Here’s an everyday dilemma. You want a car that’s supercar exclusive, fast, beautiful – one where your three best friends can join the fun, with enough power to really give them the heebie jeebies.
Welcome to the 2016 Maserati GranCabrio MC (Maserati Corse), the dark-horse that’s possibly the super luxury GT find of the year. A glamour puss with a big heart and a yowling, howling exhaust note that’ll make any Lamborghini Huracán – or a McLaren 650S for that matter- slope off in a huff.
Maserati is sold 36,500 cars worldwide in 2014 – nearly six times the sales of 2012 but things at are a bit tougher these days. These numbers were helped significantly by the introduction of its first E segment car – the Ghibli and a revised Quattroporte.
A Ghibli Diesel, hell no we wanted to experience the GranCabrio. To begin with the GranCabrio MC is powered by a Ferrari-assembled 4.7 V8 engine producing 460 hp, top speed 289 km/h, reaching 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds through the six-speed gearbox. Not super-fast - but it’s how this classy Maserati looks, feels and flows that melts the heart. Like the best Italian cars, though, things aren’t pitch perfect. The interior controls feel old hat. On the move we experienced scuttle shake with the roof down. The gearbox has no dual-clutch trickery, serving up paddle gearshifts which aren’t instantaneous. And, the boot – well that’s tiny.
You, though, won’t give two hoots about all that. Get your three best friends over, drop the top and head out for a midnight drive into the country. They’ll be breathless, wondering did the stars just go supersonic or was that the car? Then there’s the Sport button. Press it, and the Eros Ramazzotti V8 hum transforms into a deafening, orchidaceous Pavarotti. Behind the scenes the adaptive suspension is firmed up by 10% and automatic throttle blips activated when downshifting through gears. Blip, blip, blip - we defy anyone to try this just once.
The GranCabrio MC may be long and wide but pick your favourite roads and it will scythe and flow though the bends with measured aggression. Inside, everything is of weighty (nearly old school Mercedes) construction swathed in alcantara and carbon fibre. Outside, the MC rides on 20-inch wheels with Brembo brakes that feel fine in final action if a little short of initial feel.
With only 3,500 GranTurismo and GranCabrios models sold worldwide in 2014, real exclusivity is guaranteed. The car we tested started at £112,400 and after factory options of £15,708, the grand total was £127,478. Do we recommend it? It’s getting on a bit, but we certainly do, and for two reasons: it’s not a stressed-out cliché Ferrari or a frangible, eccentric Lamborghini – both of which cost a good deal more. It’s a rare breed of super-GT – admirably cosseting four adults, which can transform into a howling banshee at night. A magical underdog with a big-heart – it’s wonderful.