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On the cover Autocar said “New Maserati V8, Brutal, Noisy, Lovely”. The rest of the article was hard to unravel - an odd mix of pluses and minuses. (The test car was white with blue/blue interior).

Started off with a reference to Maserati history, image and emotional appeal, then went on to say they quite liked the appearance, engine, exhaust note and general level of performance.

Critical of the gearchange in Normal Mode, but more positive when they commented on Sport Mode. Compared it unfavourably with the latest Ferrari version though.

Quite liked the ride in Normal, but found Sport too harsh. Conversely, disliked the handling/body control in Normal, but enthusiastic about the transformation in Sport.

Commented on the tendency towards ultimate oversteer - rather liked it and said “Power oversteer in a Maserati is a good feeling”. Then said it lacked the cross-country pace of its rivals but was nevertheless a rewarding and involving experience.

Liked the interior (in comparison to German performance cars) but disliked the driving position, and felt the view of the road made the car seem big and not confidence-inspiring. Compliments for the back seat and boot (trunk) roominess.

Critical of build quality, mentioning squeaks, rattles and groans, and said that it lacked a deep-set feeling of integrity in comparison to Porsche and BMW.


Autocar star ratings (max *****) as follows:

Engine........................................****
Transmission............................***½
Steering.......................................***½
Brakes.........................................***½
Handling......................................***½
Ride..............................................***½
Economy......................................**½
Driving position and visibility....**
Instruments & Controls.............***
Equipment...................................***½
Liveability.....................................***½
Quality..........................................**½
Value............................................***½
Safety...........................................***
.

I quote Autocar’s summary verbatim, as follows:

“AUTOCAR VERDICT
the changes to the GranSport over the regular car not only make it much more focused, but also a far better all-round proposition. Objectively, it still doesn’t get close to offering the all-encompassing talents of a Porsche 911, but it’s more of an event to look at, sit in and drive. A car to buy with your heart, and now partly with your head.

A great Maserati, a fine sports GT ***½ “


And while we’re at it, Autocar still owe me my prize for “letter of the week” some time ago ! :)
 
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