Robb Report Car of the Year 2008: No. 8 Maserati Granturismo

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In It for the Long Haul.

The suave, Pininfarina-penned shape of the Maserati GranTurismo coupe makes a promise that the car’s performance does not deliver. While its appearance screams track star, beneath all that sculpted sheet metal is the Quattroporte sedan’s portly platform. Capable of reaching 60 mph in just over five seconds, Maserati’s new coupe is hardly slow, but compared to most of the other automobiles in this year’s group—which includes some vehicles that crack the acceleration benchmark’s four-second barrier—the GranTurismo is not especially fast, either. It is a true grand touring car designed for long hauls instead of short spurts. So while its chassis may not be as nimble as that of the outgoing GranSport, the GranTurismo has a more comfortable ride and an infinitely more operable transmission. The GranTurismo may not be a sprinter, but sprinters do not win marathons. —Gregory Anderson

Trident and True

This is not the quickest car to snarl out of Italy—not by many kilometers per hour. Nor is it the most expensive. The Maserati GranTurismo, however, is certainly the friendliest and prettiest junior GT since the 1956 Lancia B20 coupe by Pinin Farina, whose studio, it should be noted, styled this latest Maserati. Pininfarina has only hinted at the marque’s racing heritage by giving the car a concave grille and making subtle use of Maserati’s trident emblem. The interior comes close to British luxury car norms, and the automatic transmission is a galaxy removed from the thunk-and-surge shifting of the previous generation’s GT3200s. It has long been said that if you cannot afford a Ferrari, you should buy a Maserati. Wise motorists might consider buying a GranTurismo even if they can afford a Ferrari. —Paul Dean

Zoom, Zoom, Gloom

For hours I could stare at the GranTurismo’s snout, that preposterously wide mouth fitted with Neptune’s gleaming trident. It recalls so many wonderful Masers from a half-century ago, when Mille Miglia victories by the marque were common, and the Modena automaker was almighty. But once you move past the front of the car, the GT evokes Mazda’s sport coupes too vividly for my liking. Hop inside, fire up the car, and a wonderful racket stirs the soul. But unfortunately, this is not a baby Ferrari, as old marketing pitches wanted you to believe. The GranTurismo is only mildly spirited, and that is in sport mode only. —Marco R. della Cava

Maserati, www.maseratiamerica.com

LAYOUT

Front-engine, rear-wheel drive

ENGINE

4.2-liter V-8

TRANSMISSION

6-speed automatic

POWER

405 hp, 339 ft lbs

ZERO-TO-60

5.1 seconds

TOP SPEED

177 mph

BASE PRICE: $114,650

PRICE AS TESTED: $119,425

ROBB REPORT RATING: 74.6

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