by Sebastian Cenizo
When it comes to exotic metal, you have to think Italian. While Ferrari is known for supercars, Maserati offers a more relaxed experience while still retaining the noise and drama that Modena is notorious for. In no car is this embodied more than in the GranTurismo Convertible. Under the hood of the GranTurismo convertible is a Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V8 with 454 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. This sends thrust through a six-speed automatic to the correct axle - the rear. While these are the ingredients of a good recipe, and while the GT's design has aged beautifully, the Maserati convertible is really starting to feel out of date. So, is it still good enough to take on newer rivals like the Jaguar F-Type Convertible? Let's find out.
The Maserati GranTurismo convertible, or GranCabrio as it is sometimes known, is unchanged from last year's model. Why? Well, Maserati's flagship sports car is soon to be reimagined, possibly as an electric vehicle. Nevertheless, we must scold Maserati for failing to make any significant changes in a long time.
The Maserati GranTurismo cabriolet carries sharp and smooth styling elements in a stunning package. The front end is dominated by an elongated hexagonal grille with vertical vanes and the trademark trident in the center. Sharp bi-xenon headlights help add visual width while a creased hood adds length. Each model has access to a unique carbon hood with a central intake and a pair of vents too. On the fenders, the typical three vents are there, while the MC also gets a large vent behind the front wheel arch that leads into a unique side-skirt arrangement. At the rear, dual-exit exhaust pipes feature on both models, but the MC has a unique diffuser and the pipes are arranged in the center with a circular design. This model also gets an integrated trunk spoiler in a duckbill style.
The GranTurismo cabrio is fairly long at 193.3 inches in standard guise and 193.7 in MC form with the wheelbase measuring 115.8 inches. Width is 75.4 inches excluding the mirrors, with height at 53.3 inches and curb weight working out to 4,365 lbs. On the MC, height is reduced marginally to 53.2 inches, while weight-saving thanks to a carbon fiber hood drops the scale by 15 pounds.
Whether you opt for the Sport or the MC, each is powered by a Ferrari-derived 4.7-liter V8 with 454 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. The sound emanating from the exhaust is simply intoxicating, providing the kind of howl that a German or American V8 can never replicate. While the rest of the world has moved on to higher powered turbocharged engines, the Maserati is still adamantly stuck in the past. That's not entirely a bad thing, though. Yes, the GT doesn't feel as fast as you expect, but that sound is well worth the less visceral performance, and it's not like you'll struggle to accelerate from a traffic light or overtake. Combined with a six-speed ZF automatic dubbed MC Auto Shift, the Sport model is capable of 0-60 in 4.9 seconds with a top speed of 177 mph. The MC variant is slightly quicker and faster, accelerating to 60 in 4.8 seconds and topping out at 179 mph.
The name GranTurismo means grand tourer, and that's what this convertible is. It exhibits body roll in the corners even with adaptive dampers in the Sport model and stiffer sport suspension in the MC variant, but that is because the ride is meant to be comfortable over long distances. In other words, the GT is exactly what it's supposed to be and is suitable for cross-country road trips. That doesn't make it useless in the corners, though. Thanks to a lack of updates, this is one of the few cars still fitted with a hydraulic steering setup, which means gorgeous feel and feedback. Turn-in is direct and that makes this a great point and shoot car that can be coaxed into long, lazy slides if you so desire. If you want something sharper, the BMW M8 or Jaguar F-Type convertibles are better, but for traversing a continent in style and exceptional levels of comfort, the Maserati is still one of the best.
Buying this car is not a decision that those who are stingy at the pumps should consider. It requires premium fuel and has an addiction to the stuff. Official EPA estimates are 13/20/16 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Along with a 19.8-gallon gas tank, mixed driving is expected to return a total range around the 316-mile mark. The F-Type R offers better figures overall, with official estimates of 15/23/18 mpg on the same cycles.
The Maserati GranTurismo convertible is a four-seater but as with most other four-seater sports cars, the rear perches are only really suitable for children. In front, the electric seats are capable of providing enough adjustments for six-footers to relax, while the ergonomic if outdated controls are in easy reach and the driving position feels good with strong all-round visibility. Naturally, these pros increase further with the top down. Getting in and out is relatively easy unless you're getting into the back, but you have to be careful when opening the long doors in a supermarket parking lot.
The trunk is capable of storing 6.1 cubic feet of volume but the opening is larger and the trunk deeper than in the Jag F-Type, making it more practical despite the Jaguar having a larger trunk on paper.
In the cabin, front occupants are treated to a pair of cupholders, while the rear occupants get a pair of cupholders and a little tray for your phone or wallet. The door pockets are too shallow for any real use and the glovebox is small. Essentially, there aren't many places to put your stuff.
