The Maserati GranTurismo Trofeo’s MC20 engine, accomplished chassis, and stunning looks make it highly desirable grand tourer.
Spend any time with Maserati and you get the impression that while it’s happy for its MC20 supercar to be regarded as the glowing, totemic return to form, the car it really wants to get right for its new era is the GranTurismo.
Couple of reasons. The first stretches back 75 years to the 1947 A6 1500, a milestone that Maserati bullishly touts as the first ever grand tourer. Certainly, a generous bonnet with rakish coupe profile was the original recipe and, in essence, nothing much has changed. Things are a bit more complex today, though, not least structurally, where the new GranTurismo’s advanced, lightweight aluminium/steel hybrid construction leaves the previous generation GranTurismo, dropped in 2019, looking distinctly old and overweight.
And that’s the second reason. Before the MC20, the 2007 GranTurismo, with its sonorous 4.2-litre (later 4.7-litre) V8 engine and swoon-inducing good looks, was the best reason for buying a Maserati, if not a grand tourer. This is unfinished business. The V8 has been dropped but the new GranTurismo has MC20 power. It’s shooting for the top.
Marginally tamer of the two new models, and named after Maserati’s hometown, is the Modena, with 360kW, a 0-100km/h time of 3.9sec and top speed of 301km/h, but we’re in Italy to drive the faster, 404kW Trofeo, which drops the 0-100km/h time to a supercar-central 3.5sec and maxes out at nearly 320km/h.
Under the Trofeo’s long, contoured bonnet (described by Maserati’s head of design Klaus Busse as a ‘masterpiece’), the mildly detuned and sanitised 3-litre twin-turbo Nettuno V6 and eight-speed ZF auto is low slung and sits aft of the front axle. Power is directed to all four wheels with a rear-biased torque split. Air-sprung double wishbone and multi-link suspension comes with adaptive damping as standard.
The new GranTurismo is a surprisingly large car that appears even larger by being so close to the road, but none of it looks superfluous. It’s a stunningly handsome car and effective packaging makes life on the inside roomier than you might expect. It’s a snug four-seater but a four-seater nonetheless, with surprisingly good rear headroom. In the front, control relationships are somewhat Italianate but the fundamentals work well with an ideal driving position and seats that are more supportive than they look. The cabin is just a gorgeous place to be with Bentley Continental GT-rivalling levels of luxury.
The Trofeo does slow and comfy like all good GTs should, short shifting smoothly on a light throttle, its potent V6 performing a hollow, guttural soft shuffle, sounding simultaneously mellow and mean while conserving energy. Despite the extra weight of the all-drive underpinnings, the suspension can do supple and tender, at least with the drive modes pegged back to the default GT setting.
Slowly at first, the test route’s hills become less distant and the clearer roads call for a raised tempo. The improving conditions are met with a modest, almost disdainful uptick in delivery from the Trofeo which, curiously, has lulled me into a kind of terminal mooch I’m in no hurry to leave. Instead, I find myself content to tap into the motor’s massive flexibility, which seems to build from nowhere on a breath of throttle.
When the Trofeo does fill its lungs, though, it feels brutally, thrillingly rapid with a high-octane soundtrack to match. Just like the MC20, the GranTurismo Trofeo gives the impression it has far heavier, harder fists than its quoted output would suggest. It isn’t as raw or wild and the mid-engined supercar but there’s no doubting the powerplant that bonds them.
Of course, it’s no Toyota GR86. I’m not being goaded into going for it, barely able to resist the rich indulgence of the dynamic treasures that await and I’m neither surprised nor bothered. The GranTurismo is a big, heavy car: wide, meaty of helm, grippy rather than nippy. It feels better equipped to tackle the odd 210km/h autobahn sweeper or maybe a road trip that takes in Monaco for breakfast and Modena for dinner. All effortlessly within its compass, I’m sure.
But it’s way too easy to underestimate the Trofeo. As the road opens up, the direction changes come thick and fast. Helm feel focuses, responses sharpen, the all-drive chassis hunkers down and keys in. The Trofeo begins to corner with a verve and balance that belies its size and near two-ton weight. Understeer is resisted, grip surfs frankly heroic levels. Rather too hidden depths? Quite possibly, but depths nonetheless.
Price and rivals
The GranTurismo Trofeo is expected to cost from around $300,000 once right-hand-drive Australian pricing has been finalised. This puts it under the V8-engined Bentley Continental GT, which has an identical 404kW to the Trofeo and all-wheel drive but carries more weight, yet is the best it has ever been dynamically. Aston Martin’s DB11 V8 offers rear-drive and 394kW for what should be similar money, but its interior quality lags behind the other two.