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We drove a gorgeous $160,000 Maserati convertible with a Ferrari engine around LA to see if it's worth the money — here's the verdict

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 3/08/2018 Benjamin Zhang
a car parked in a parking lot
  • The Maserati GranTurismo is one of the most beautiful cars in the world.
  • The GranTurismo debuted in 2008 and was joined by the convertible variant in 2010.
  • Maserati's grand tourer is powered by a 4.7 litre, 454 horsepower, Ferrari-built V8 engine.
  • According to Maserati, the GranTurismo Convertible can do 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 177 mph.
  • We loved the way the GranTurismo looks and sounds, but we were less than impressed by its performance and interior.
  • The Maserati GranTurismo Convertible starts at $US150,380 while options pushed our test car to $US158,965.

Maserati has always been a bit of an oddball to me. While brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini are well defined in their identities, Maserati exists mostly in pop culture as a representative for all things mysterious, European, and very expensive.

In short, most people know Maserati but have no idea what it really is.

And cars like the GranTurismo only goes to reinforce the brand's mythical stature.

First things first, the Maserati GranTurismo is pretty. Not just any kind of pretty, but the achingly attractive kind where you can't help but stare. The kind of pretty that makes you fall in love with the car in spite of all that is wrong with it.

Incredibly the GranTurismo looks as good today as it did the when it debuted more than a decade ago. That's right, the Maserati GranTurismo we know today debuted back in 2008. Even with a couple of cosmetic updates over the years, it's still the oldest model in Maserati's lineup which now consists of the Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans as well as the Levante SUV.

Recently, we were able to spend a few days on the roads in and around Los Angeles behind the wheel of a 2018 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible Sport in Grigio Alfieri - a shade of grey named after company founder Alfieri Maserati. It should be noted that the GranTurismo Convertible is sold as the GranCabrio is many markets around the world.

The Maserati GranTurismo Coupe starts at $US134, 300 while the convertible requires $US150,380. Our test car's upgraded wheels and interior pushed the as-tested-price up to $US158,965.

Here's a closer look at the 2018 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible:

Here's our 2018 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible Sport near the water's edge in Marina Del Rey.

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In the marketplace, it competes with the likes of Mercedes-AMG's SL 63 and ...

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... The Mercedes-Benz S560 Cabriolet.

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The GranTurismo is also a rival for Aston Martin's much more expensive DB11 Volante.

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Let's begin with its looks. Honestly, this is the GranTurismo's real money maker. Styled by famed Italian design house Pininfarina, the Mas is sleek and effortlessly elegant.

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This starts with the GranTurismo's angular front end that is dominated by Maserati's trident logo.

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The GranTurismo's side profile offers traditional GT car proportions complete with a long sloping hood.

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The rear end is less dramatic, but still aesthetically pleasing in an understated manner.

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Since our test car is the convertible variant, it features a traditional cloth top that tucks away neatly into the area between the rear seats and the trunk.

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Sadly, this really eats away at trunk space. Our test car had just enough room for a small carry-on suitcase and a large hand bag.

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However, we were more than willing to trade the trunk space for top down driving pleasure!

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Inside, the GranTurismo's cabin is decked out in plush red leather with high gloss piano black accents.

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In front of the driver is a set of easy-to-read analogue gauges. No digital cluster here. Interesting enough, it's one of the few cars these days without a push-button starter.

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The GranTurismo's center stack is dominated by an 8.4-inch touchscreen running Maserati's version of Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system.

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Overall, Uconnect is one of the better infotainment system on the market today. It's relatively easy to use and quick to respond. However, the menu organisation is proved to be disorganized and unintuitive.

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There's Apple CarPlay integration if you don't want to mess with the Uconnect's user interface.

For a convetible, the front and...

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...Rear seats proved to be surprisingly roomy and comfortable.

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The stitched Maserati Trident in the headrests looked pretty cool.

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Overall, the GranTurismo's interior while comfortable didn't blow us away with its stlyle or luxury appointments.

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Material quality felt subpar for a vehicle of its station. Especially when it comes to the hard plastics found throughout the cabin. Fit and finish could also be better. In addition, the GranTurismo's interior now feels dated and lack the pizzazz of its rivals from Mercedes and Aston Martin.

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Under the hood, lurks a 4.7 litre, 454 horsepower naturally aspirated Ferrari V8 sending power to the rear wheels through a six-speed ZF automatic transmission.

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According to Maserati, the GranTurismo Convertible can do 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 177 mph. The Coupe is a bit quicker with a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.

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So, what's it like to drive?

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On the road, the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible proved to be quite pleasant. Carving through the canyons north of Los Angeles, the GranTurismo showed that it is more than up to the task.

The Maserati's hydraulic steering is well weighted and surprisingly communicative. In addition, the GranTurismo offers its occupants a comfortable and supportive ride.

In other words, it drives like a prototypical GT car, but with an extra dose of Maserati flair.

By Maserati flair, I really mean the symphony bellowing from its dual exhausts. The purity and musicality of the Ferrari V8 is something special. It's also growing increasingly rare as turbochargers tend to muzzle exhausts noise.

But now for the bad news. For all of the GranTurismo's style and flair, it's not all that quick. Stomp on the gas and the Maserati erupts in a burst of noise, but you don't actually seem to go anywhere in a hurry. Sure, it can do 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, but in this segment of the market, that's positively pedestrian.

It's performance that will suffice if all that you want from the GranTurismo are its looks and sounds. But, if you really want to do some grand touring, the lack of speed will leave you wanting for more juice.

Our verdict.

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I feel torn when it comes to the Maserati GranTurismo.

Aesthetically, GranTurismo is simply stunning. Pininfarina strikes a fine balance between the femininity of its soft curves and the masculinity of its aggressive haunches to create something that is truly beautiful.

At the same time, the soundtrack emitted by the engine and exhaust deserve nothing less than a Grammy.

Thus as an experience, the Maserati GranTurismo is exceptional. As a car, it's less so.

While pretty, the Maserati's interior quality leaves much to be desired. The GranTurismo's deserves real metal switches and more soft-touch surfaces.

And then there's the GranTurismo's truly underwhelming straight-line performance.

This leads us to the ultimate question. Would I want a GranTurismo?

Yes!

Call me vain, but in spite of its failings as a car, the Maserati is just too pretty and charming to dislike.

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