The GranTurismo convertible is not a particularly well-equipped vehicle by modern standards. You get your normal traction and stability controls, as well as power-adjustable front seats. It also features dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, an automatic trunk lid release, remote entry, cruise control, parking sensors, heated mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. The headlights are of the bi-xenon variety, and you get a mechanical limited-slip differential for improved handling. You also get adaptive suspension and brake assist. The MC version ditches the adaptive suspension for a stiffer sport-tuned setup, but you can add it back for $3,000 if you like.
The infotainment system is called Maserati Touch Control Plus and consists of an 8.4-inch touchscreen borrowed from other Fiat Chrysler products that is known as Uconnect in those cars and is capable of supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functions. It also has SiriusXM satellite radio, and Traffic & Travel Link services that work with the navigation system. Bluetooth allows for audio streaming to the 11 Harman Kardon speakers. The system works fairly well and isn't too unattractive, but we would have preferred a bespoke setup to match the exclusivity of the Maserati. It can also be a little laggy at times, so, much like the rest of the car, it's due for an update.
The 2019 model has thus far been free of recalls, but the 2018 model was subject to one in June of 2019 for airbags that would not deploy properly.
In terms of coverage, Maserati provides basic and powertrain warranties for the first four years or 50,000 miles of ownership, during which time you get roadside assistance too. An unlimited-mileage corrosion perforation warranty is offered for the first four years of ownership too.
The Maserati brand doesn't usually submit their vehicles for testing, and the NHTSA hasn't received one of these either. The IIHS has also only tested the Ghibli sedan.
As standard, you get a rearview camera, traction and stability systems, brake assist, parking sensors, and rain-sensing wipers. It also has frontal and side-impact airbags. Unfortunately, many advanced driver-assist technologies are absent, such as lane keeping assist.
The Maserati GranTurismo convertible is getting a little long in the tooth and has been for some time now. It's not as fast as its rivals, the interior is looking a little dated, and the list of standard and optional features is as short as the distance you can go before you need to refuel. Nevertheless, we can't help but like it. It has an Italian charm and that exotic flair that only a car with a V8 from Modena can successfully pull off. It sounds absolutely fantastic, and it's very comfortable on long journeys, as well as around town. The leather and other high-end materials that make the car so lavishly appointed are of the highest quality, and although it's no Porsche, it can be plenty of fun in the bends too. It's become something of an old person's car, much like the brand itself, but for those who appreciate character, engine tone, and a proper GT level of comfort, the GranTurismo convertible is hard to beat.
The base model, called the Sport, starts at $150,980 before a destination charge of $1,995. The sportier MC variant starts at a base price of $164,980, and if you go mad with options, a fully loaded model will set you back over $210,000.
Unless you're really besotted by the looks of the MC, which is slightly more aggressive and arguably better to look at, the regular Sport model is just as good. You sacrifice one-tenth in the dash from 0-60 and lose out on just 2 mph in terms of top speed ability, but you save yourself $14,000. In addition, the base Sport model has the same options and standard features as the MC, as well as the same power output and stunning Ferrari engine. You also get adaptive dampers with the Skyhook suspension that you have to pay extra for on the MC, and let's be honest here: If you're buying a Maserati, it's about luxury more than it is about outright performance. Therefore, we'd stick with the comfier model, and if you really want to blow an extra 14 grand, spend it on some nicer wheels or some carbon accents.
Jaguar's F-Type R is also equipped with a V8 engine and an iffy infotainment system. It also features a minimal amount of storage space, and its engine is the best thing about it. It goes about its practices in a very different manner, however, and as a more modern vehicle with more displacement and the advantage of a supercharger, its 5.0-liter V8 produces 542 hp, almost 100 more than the Italian. To help put the power down, it uses an all-wheel-drive system in conjunction with a ZF eight-speed automatic. It handles well, but as a grand tourer, it's a poor comparison to the Maserati, as it has an excessively stiff and bumpy suspension system. It also has a less spacious interior and with a new model coming in a couple of years, we'd skip over the F-Type for now. In terms of comfort and good performance, the GranTurismo is certainly our pick.
The Ghibli is another of Maserati's luxury offerings, and in base format, it starts at less than half what the GranTurismo convertible does. However, you can't have a Ferrari V8 in this car, and for gearheads, that may be enough to end the comparison. For everyone else, the Ghibli is worth considering for its spacious interior and 17.7 cubic-foot trunk. You can easily seat adults in the back of the Ghibli, and its styling is still resemblant of older Maserati models like the GT but with a fair bit of modernization. That said, it does feel a little cheap inside and the ride quality is not quite as good as in the GT, which is a surprise. If you can look past these things, the list of features may suit you, as the Ghibli can be had with adaptive LED headlights, ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera. It'll come down to personal preference, but for us, the V8 engine, drop-top glamor, and sublime ride in the GranTurismo are hard to ignore.
Check out some informative Maserati GranTurismo Convertible video reviews below.