivate if desired, independent front and rear suspension with double wishbone geometry, which can be integrated with the Skyhook system on request, the Skyhook adaptive damping system which instantly adapts the damper calibrations to suit the driving and road conditions and allows the driver to choose between two different settings (Normal and Sport).
The fact that the set-up has been lowered by 10 mm and the adoption of the 19” wheels and tyres with a specific profile (front 235/35 19”, rear 265/30 19”), characterised by a smaller slip angle, have lowered the centre of gravity and hardened the set-up of Maserati GranSport, making it even more agile and responsive to the steering wheel.
The Brembo brakes with alloy titanium-coloured four-piston callipers with differentiated diameters and large ventilated cross-drilled discs (front 330 mm; rear310 mm), also further enhance the dynamic characteristics of the car.
The GranSport’s interior reflects its brilliant personality both in terms of aesthetics and functionality, yet also exudes the elegant good taste and luxurious comfort of a Trident Grand Tourer. The dashboard, body-hugging seats, tunnel, thick rimmed steering wheel, impressive materials (leather, carbon fibre, alloy, high tech fabric) all combine to create an attractively sporty ambience too.
The Maserati GranSport’s dashboard boasts excellent specialist trim and central console options. The upper part of the dash is trimmed in leather, while the central area, framed by the car-coloured piping strip, is trimmed in a special high tech fabric originally developed for nautical use and available in Nero (Black), Grigio Nickel (Nickel Grey) or Blu Metal (Metal Blue). This is a double layered material which is not only very attractive but also non-slip and extremely hard-wearing, making it ideal for trimming the central area of sports seats and the lower rim of the steering wheel.
The front seats are designed for high lateral containment, and guarantee maximum driver contact with the car for perfect control. They were developed with the help of the Maserati test drivers in line with the strictest ergonomic principles with the aim of combining sporty characteristics and excellent seat comfort for perfect, long distance driving. This is why the seats are also fully power adjustable and can, on request, be supplied with a heating option and memorised settings on the driver’s side.
The carbon, leather-trimmed tunnel separates the two front seats. It contains the Cambiocorsa control selector and the secondary commands, each one of which is set into an elegant chrome surround.
The main control buttons, including the blue Start button, on the other hand, are grouped together on the central console near the driver. The climate control and CD player buttons are also set in a carbon feature on the central console.
Any driver lucky enough to get his hands on the three-spoke steering wheel of the Maserati GranSport will appreciate the work that has been done to mould the rim (trimmed in perforated leather, carbon and technical fabric) to offer improved ergonomic grip. All of the car’s functions are arranged on the instrument binnacle which boasts sporty white graphics on a Maserati navy blue background.
The Maserati GranSport is available in the six sportiest colours in the Maserati range, each one of which can be combined with various interior options. Owners can choose from the classic Giallo Granturismo (Grand Tourer Yellow) and Rosso Mondiale (World Championship Red) or, alternatively between the metallic Nero Carbonio (Carbon Black), Blu Mediterraneo (Mediterranean Blue) and Grigio Touring (Touring Grey). The sixth colour choice recently added to the range is Bianco Fuji (Fuji White), an original pearl white with the unusual depth typical of three-coat pearlescent paints. This is the starting point from which the Officine Alfieri Maserati programme can be used to include a vast array of other personalisation options regarding the colours of the interior trim leather, fabric as well as technical or comfort-oriented features, such as: Xenon headlights, Skyhook suspension, Mercury Grey and Ball-Polished options for the wheels, carbon interior and exterior components, GPS and GSM telephone module controlled from the radio unit, and a six-disc CD Changer, to mention but a few.