As Maserati entered 2012, they were still very busy with modifying and improving on their, already, exemplary grand tourer. This year would see them introduce two new models that would push performance and speed to the very limit of its Ferrari made engines while increasing the values of these high performance automobiles to nearer the US$150,000 mark.
It would also see them say goodbye to their GranTurismo prototype, the 2008 Base 4.2 liter model. After paving the way for Maserati’s glorious reentry into being an iconic engineer and designer of prestige automobiles, it was time to retire the smaller sized engine and focus on standardizing the engine under the Trident hood. From now on, all models would work off the larger 4.7 V8 Ferrari engine although each individual edition would offer their own differences in brake horsepower and torque power. The 2012 Maserati GranTurismo would take the brand up another notch and ensure the ‘Masters from Modena’ would carve their name, once again, into motoring history.
Much of the limelight and excitement for this year would come from the new letters tagged onto the end of the car’s name – MC. This stood for Maserati Corse which refers to the company’s racing programme – corse in Italian means racing. So, to understand the clamor and excitement for the release of this edition we need to fill in the backstory.
In 2009, Maserati had decided it was time to enter their cars back into the racing world. They decided to use their new model, GranTurismo, to be the basis for this. They modified the 4.7 liter engine so they could push the horsepower to 444 bhp. Just 15 racing cars rolled off the production line and entered racing tournaments around the world with some success too. And that was it.
But their fiercely loyal and adrenaline fueled customer base were well aware of what Maserati had quietly produced for the race track and they wanted some of the action too. Their demand rose for wanting a road legal version of this super sports car that looked and, more importantly, felt like the cars that raced in GT4, GTD and Trofeo tournaments. So Maserati gave them just that.
The 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC would have the same engine capacity as its racing cousin. With 444 bhp and 376 Lb – ft torque, this version of the 4.7 liter V8 would be the fastest yet. The car could hit 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 188 mph. This would be a crucial motoring landmark as this now broke the 186 mph barrier as its speed hit 188 mph.
Being a racing car, aerodynamics were key to its design. At the front, the fenders are wider than the standard model and direct air through them for cooling as well. The MC was unique in that it was the only model so far with air intakes on the hood to increase downforce, the front bumper was designed with a pronounced splitter. The side skirts / rocker panels were redesigned to enhance air flow around the car while the rear deck had a lip spoiler and the rear bumpers have been maximized for aero potential. Put into practice, downforce at 125 mph has increased as much as 50% in the rear and 25% in the front. Now the GranTurismo sticks to the road like a Garfield sucker-cup toy as its racing line aerodynamics coupled with the car’s state of the art driving assistance (stability, traction control and anti-lock brakes).
At the guidance of racing drivers (yes, this car’s design was structured on the expert advice of racing drivers who thrashed the MC around tracks and knew what worked best), the suspension was installed with a single-rate and also made firmer by 8% to enhance its racing performance while the car rides slightly lower as this will give a better racing view. To add to the racing pedigree, Pirelli made custom built 20 inch P-Zero Corsa tires for the car.
But the 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC would be produced in two very specific formats, one for the American market and another for the rest of the world. Maserati knew the particular tastes and demands of their customers across the world and so the MC was developed accordingly. The big differences were in the transmission and the seating arrangements.
In its original form, the car was given the automated manual transmission which first appeared on the GranTurismo S. This would give the car its closest version to being a true manual and gave the driver the best response to the engine. This gearbox was not so admired in the States so the “traditional” ZF six-speed automatic transmission was applied instead. But the Maserati engineers had been listening closely to owner’s previous criticisms of this gearbox. It would protect the transmission too much by making sure shift changes would always occur well before hitting the redline. This was now rectified as the ‘Sport’ & ‘Race’ modes would allow the gear changes to happen right on the redline at a max rev count while completing these shift changes in a staggering 60 milliseconds!
Another upgrade, as directed by the racing drivers, was the redesigning of the shift paddles on the steering column. Reshaped and elongated to ensure that they could be easily accessed no matter where the steering wheel was located at the time of driving.
As befitting its racing lineage, the 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale (to give it its full European name) threw out the back seats and replaced the front ones with light carbon fibre racing bucket seats with the driver held fast by a sturdy harness as opposed to a more usual seatbelt. Stateside customers still preferred a more comfortable ride, with a more accommodating seat, so the original 2+2 cabin was utilized here. This four seater set-up still had adequate space for 4 adults. Although, due to its racing caliber, the trunk had reduced in size to just a mere 6.2 cubic feet.
Another additional feature to the American GranTurismo MC was keeping the ‘Skyhook’ adjustable air suspension system which ensured a smoother ride for the discerning driver.
Open Air Corse
It wouldn’t be just the hardtop that Maserati would upgrade but their GranTurismo convertible would also get a work over too. The 2012 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible Sport would reap the rewards of the introduction of the new MC formatted 4.7 liter V8 engine. The newly improved six-speed automatic transmission, from ZF, would also adorn this soft top. Which meant all the high performance tricks the ‘sport’ mode from the MC are also available here. Lightening quick shift changes and meeting the rev counters’ redline would be standard here, as well. High speed cornering would again be second nature but its two ton weight load would be felt on this convertible too. Its increased performance, compared to the previous soft top, was better but fared less when compared to the original GranTurismo MC. The Convertible Sport made 0-60 in 5 seconds and made the quarter mile in exactly 24 seconds, though its top speed would be 11 mph slower than the MC as it made only 177 mph.
Cost for both of these models would be steep, as basic price tags, before add-ons, would see the GranTurismo MC priced at US $139,900 while the Convertible Sport would be US $6,000 more at US$146,300. But, if fluffing your model out with all the refinery of customized accessories, then the cost jumps closer to US $160,000.
Trident Elegance & Luxury
The interiors are again laid out sumptuously with soft leather or Alcantara spread over all available surfaces. Steering wheel, dash, headliners, side panels, carpets and gear stick are all finished to the owner’s own personal taste, with a myriad of colours, tones and stitching to choose from. The dash comes in a variety of surfaces from black chrome, lacquers and three choices of wood finish. The Convertible Sport has six different colors for its canvas top. This adjustable roof has a proper glass rear window and the whole thing can be reclined in just 24 seconds even at a speed of under 20 mph. Exterior color designs are again as myriad as an artist’s palette with 19 choices of body paint and six choices for the Brembo brake calipers.
Driver comfort was aided by the continued use of its Infotainment system. Bose was still equipping each model with their 11 speaker surround sound system that included a satellite radio with accessibility to Sirius Radio. Also connecting with Bluetooth and having connectivity with all media players and having access to a large 33gb hard drive to store downloaded music (although still proving to be very unfriendly due to the slow time it took to rip CD’s and having to manually label each song afterwards). Sat nav was on offer from its seven inch touchscreen and memory storage within the hard drive (though available information was limited for some overseas territories).
As the 2012 Maserati GranTurismo proved, the brand had reached a new level of quality and reliable performance. Maserati had become the byword for Italian and motoring cachet.