Though the Maserati GranTurismo has been a steady presence in the luxury market, sitting largely unchanged for a handful of years, there were hardly complaints of it. When it began production, it was just simply the most exotic choice in its segment. Now, it remains the only one dedicated to its purest qualities.
Its lustful looks and raucous exhaust tones from a naturally-aspirated V8 remain a lovely deviation from the soulless tech capsules that now litter the market. It may have been late for an overhaul, but no one was really asking for it. The fear is that its character would be voided if any significant changes were made.
Downsizing, or even hybridization, were not options for the existing GranTurismo’s powerplant. Instead, the 4.7-liter Ferrari-sourced engine was retained and delivers a competent 454 horsepower to both the Sport and MC variants.
Refreshment of the front and rear fascias better slot the GranTurismo alongside contemporary Maserati offerings, but do nothing to spoil the shape of Pininfarina’s perfection. The revised front intakes blend the elegant character of the grand tourer to increased aerodynamic efficiency and distinguish the 2018 from a glance.
Further advancing the 2018 GranTurismo is the redevelopment of the infotainment module, bolstering what was the most glaring weakness of the modern GranTurismo, but one that it got away with in 2007. A rear backup camera is now standard, as is Maserati’s Touch Control system featuring entertainment apps and navigation. The keypad and proximal layout of function and control buttons and knobs have finally been scrapped, with much of the system accessed through the touchscreen, while climate and driving modes remain intuitive fixed buttons below the cluster. Actions involving the system are now sensibly executed without mistake.
The driving experience, though, is largely unchanged – that’s to say, it’s still surreal.
Ignition is still achieved with a key blade, because the satisfaction of twisting to life the Ferrari V8 remains second to nothing. The muffling of turbochargers is a caveat to other cars in the segment, with modified exhaust filtering attempting to cover up that blemish. The GranTurismo has none of that – and thank you, Maserati, for it.
Wasting no time, we click the Sport button behind the shifter because the car was built to turn heads. The exhaust drops its valves, and the imaginary volume dial spins all the way to the right. Flick the shifter to the left to take firm control, and progress through the 6-speed gearbox as it lets you obliterate the 7500-RPM redline while an assault rifle-like backfire convinces your hand to upshift on the rev limiter’s behalf.
But eventually you’ll find traffic, and you’ll certainly find where the GranTurismo settles in. Put the transmission back in automatic, deactivate Sport mode, and it’s on par with its luxury counterparts. Then when it clears, reverse those again and it gives you a driving experience so far separated from any luxury competitor.
You can always find a faster option, one with more technology packed into it or one cheaper; but it’s impossible to find one that has so perfectly figured out what appeals most to an enthusiast.