Maserati has taken the GranCabrio convertible to a new level of performance with the new Maserati GranCabrio Sport.
With more power, a faster gearshift and a distinctively aggressive look, the Maserati GranCabrio Sport has given Maserati a harder-edged convertible to sit alongside the GranTurismo S and the Quattroporte Sport GT S as the performance flagships of their respective ranges.
Publically unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Maserati GranCabrio Sport combines an upgraded 4.7-litre V8 engine with a 10 horsepower increase to 450 hp and improved fuel economy with the faster MC Auto Shift transmission.
With a 285km/h top speed and a 0-100km/h sprint of just 5.2 seconds, the Maserati GranCabrio Sport is brimming with performance and luxury refinements both inside the cabin and underneath its award-winning body panels.
Its six-speed transmission includes a super-fast MC Auto Shift mode and has been developed for the Maserati GranCabrio Sport directly from the transmission in the Quattroporte Sport GT S.
The handling has been enhanced for greater speed, too, with an upgrade and revision of the Skyhook active-suspension system and the adoption of a more-responsive brake package.
Visually, the Maserati GranCabrio Sport is characterized by a more-pronounced dynamic look. This look begins with the GranCabrio's distinctive nose and continues with a host of small, perfectly integrated changes throughout the body and the interior.
Maserati's design team worked to provide a more-aggressive look that sat in harmony with the GranCabrio's critically acclaimed styling.
A series of relatively small upgrades in critical areas have created an integrated, dynamic design that immediately differentiates the Maserati GranCabrio Sport from the rest of the GranCabrio range and identifies it with both the Quattroporte Sport GT S and the GranTurismo S.
It introduces a new colour, Rosso Trionfale - a classic red that pays tribute to the championship-winning Maserati racing cars of the 1950s. It's a colour that highlights the Maserati GranCabrio Sport's strong personality, yet maintains its elegant and slim look.
The strong, distinctive GranCabrio grille receives even more character with a new black colour, while the grille's Maserati Trident receives the red accents that are reserved for the fastest car in each of Maserati's model ranges. These red accents are also found on the Quattroporte Sport GT S and the GranTurismo S.
The headlights now have a black look with white reflectors, while front corner splitters and the redesigned side skirts are both body coloured. The Shadow line, with its dark look around the base of the window glass, stresses the dramatic look of the car, strengthening its personality and pointing out the sinous lines of the body.
Besides adding to the aggressive style, the side skirts and the corner splitters were developed in the wind tunnel and add significantly to the car's aerodynamic efficiency reducing aerodynamic resistance and improving fuel consumption.
The dynamic look is finished with redesigned 20" Astro-design wheels and a pair of menacing, black oval exhaust tips. The wheels each feature three Tridents and create a lighter look to accentuate the higher performance.
The more-aggressive look is carried over inside the open-topped cabin, with a new seat-face design and drilled aluminium pedals.
The Maserati GranCabrio Sport introduces changes to the gear-shifting system, with Maserati's Active Shifting paddles now standard. The paddles, drawn from the Trofeo racing car, are longer than the standard steering column-mounted paddles and make shifting easier in enthusiastic driving.
The Maserati GranCabrio Sport debuts two new interior colours in rich leather: Bianco Pregiato and Grigio Chrono. Bianco Pregiato is a more-pure white colour than the existing pearl colour and can be used everywhere except the top of the dashboard. Grigio Chrono is a darker grey, developed to complement the new Rosso Trionfale body colour.
To differentiate it further from the standard GranCabrio, the Maserati GranCabrio Sport badge will be positioned on the dashboard in front of the passenger.
While the front passenger seat matches the driver's seat by receiving adjustable lumbar support as standard, all four seats incorporate the new M-Design seat stitching.
This design reflects classical Maserati grille designs and replicates the design in the central seat panel, all crafted with Poltrona Frau's finest leather.
The Trident-embossed headrests can also be enhanced with customized stitching and customers can choose 13 different colours to contrast the leather of the seat.
The Maserati GranCabrio Sport uses the latest version of Maserati's sonorous, all-alloy 4.7-litre V8, taken straight from the high-performance GranTurismo MC Stradale.
