Raindrops & Droptops

Maserati knows how to make a difference. In our vision the Tridente is synonimous with the Italic standard for excellence. If you’ll sit inside their cars, you’ll find the most sober combination of elegance, usable performance and uncompromising comfort.

They’re can be best defined as real cars for the real world: no one wants to have back ache while driving or turned deaf by a thunderous exhaust sound. Maseratis are the cars for those who don’t feel like smoking the ‘Ring in under 7 minutes every time they get in the driver’s seat. Nevertheless owning a car that packs serious performance is a matter of pride and joy for anybody and a source of interest for any car enthusiast.

Some cars have  the word “enjoyment” written all over them: it is a term that is not very often considered by most car manufacturers. We all must accept that most people cannot always feel like beating a record when getting out for a drive.

Have we lost the ability to enjoy a car freely, without constantly monitoring 0-100 times and see how many G can it pull during cornering? It seems that the world has forgotten the pleasures of grand touring only focusing on raw performance.

Cars like the Maserati Gran Cabrio are built for those who appreciate time and want to cross continents with style and italian-class refinement.

For this escape, we received an invitation from Maserati to test drive the car in Modena. Being real gentlemen, our friends at the Factory were so cool to arrange for us a dinner and a night in Modena, where we could spend some quality time before test driving the car the next day.

Maserati sure knows how to treat those who admires their cars: being offered a top class hospitality always deserves a mention, in any article. As you might guess, this sort of relaxing experiences will guarantee you the peace of mind you need before working on a press car. This is hard work kids, trust us.

Testing an Italian supercar in the hills around Modena is classic cool and a must for any car enthusiast. We’ve already tested a couple of cars in the area before and with short time at our hands to enjoy the wonders of the 4.7 liter V8 and the fresh raindrops on our heads we didn’t have many choices to go elsewhere. How could we complain anyways?

Open top cars need to be used like they’re meant to be: with the top down. As you can imagine from the pictures, the weather was rainy and what is normally recognized as a sunny driving paradise was looking more like Scotland. We had a fine cabriolet in our hands and we needed to make it justice. After all what’s the point of test driving a cabriolet with the roof up? We left the Maserati Factory in style with the top down and our wet hair. After all, we needed to refresh our ideas while we carving some wet corners on the hills.

Our escape got us through a test route for many factory drivers and with classic narrow section both uphill and downhill the fun was guaranteed. In half a day, we covered the distance between the Maserati Factory and Castelvetro, located right in the heart of supercarland. The fog was so low that after a small climb we were above it: the view was breathtaking.

If you take into consideration some numbers, the Gran Cabrio is a heavy car. On the road with two young men and their luggage it weighted nearly two tons. The excellent weight distribution made it handle well even in tighter corners.it sure wasn’t nimble as a conventional sports car but it wasn’t slow in direction changes either.

The steering was a delight and properly weighted. The sporty wheel with leather and accent stitching was a delight to see and a joy to hold. The carbon fiber paddles and interior finishing added that racy touch that never fails to give the car a more “special” attitude. The interior quality was exceptional and the smell of fine Poltrona Frau leather filled the cockpit when the top was down.

The electronics is what made the Gran Cabrio MC really old: nevermind, we only care about driving and never jiggle around with the sat-nav and infotainment.

The 4.7 liter engine is a revised version of the one found on the S model and benefits from revised internal components that reduce friction, like the diamond coating for valves and cams, a modified lubrication system and a sport exhaust. When accelerating, the car really begins to push from 4000 rpm: keep it above those number and it will guarantee a proper performance on a narrow road.

In spite of being a performance GT he whole car is very progressive in its acceleration and you never feel a kick in the back when you push hard on the throttle. When in I.C.E. mode and automatic, it is a pleasurable car to drive slow: the sound is muted, the ride softer although it maintains a certain level of stiffness and the whole thing can be described as “enjoyable”.

Although we were expecting a signature “Italic sharpness” from its behavior  we were surprised to test a car that privileges smoothness and refinement over raw performance and aggression. It’s an easy and predictable car to drive, very elegant in its manners and really engaging.

It’s not a car for the masses and to play jack-the-lad in the streets of London, showing people how good you are in pressing a pedal to the floor and rip the valves off the heads. It’s the car of choice for those who care about the lost art of being elegant. You sure attract some attention while driving a car like this: people will look at it because it is charming and not arrogant.

Have we the right to define the design of the Gran Cabrio as timeless? Maybe not but we sure think that this car will sure be dearly remembered after it will be retired from production in 2 years time.

It will sure be a sad moment for all of us. In many ways the Gran Cabrio is the quintessential Maserati for the XXI century and the symbol for Italian Gran Turismo in the world.

We might say in the end that the Gran Cabrio left us dissatisfied with our will of going hunting for corners yet gave us a pleasant surprise with its manners. We re-thought completely our escape and privileged a relaxed cruise through some beautuful scenery. Despite our car being the top range model that Maserati is building right now, it wasn’t the mad version of a GT like we hoped it to be. It was a properly fast and comfortable car that will make you experience a proper gentleman’s car.

Well done Maserati.

 

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