Well its been a little busy at the ol' workplace so finally its slowing down to drop a few notes about my 2 week old GranSport.
I have little over 200 miles on it and here are my impressions, both good and bad:
--fit and finish is extremely impressive, I know Ferrari has dumped a ton of money into revamping Maserati's factory and it shows. From the quality of the paint (the best I've ever had on a car) to the interior, the car is solid. The paint looks like a diamond after I waxed it. The metal flake is very impressive in the Nero color. To me. the fit and finish is better than the Germans and thats saying something considering fit in finish is not an Italian cars hallmark. My daily driver has been a series of Benzes and BMW's since the mid 80's and by far it betters those. I drove the new Bentley GT this past August and its equivelant to that. I'm stretching here, but if I want to be picky when you shut the door it doesn't have the German like vault sound like the Benzes of old, but like I said I'm nitpicking, the car is solid and there are no rattles to speak of whatsoever. To me, this coupe series has been around for 8 years or so and you can tell they've bettered it year by year to the point of where it is now.
--ride is fantastic in any mode. While the suspension stiffens up in "sport" mode you can leave it in sport mode all the time and not complain. There is no bumpeness or choppiness at all. The damping is perfect. Absolutely no compliants at all.
--gearbox speed in "sport" mode on downshifts are awesome, the upshifts are fast too, but there is a yo-yo like reaction when accelerating. With the loud pedal floored, you shift and hear a thunk, then hesitation and than bam the acceleration hits. Now this is all within a span of a little over a second but it is noticable. I have a friend who owns a Challenge Stradale and he had an opportunity to drive it to compare, on his car you hear the thunk too but the accerlation is instantaneous, there is no yo-yo feeling at all. To me the GranSport when shifting feels like driving a regular stick shift with a foot pedal clutch, whereby when you accelerate you push in the clutch and lift off the throttle you body moves forward in your seat until you hammer the gas again and your body moves back in your seat, the GranSport paddle shift feels the same way. All this amounts to is what version software the car has. Now the Challenge Stradale is all about high intensity, no carpet, no sound deadening material, low weight at all costs, pure all out sports/track car, the GranSport is not that, its very, very competent sports car when pushed hard and a grand tourer when cruising at highway speeds or cruising around town. So what you have is two very competent cars with there end goal in design being different. If there are 5 versions of gearbox software available, 5 being extreme and 1 being slow, the GranSport is around 3.75 or 4 where as the Challenge Stradale is 5. Again not a huge complaint, but its one of those things where you wish the GranSport was that level 5 software.
-exhaust is flat out cool. Very deep at idle and to be honest with you sounds much better from the outside. It sounds good from the inside too, but trust me it sounds great from the outside. I've heard Tubi on a Maserati and I admit it sounds fantastic, but I don't think the GranSport needs it. A full conversation can be had when the car is floored its not blaring loud, but still very noticable.
-glitches so far, the trunk open warning light makes it appear the trunk is always open when its not, you have to give it a good slam to get the light off, no big deal
-the carbon fiber package fits this car perfectly, I didn't think I'd like it on paper, but with a black car its flat out killer.
-performance, to me when driving it I always feel that the car has so much more that I haven't experienced yet and thats very nice to know that I'm not even close to realizing its limits. Its one of those cars thats handling and perfomance at speeds lower than 100mph is like Lance Armstrong riding a bicycle around the block, its not hard work. At low speeds its really like driving a Lexus, its a smooth, comfortable ride, no joke. Once you crush the throttle and take some turns hard the car feels like its working and is controllable but its rabid dog thats leash has a lot more give in it before it snaps. I'd love to turn the car over to a legitimate race car driver because this cars limits I doubt I'll reach. I hope to take it to Mid-Ohio race course this spring/summer and do my best to push it there. After driving the car for awhile and then re-reading the review in EVO magazine I pretty much agree with it 100%.
Feel free to ask me questions if you have any.