This naturally aspirated engine produces 450 horsepower (331kW) at 7000rpm: that is10hp more than the GranCabrio. It is also rich with torque, with a peak of 510Nm (20Nm more than the GranCabrio) arriving at 4750rpm. Eighty percent of its maximum torque is already available at just 2500rpm.
The performance increases are a result of Maserati's Friction Reduction Program, which has made the Maserati GranCabrio Sport's engine more reactive to the driver's most-nuanced inputs. This program included a revision of the oil sump's fluid dynamics and the application of a Diamond-Like Coating to the tappets and the super-finished camshaft lobes.
Besides added power, torque and responsiveness, the Friction Reduction Program has lowered the Maserati GranCabrio Sport's fuel consumption by six percent to a combined total of 14.5 litres/100km.
The new exhaust tips also help the Maserati GranCabrio Sport to give a richer engine sound when the bypass valves are activated. The valves are always open in Manual-Sport mode, while they are open above 2500rpm in Auto-Sport mode.
This exhaust system allows Maserati to hit its target of improving the car's performance and also give its customers access to a new open air musical theatre and a rich sound experience.
However, the valves are closed in Normal mode, giving the driver and passengers a quieter ride.
The Maserati GranCabrio Sport is the first Maserati to match the upgraded, 450hp version of the 4.7-litre engine with the day-to-day luxury of a fully automatic transmission.
This six-speed transmission includes the super-fast MC Auto Shift mode and has been developed for the Maserati GranCabrio Sport directly from the transmission in the Quattroporte Sport GT S.
The MC Auto Shift mode contains a launch-control mode and is active in both Manual Sport and Automatic Sport modes to provide faster gearshift times and to automatically "blip" the throttle during down-shifts.
To operate the MC Start Strategy (launch-control mode), the driver turns off the MSP in Auto Sport mode, then holds the brake pedal while pressing the accelerator. The driver should reach the optimum revs for a fast start (between 2300-2500rpm), and then simultaneously release the brake pedal and press the accelerator pedal completely. This manouvre is only recommended for use on a race track or in closed conditions of complete safety.
Like the Quattroporte Sport GT S, the MC Auto Shift gives the driver even-greater engagement by holding gears in the Manual Sport mode, even when the engine reaches its rev limiter, and introducing a digital in-dash display to indicate the ideal gear-shift timing.
The transmission gives the driver five distinct operating modes: Auto-Normal, Manual-Normal, Auto-Sport, Manual-Sport and Ice.
Chassis and Handling
The handling has received significant attention, with a new, sportier tune of the Skyhook active-suspension system and the adoption of grooved and drilled dual-cast brake discs.
The upgraded "Sport Skyhook" uses acceleration sensors to register wheel and chassis movement. It sends this data to a central processor, which also analyzes the road conditions and the driving style and instantly and precisely regulates the dampers to suit any situation.
With the Maserati GranCabrio Sport, the Skyhook system received upgraded management software and dampers to give a sharper focus on handling, grip and balance, while even the springs and anti-roll bars have been upgraded.
Derived from the GranTurismo's high-strength steel monocoque architecture, the GranCabrio and GranCabrio Sport feature aluminium structural reinforcements beneath the floor for extra rigidity at the cost of only 100kg compared to the GranTurismo S.
Attached to the front of this architecture are aluminium wishbones with forged aluminium hub carriers and struts, aluminium gas dampers and springs, while at the rear adds a radius bar for each wheel to control toe-in.
The changes to the brakes, with grooved, ventilated and drilled discs on all four wheels, have targeted a sporty, responsive and consistent feeling for the driver.
The grooves have been designed to keep the brake pads clean by avoiding dust build-up, which can reduce braking performance, while the drilled holes ensure the uniform wear of the disc and the pads for long-term consistency. This all helps the GranCabrio Sport to stop in just 35 metres from 100km/h.
The Maserati GranCabrio Sport will have the MC Sport Line packages available immediately at its launch, including interior and exterior carbon fibre features. For example it is possible to change the front splitter to carbon-fibre, while the side skirts are also available in black.
The Astro-design, 20-inch wheels are also available in Shiny Anthracite Grey to create a darker, more-menacing look.
It is also possible to change the body-coloured waist line around the cabin from black (Shadow line) to the same Chrome-line that is standard on the GranCabrio.
The Chrome-line can also be fitted to the door handles, the capote mouldings and the exhaust tips.