Car of the week - Maserati GranCabrio Sport

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Classic Italian style: Maserati GranCabrio Sport.

There is nothing quite like the sound of a Maserati at full throttle. The Italian brand has its own distinctive engine note, a magnificent howl, which turns heads, startles birds, and sets dog barking and when you are behind the wheel of a yellow Maserati GranCabrio Sport with the roof down it is one of the most pleasurable experiences a car can deliver.

Maserati’s open-top bloodline can be traced back to the 1950 A6G Frua Spyder, a beautiful looking car that combined luxury with racing car performance.

Fast forward to today and the GranCabrio retains the elegance of its predecessor, the versatility of a four-seater, and the performance to leave you with a smile on your face.

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No surprises then that when I stopped to take some pictures of this stunning looking piece of kit, two people stopped, drooled over the car for a few minutes before asking if it was for sale.

Designed by Pininfarina, it is a gorgeous motorcar, classically sleek and deliberately aggressive with a sporty persona, exaggerated by that signature oval front grille.

The GranCabrio Sport has a distinctive black grille with the famous Maserati trident badge which is also distinctive on this car because it carries red accents reserved for the fastest cars in the Italian manufacturer’s range.

The front is the most dramatic, thanks to that long bonnet, a new central front splitter, raked bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights which give it a sophisticated appearance but you can look at this car from any angle you wish and it is perfect.

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The back of the car is delightful with its rear light clusters which feature 96 LEDs, black exhausts, and a subtle carbon fibre spoiler adding a real touch of class and the side profile is pure Maserati, nicely finished off with redesigned 20-inch black Astro wheels.

The interior in my test car was really impressive. It had the MC Sports Line package, a plethora of the finest Poltrona Frau leather, carbon fibre and drilled aluminium pedals which really lifts the cabin into the upper echelons of prestige.

The seats are amazingly comfortable and have the trident motif stitched, in a colour of your choice, into the headrests which adds a bit of Italian panache.

Personally, I have always found the steering wheel in Maseratis to be a little big with too many buttons. This car had a flat-bottom carbon fibre and leather steering wheel which was still a little large for my like but nevertheless comfortable to use.

The instrument cluster retains a traditional feel whilst being cutting edge and the infotainment system is what you would expect in a car that costs more than half a million dirhams.

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The heart of a Maserati has always been the engine which in this case is a naturally aspirated (yes, there are still a few of those around despite the move to turbos) Ferrari-built 4.7-litre V8 which produces 460bhp – ten horsepower more than the standard GranCabrio – and 520nm of torque.

It comes with a racing pedigree gained from unrivalled years in Formula One and is appropriately responsive. It is hooked up to a 6-speed ZF automatic gearbox which puts the power down to the rear wheels and the sports exhaust system delivers that glorious Maserati sound which is probably only rivalled by big brother Ferrari.

You can drive this car in various modes but I see no point in messing around with anything other than Auto-Sport or Manual-Sport, if you want to use the paddle-shifts, because this is where the proper fun really begins.

Sport mode engages super-quick gear shifts, engine blipping on the downshift which adds more aural enjoyment, and more rigidity which makes the car more agile.

The GranCabrio Sport will get you from 0-100kmh in five seconds, not the fastest car out there but plenty fast enough in a four-seater convertible.

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This is a very quick and extremely loud motorcar but don’t for a minute think it will leave you shaken and stirred because it has been designed to provide the ultimate comfort for the driver and three passengers.

The handling is extremely impressive with very little body movement in the car, particularly in sport mode, thanks for strengthened anti-roll bars and the Sport Skyhook active suspension system which uses acceleration sensors to monitor wheel and chassis movement, road conditions and driving style to adjust the dampers and keep you sitting pretty.

The GranCabrio Sport is a magnificent car bristling with the racing DNA of its predecessors and providing exhilarating open-top motoring for four people – the roof comes down in just 24 seconds – with the kind of style you won’t find anywhere but in Italy. It’s not cheap but it is magical.

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