First drive: 2014 Maserati GranCabrio MC, Quattroporte GTS and Ghibli S in the UAE
Italian carmaker Maserati is eager to take a bigger share of the luxury car market, especially with the addition of several new models in just the last two years. Recently Maserati held a media drive event in Dubai to highlight their latest addition, the midsize Ghibli sedan. But they also brought along some of their other models as well, so we got our first look at the Maserati GranCabrio MC and the Quattroporte GTS as well.
The Maserati GranTurismo has been around since 2007, and its topless variant, the GranCabrio was introduced in 2010. But let’s be honest, it still looks beautiful. Especially the latest addition, the GranCabrio MC.
The GranCabrio MC gets a front end similar to the MC Stradale, which not only makes it look aggressive but improves aerodynamics as well. It doesn’t end there, as it shares the 4.7-litre V8 as well. It produces 460 hp and 520 Nm of torque, enough to propel the MC from 0-100 kph in 4.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 289 kph.
As we started up the car and the engine growled to life, Maserati Product Manager, Robert Jahnke, popped his head through the window to say, “The weather is good!” and pointed to the button to open the roof. We duly obliged and now we could hear the exhaust note with no restrictions — and it sounded purely eargasmic!
As the MC GranCabrio was reserved for a short drive, we prayed for empty stretches of road so we could press the accelerator and hear that V8 engine revving at full throttle, and then the crackle and pop on throttle lift-off. Probably every journalist that drove the GranCarbrio MC that day must have slipped it into neutral while waiting at a traffic light and revved the engine just to hear that sweet growl.
The ride quality was good in the GranCabrio MC, just as a GT car should be, but things do get a little bumpy when selecting “Race” mode, which makes the suspension tighter and the ZF 6-speed automatic transmission shift more aggressively.
After that dramatic drive, we decided to get mature and try the Maserati Quattroporte. We had a chance to drive the Quattroporte S last year, so we opted to have a go with the GTS, their most powerful variant. The Ferrari-built turbocharged V8 is a 3.8-litre which produces 530 hp and 710 Nm of torque.
However, there was nothing mature when putting pedal to the metal in the GTS, as it will do the 0-100 kph run in a claimed 4.7 seconds, which makes it faster than the Stradale. It may not sound as fast, with a more subtle growl, but you certainly see that speedometer needle moving fast.
Just as we experienced in the Quattroporte S, the GTS too offers tons of grip which makes the car more nimble than its size suggests during spirited driving. When cruising however, it settles into a smooth and comfortable ride, with the interior offering the necessary comforts expected from a large luxury sedan.
We had a run on the Maserati Ghibli S as well. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Ghibli when we got it for a test-drive earlier in the year. It is a difficult market to enter, the luxury midsize sedan segment dominated by the big German brands. But we felt Maserati had done really well with the Ghibli to play with the big guns, and driving the Ghibli S reinforced that thought. Having the same 3.0-litre turbocharged motor as the entry-level model, but tuned to produce more power, the S version has 410 hp and 550 Nm of torque. It can do the 0-100 kph run in a claimed 5 seconds with a top speed of 285 kph.
The Ghibli S picked up well, handled great, rode fairly well and is as practical as a sedan should be. All the right boxes were ticked, with the added bonus of an intoxicating exhaust note that its direct rivals lack.
Maserati has a unique problem. People seem to think they are very expensive. Not that we are saying they are exactly cheap, but it is assumed they are Ferrari-expensive. Which is not necessarily a bad thing for the buyer of course. Maybe with the more affordable Ghibli, people will change that perception. One thing is for sure. Maserati have kept their promise of making sure performance is never compromised.