Maserati GranSport: Cutting edge flair with a touch of the past
In the 1950s, the track-inspired engineering of a two-liter Maserati A6G was given a harmonious yet excitingly aerodynamic Coupe body by the legendary Carrozzeria Frua. The resulting car was christened the GranSport.
Maserati has revived that glorious name once again for the version of the current Coupé inspired by the fiery Trident model that competes in the Trofeo Maserati and a host of GT Championship right across Europe. The engineers at Viale Ciro Menotti have carefully tuned the car for sports use so that its already highly sophisticated engineering and powerful high torque engine are now more impressive than ever. Thanks to a massive 400 hp, a harder set-up and meticulous aerodynamic testing resulting in modifications to the body forms, the new GranSport is an unmistakable new addition to the international market for drivers who like their car to have a strong thoroughbred temperament yet still be usable anywhere and anytime. The GranSport will be a thrilling accomplice on dashes up torturous mountain roads or at clandestine meetings on the track, yet still cut a dash in all the most fashionable places and look completely at home parked outside a chic restaurant. That was A6G Frua’s style and, needless to say, it’s been passed down directly to the GranSport in 2004 as well.
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2004 in a pearlescent white livery known as Bianco Fuji, the Maserati GranSport has to all intents and purposes become part of that highly specialized Trident production line. Personalization Maserati-style goes far beyond a selection of paintwork colors. In fact, the muscular, sporty GranSport is the perfect vehicle for the Trident’s endless choice of aesthetic and functional couture options. The GranSport’s interior styling is equally powerful, this courtesy of beautiful color combinations in original leathers and ultimate ergonomic functionality.
Wind Tunnel Tuning
The Maserati GranSport’s harmonious volumes are beautifully combined with more muscular, aerodynamic forms, the fruit of much testing in the wind tunnel. An almost total absence of over steer and improved front-wheel drivability and precision make it very easy to handle too and ensure that drivers will be able to really put it and themselves through their paces in complete safety. Work on the new model’s aerodynamics has led to the addition of new bumpers across the two-door range. The front one, in fact, has a very pronounced lower spoiler with sidebars elegantly integrated into the body itself, while the luggage compartment deck has been given a discreet, yet equally efficient, spoiler lip. The Maserati GranSport offers a truly blistering drive, thanks to its direct, precise steering and excellent stability at high speeds. The traditional Trident elegance is there too in the classic chrome grille reminiscent of the Quattroporte’s. The grilles over the air vents on the rear bumper are chrome too. The Maserati GranSport’s sporty look is completed by new 19” wheels inspired by the ones sported by the cars in the Maserati Trofeo Championship, with spokes forming a very attractive Trident.
The Maserati GranSport is only available with the six-speed electro-hydraulic transmission in which the gears are changed using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The Cambiocorsa systems allows drivers to choose between various gear shifting modes, and in the case of the Maserati GranSport, is controlled by specific software to speed up gear changing in all driving conditions. Even with respect to already very highly developed Coupe Cambiocorsa system, the Sport mode in the GranSport offers 35% faster gear changing on average and also boasts automatic heeling and toeing to make dropping down a gear even faster. Thanks to the new Cambiocorsa software, the Maserati GranSport can sprint a whole kilometer from standstill in a breathtaking 23 seconds flat.
The gear shift ratios are specific too, with the adoption of a sixth gear that is 5% longer, which allows the Maserati GranSport to improve on the already blistering speeds of the Coupe, delivering a top speed of 290 km/h. As with the other models in the Maserati range, the driver can choose between two levels of gear changing. Normal mode is more comfortable and typical of Grand Tourer driving, while with a touch of the Sport button on the central console they get to feel the true power of the car. The Sport mode delivers a much faster gear changing, a deeper exhaust sound and less invasive use of the MSP stability and traction control system. The optional Skyhook suspension system, which offers continuous damping control, is also affected by the driver’s choice of Normal or Sport modes. For more comfort-oriented driving, there is even an Auto button which puts the gears in full automatic mode so that the driver need do nothing more than sit back enjoy the thrilling experience of driving a Maserati. However, the Sport function can still be activated in this mode.
Needless to say, the Maserati GranSport boasts all of the many excellent technological and safety features offered by the Maserati Grand Tourers, but with some very important refinements. The car has a sophisticated set-up: a Transaxle layout with the gearbox rear-mounted in unit with the differential, stability and traction control (MSP) integrating ABS, ASR, MSR and EBD functions, which the driver can deactivate if desired, independent front and rear suspension with double wishbone geometry, which can be integrated with the Skyhook system on request, the Skyhook adaptive damping system which instantly adapts the damper calibrations to suit the driving and road conditions and allows the driver to choose between two different settings (Normal and Sport). The fact that the set-up has been lowered by 10 mm and the adoption of the 19” wheels and Pirelli tires with a specific profile, have lowered the center of gravity and hardened the set-up, making it even more agile and responsive to the steering wheel. The Brembo brakes with alloy titanium-colored four-piston calipers with differentiated diameters and large ventilated cross drilled discs, also further enhance the dynamic characteristics of the car and guarantee powerful braking even at higher speeds.
Elegant, yet functional cabin
The GranSport’s interior reflects its personality both in terms of aesthetics and functionality, yet also exudes the elegant good taste and luxurious comfort of a Trident Grand Tourer. The dashboard, body-hugging seats, tunnel, thick-rimmed steering wheel, impressive materials (leathers, carbon fiber and High-Tech cloth) all combine to create a highly personalized, attractively sporty ambience too. The Maserati GranSport’s dashboard boasts excellent specialist trim and central console options. The upper part of the dash is trimmed in leather, while the central area, framed by the car-colored piping strip, is trimmed in a special high tech fabric originally developed for nautical use and available in Grigio Nickel (Nickel Grey), Blu Metal (Metal Blue) or Nero Competizione (Competition Black). This is a double layered material which is not only very attractive, but also non-slip and extremely hard-wearing, making it ideal for trimming the central area of sports seats. The front seats are designed for high lateral containment, and guarantee maximum driver contact with the car for perfect control. They were developed with the help of the Maserati test drivers in line with the strictest ergonomic principles with the aim of combining sporty characteristics and excellent seat comfort for perfect, long distance driving. This is why the seats are also fully power adjustable and can, on request, be supplied with a heating option and memorized settings on the driver’s side. The carbon, leather-trimmed tunnel separates the two front seats. It contains the Cambiacorsa control selector and the secondary commands, each one of which is set into an elegant chrome surround. The main control buttons, including the blue Start button are grouped together on the central console near the driver. The climate control and CD player buttons are also set in a carbon feature on the central console. From the initial feel of the three-spoke steering wheel of the Maserati GranSport, the driver will appreciate the work that has been done to mould the rim to offer improved ergonomic grip. All of the car’s functions are arranged on the instrument binnacle which boasts sporty white graphics on a Maserati blue background.