Review: Maserati GranCabrio (2009)
Wonderfully styled Italian GT. Genuine four seater. Fantastic V8 soundtrack.
Automatic ZF six-speed gearbox not the best. Infotainment system feels slow and dated. Tiny boot.
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Maserati GranCabrio (2009): At A Glance
The Maserati GranCabrio is a fun and refined four seater convertible that strikes an elegant balance between high performance and everyday usability, thanks in no small part to its wonderful styling and vocal Ferrari V8 engine.
It might not be the fastest soft-top money can buy - both the Jaguar F-Type and Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG are quicker - but the GranCabrio is still a sensational grand tourer, with a booming V8 soundtrack and a rewarding drive that's strengthened by its large and comfortable interior.
Despite weighing around two tonnes, the throaty 4.7-litre engine will notch up some impressive numbers, with 0-62mph taking around five seconds and top speed sitting close to 180mph. The 450PS engine is linked to a six-speed automatic gearbox, which works well enough, but occasionally disappoints with the odd bout of confusion over gear selection.
The GranCabrio is blistering quick though, with impressive straight line speed and responsive handling that's aided by lots of feedback through the huge steering wheel. The handling can be sharpened with MC trim, which uses lighter Brembo brakes and adds a body kit and 10PS to the engine output. The raucous exhaust note is also enhanced to near antisocial levels, which makes the GranCabrio MC an attention grabbing centrepiece on the road.
Unlike most of its rivals, the GranCabrio is a genuine four seater and even with the roof in place it will carry four large adults in comfort, while the high quality interior features plush, hand stitched leathers and lots of brushed aluminium trim. However, the infotainment system and dashboard layout feels dated by modern standards, with a scatter gun approach to button layout and a painfully slow navigation system. The GranCabrio's long distance cruising credentials are also blunted by a tiny 173 litre boot.
Despite its flaws, the GranCabrio is still a brilliant four seater convertible, with stunning good looks, sports car performance and a plush interior. Only the Bentley Continental GTC offers more, although the Maserati feels more compelling due to the fact that it undercuts its British rival by a considerable margin on price.
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Maserati GranCabrio (2009): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 173–300 litres
Unlike the majority of its rivals, the Maserati GranCabrio is a genuine four seater, although its pitifully small boot - measuring just 173 litres - limits it long distance credentials. That said, it will easily carry four large adults in comfort and the rear seats are large enough to double up as storage for suitcases or a couple of sets of golf clubs.
The fabric soft-top roof provides decent levels of sound proofing and folds away in a leisurely 28 seconds, up to speeds of 19mph. Standard equipment levels are high across the range, with aluminium gear shift paddles, leather upholstery, cruise control and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system all included.
Admittedly, a few areas of the interior feel dated. The infotainment system has blocky graphics and there's no DAB either. The navigation system also feels ancient and doesn't recognise UK postcodes when it comes to destination entry. However, given a bit of patience, it works well enough, albeit it slowly.
Finding a comfortable driving position is simple thanks to the electronically adjustable seat and folding armrest that sits between the driver's and front passenger seats. The seats are also supportive, with a wraparound affect that provides a snug fit across the lower back and upper shoulder. Most of the doors and centre console are covered in soft-touch leathers, which make it easy to relax and rest your elbow on the trim.
The dashboard is covered in hand stitched leather and has a high quality feel, but the layout is a little crude, with lots of awkwardly placed buttons that are difficult to identify behind the huge steering wheel. The instrument dials are easy to read though and the airflow is good, with only the odd gust of wind making its way into the cabin after the roof has been lowered. Things can get a little blustery for tall passengers in the back at motorway speeds though.
20-inch Trident design alloy wheels, xenon front headlamps with integrated Day Running Lights (DRL), adaptive light control system, “Active Shifting” gear shift paddles, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, twin, dual pipe exhaust system in chrome-plated stainless steel, front foglamps, LED rear lights, Poltrona Frau leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats with lateral support and M-design, folding front armrest with illuminated storage compartment, rear armrest, dashboard-mounted Maserati-design clock, front and rear double cup-holders, cruise control, dual zone automatic climate control with two rear air outlets, electrochromatic interior rear-view mirror, electric opening assist for boot lid and doors, front and rear parking sensors, rain sensors, Maserati media System with seven-inch screen (featuring navigation system, RDS tuner, single CD player, 30Gb hard disk drive, voice control, Bluetooth, USB and aux-in port), TMC Premium traffic information system and a puncture repair kit with 12v compressor.
MC models add 20-inch Titanium-look MC design alloy wheels, brake callipers painted red, front spoiler integrated with aerodynamic undertray and brake cooling ducts, aerodynamic side skirts, rear lip spoiler, ventilated bonnet with two rear outlet vents, shadowline exterior trim, sport exhaust with dual, centrally-positioned exhaust pipes in chromeplated, Poltrona Frau leather and Alcantara interior upholstery (perforated Alcantara for seat squab and backrest centres and Alcantara for instrument cowl, centre console and armrest, door armrests and handles).
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What's the Maserati GranCabrio (2009) like to drive?
- Engines range from 4.2 V8 GranSport to 4.7 V8
The GranCabrio is offered with just one engine – a Ferrari-sourced 4.7-litre V8 - fed to the rear-wheel via a six-speed automatic transmission. In its standard form, the V8 petrol will deliver 450PS and 510Nm of torque, although this can be increased by 10PS and 10Nm by specifying the GranCabrio in MC trim.
The ZF automatic gearbox isn't the best, with the occasional bout of confusion over which gear it wants, but the GranCabrio is extremely easy to drive with a comfortable ride that happily copes with speed bumps and pot holes.
There are two driving modes to choose from - normal or sport - with the former providing a lazy GT experience, with dumbed down throttle response and slow gear changes. In sport mode the Maserati livens up to sports car levels, with quick gear changes and sharp throttle responses that makes it easy to unlock the V8's considerable power.
The automatic ZF gearbox still suffers from the odd dizzy moment, but it does a much better job in sport mode, with quick changes. It can be bypassed altogether with a set of manual paddles that are attached to steering column, which allow the driver to crack through the rev range at an impressive rate.
Despite its elegant looks and comfortable interior, the GranCabrio feels very much like a sports car, with a firm ride that provides lots of feedback through the steering wheel and pedals. As a result it's easy to build confidence and get an understanding of the car's limits, although things can get a bit engaging in the wet, with the rear-wheel drive and two tonne weight impacting the handling.
The GranCabrio isn't as involving as a Jaguar F-Type or Mercedes-Benz SL, but it is comfortable and the ride never feels overly hard or unpleasant. Thrill seekers can opt for the MC edition with slightly more power and stiffer suspension, although grip on all models is plentiful. The brakes are excellent too.
There's no hiding the GranCabrio's huge size though – it is five meters long and two meters wide - and parking can be challenging, due to the fact that it's difficult to see the edges of the car.
|4.2 V8 GranSport||15 mpg||-||435 g/km|
|4.7 V8||20 mpg||4.9–5.2 s||328–377 g/km|
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