By Matt Degen
Available as a slinky convertible or sultry coupe, the 2016 Maserati GranTurismo is as much a powerful grand touring car as it is a statement of exquisite taste. Starting at nearly $140,000, the GranTurismo sits above the BMW 6 Series but isn't as extravagant as a Bentley Continental or Aston Martin Vanquish. And unlike a Porsche 911 or 2-door variants of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the rear seats in this Italian exotic are actually usable. Powered via a Ferrari-built V8 engine, the GranTurismo offers seamless acceleration, even if it isn't the fastest thing on the block. No matter. Fewer cars sound better getting up to speed, and even fewer 2-door cars can shuttle a quartet with the refinement, style and cachet of a Maserati Gran Turismo.
If you want a 4-passenger luxury sports coupe or convertible that's more exclusive than a BMW, Mercedes-Benz or even a Porsche, the Maserati GranTurismo could be the answer. This particular answer also brings jaw-dropping looks, a heavenly powertrain and the envy of friends and neighbors alike.
Downsides of exclusivity include a smaller dealer network, less-than-certain history of reliability, and lack of tech options and aids. Want a toy that's more on the sport side of the equation? Try a Porsche 911 or BMW M6. If cutting-edge luxury is your desire, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe and cabriolet are stunning.
The Maserati GranTurismo coupe and convertible carry over largely unchanged for 2016.
Whether as a coupe or convertible, the Maserati GranTurismo is a sensory delight. The 454-horsepower V8 engine offers thrilling acceleration -- especially in Sport mode -- and an exhaust howl...
... that will make you smile wider in relation to the movement of your right foot. It's like Pavlovian conditioning for car enthusiasts. Paired with an unobtrusive 6-speed automatic transmission, the Maserati GranTurismo has no problem getting out of its own way -- or anybody else's. In Normal drive mode, the Skyhook suspension does an admirable job of quelling road imperfections, making this Italian sports car optimal for loafing along the coast. In Sport mode, the Maserati's attitude changes, with distinctly more aggressive manners. Direct, hydraulic steering is standard across the board, and the race-bred Brembo brakes (6-piston in front) erase speed with confidence. As sharp and responsive as it is, the GranTurismo always maintains a sense of grace, polish and refinement.
THE SPORT BUTTON
You'd think the 2016 Maserati GranTurismo would be sporty enough, yet the Sport button opens up the exhaust, quickens the shifts, and sharpens the Skyhook adjustable suspension for a firmer ride and sharper handling.
Mounted behind the steering wheel on the Maserati GranTurismo are two long, artfully crafted shifter paddles. Not only do they give you manual control over the car's drivetrain at a single click, but they epitomize the Italian flair and design of the car with their light-alloy construction and tactile control.
Regardless of model, all 2016 Maserati GranTurismo coupes and convertibles offer two pairs of bucket seats around a center console. Sport models get form-fitting seats with integrated headrests, and in all models the front seats power forward to help clear a path to the rear, where adults can actually fit. The triple-insulated power convertible top on the drop-top GranTurismo deploys in just 24 seconds, at speeds up to 20 mph. Two golf bags stash in the trunk. The Maserati GranTurismo Convertible features rear rollover bars that pop up, protecting occupants in a crash.
Automobile or art form? With the 2016 GranTurismo, that line is blurred in a beautiful way by the legendary Italian design house Pininfarina. With its long hood and short rear deck -- with integrated spoiler -- the GranTurismo has a classically sporty look. Up front is a vertically slanted grille with Maserati's trident logo, while the rear boasts twin tailpipes. This Maserati's sides are a lesson in graceful muscle, as is the trademark trio of air vents aft the front wheels. MC Coupe models have bodywork inspired by the racing Stradale, employing a wider front spoiler and rear diffuser.
The 2016 Maserati GranTurismo coupe remains available in three main trims: GranTurismo Sport, GranTurismo MC and the MC Centennial Edition. The base GranTurismo Convertible is called simply that. Even the least expensive Maserati GranTurismo coupe comes with that lovely Ferrari-crafted engine, 20-inch wheels and Brembo performance brakes. Amenities include a navigation system, Bose surround-sound system, integrated HomeLink garage-door opener, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and an interior that's awash in leather. In addition to the power-operated soft-top, convertible models include an automatic rollbar-deployment system.
Unlike mainstream competitors -- or even a Hyundai Elantra -- you won't find newer features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or radar-based cruise control on the Maserati GranTurismo. Believe it or not, there isn't even a rearview camera available (though front and rear parking sensors are). What you can get are unique paint colors -- some costing as much as a Hyundai Elantra -- various wood or carbon-fiber accents, and other interior/exterior treatments. GranTurismo MC models are more performance-oriented with lower and stiffer suspension and aerodynamic enhancements.
The 4.7-liter V8 engine under the hood of the GranTurismo was co-developed with and is built by Ferrari, a company that knows its way around a V8 engine. Making 454 horsepower (444 in base convertible models), and routing it to the rear wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission, it is especially intoxicating when the exhaust system’s bypass-valve opens above 3,000 rpm. As evidenced by the gas-guzzler tax, fuel economy isn't great, but the power is smooth, responsive and strong. The GranTurismo's 6-speed automatic transmission also offers a Sport mode for quicker shifts, a Manual setting for full manual gear selection via steering-column-mounted paddle shifters, and an Ice mode for low-grip situations where the transmission starts in second gear.
454 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm (444 in base convertible models)
384 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm (376 in base convertible models)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg (convertible), 13/21 mpg (coupe)
You might want to bring your big wallet. When factoring in destination charge and the gas-guzzler tax, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2016 Maserati GranTurismo coupe starts over $136,000, while convertibles begin over $149,000. Options push the price higher, and if you opt for a Centennial edition with all the trimmings, you're looking at a cost well north of $180,000, or nearly $200,000 if you want the convertible. Not cheap, but neither are this Maserati's competition. If you agree that Italian passion and character make up for high-tech options, then the GranTurismo gives the Audi R8, BMW 650 and Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe a run for their many dollars. Resale value should hold up reasonably well. Obviously, servicing dealers are fewer and farther between than with other premium brands. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price before committing to a deal on a 2016 Maserati GranTurismo.