‘Opulent, luxurious elegance’ - Car or 5 star hotel?

The new Maserati Gran Cabrio should come sold with a matching yacht and supermodel girlfriend.
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A good friend of mine summed up Maserati ownership during a recent tear around the country in the beautifully elegant, yet addictively aggressive Maserati GranCarbrio. He said “I love people who buy Maserati’s because they could have bought so many other things”. I presumed my friend was talking about the glorious Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Bentley Continental GT (at a stretch) or even the new and not-so-beautiful visually-pleasing Porsche Panamera (why?). “They just scream class” he bellowed while hanging on for dear life. “When I see one driving by I know the person behind the wheel is going to be well dressed you know, worth a fortune and have great taste in everything, you know, the sort of guy who smokes Monte Cristo cigars and stuff”.

I couldn’t agree more o enlightened chum! Gaze at someone rolling past in an Aston Martin and they could be an ‘anyone’ from a more-money-than-sense city boy type to a retarded footballer who prefers cheesy chips to caviar. Witness a Bentley Continental GT breeze past and it’s highly likely a spoilt wife or stick-thin socialite is behind the wheel. Almost vomit as the Panamera rolls past and the person behind the wheel is, well, mental, obviously. That thing is hideous.

But, as you stand there, probably sipping a Martini somewhere on the Cote d’Azur and a Maserati GranCabrio growls past, roof down with anthracite paintwork glinting in the sun, you know the owner is going to be pure class. He is probably on his way to check on the yacht or meet an old loafer-clad friend for a Fruits de mer at sunset. There’s just something about the Maserati, something that puts off the potential oafs yet attracts those who appreciate the finer things in life.

And a Maserati certainly comes under the ‘finer things in life’ umbrella. The GranCabrio is basically a convertible version of the wonderful GranTurismo, a car so fiercely sexy it should come with a siren so people know when it’s coming and can prepare themselves for the imminent mess soon to be created in their pants. The GranCabrio is equally as attractive, all smooth lines and seductive contours with the big gaping mouth slung low at the front. It’s like an angry shark, but one that you’d like to make love to. Passionate, slippery unadulterated shark-love. Drop the fabric roof with the press of a button and the car takes on a whole new persona- long, elegant and oozing class. The dark blue leather trim inside is now exposed; the long sweeping dash and leather-bound steering wheel sporting the legendary trident badge invite you in. The plush leather seats beckon your chinos to take a seat and the Bang & Olufsen sound system begs for something bold and bassy like Wagner or Sub Focus.

"When a Maserati GranCabrio growls past, roof down with anthracite paintwork glinting in the sun, you know the owner is going to be pure class"

So this car is all about the looks then? An elongated, slow cruiser, perfect for dawdling up and down the promenades of Italy? You’d be very wrong if you thought that was the GranCabrio’s sole purpose. The fact of the matter is this stunner features the most potent engine in the Maserati range. The vocal, bellowing hog that is the 4.7 litre V8, capable of kicking out 434 BHP and hitting a frightening top speed of 175 mph. The noise is excellent too, pop it in ‘sport’ mode and open the taps, you are instantly greeted with an almost Ferrari-sounding roar. Lift off the accelerator and the overrun burbles and spits noisy excess fumes from the aggressive twin tail pipes.

That’s not to say this is a ‘real driver’s car’. The GranCabrio sometimes felt like it was struggling to put all that power and torque onto the tarmac, while the paddle-shift gear box isn’t the quickest available. Plus, the onboard computer is so complicated and fiddly it drives you to distraction. But then again, it’s small-fry, after all this thing looks and sounds so good. If I owned one I wouldn’t run the risk of flinging it wildly into corners or block shifting through the gear box on a country lane… no, I’d have a Lamborghini Superleggera in the garage for that.

Unlike other exotic convertibles there’s room in the GranCabrio too. Enough space in the back for two adults and there’s even a boot. To be fair, it’s tiny but packing the car for a weekend trip for two was a doddle. You simply drop the top and throw everything in the back, it’s just a shame I was throwing in a couple of tatty sleeping bags and some vegetables rather than shopping bags emblazoned with Prada, Gucci and Chanel.

So if it’s unrivalled Italian class, meaty performance and luxury of the epic variety you can’t go too far wrong with the excellent GranCabrio. In fact, I’m struggling to think of anything in the price range that even comes close to this kind of package. I just need to sell a couple of kidneys to raise the £96,175 asking price first…

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