The world of Italian sports cars may have been dominated by the two stalwarts of Ferrari and Lamborghini, but neither come close to the longevity of Italy’s original progenitor, Maserati. In 2014 the Modena based carmaker celebrated a century of being in existence. But, unlike in the previous decades, when they had been a mere side note to the Italian automotive industry, as they celebrated their centenary they were now front and center and producing some of the most sought after high performance automobiles in the world.
It was a big centenary year for Maserati as their main focus was on the introduction of a brand new line of models – the Ghibli. With the factory only set up as a small operation, there would be no major upgrades to the GranTurismo for this year. But this didn’t stop Maserati from producing something special for their auspicious year.
The GT MC coupe and convertible would be given a limited edition makeover though these bespoke bodywork paint and two-tone leather seats didn’t come cheap. The Centennial MC coupe would cost around US$180,000 while the convertible hit US$200,000. As it rolled into 2015, these cars were still being offered. In effect, with these two limited editions available, the product line now consisted of seven cars with four of them being drop tops.
The 2015 Maserati GranTurismo lineup would consist of the Sport, MC, MC Centennial and the Base models. Apart from the Base convertible, all the cars available would be using the same high powered 4.7 liter V8 Ferrari engine. They worked from a 454 bhp and 384 lb-ft of torque that delivered the best acceleration and the fastest speeds any Maserati had ever delivered.
Improvements to their performance was also due to the fact that the engineers redesigned the aerodynamics of the bodywork. Introduction of bigger spoilers (front, back and sides) along with air splitters underneath the grille would not only improve the aerodynamic flow but also increase the downforce (50% extra in the rear and 25% in the front).
The Sport editions would be able to make 0-60 in 4.8 seconds while hitting a top speed of 186 mph (300 kmh) while the GranTurismo Convertible Sport, due to its extra weight because of its lack of a roof, would be a little less spritely. It would take 5 seconds to go from 0 to 60 while its top speed could only reach 177 mph.
The ‘Maserati Corse’ would shave both of these numbers as it could hit 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds and its top speed was the fastest yet for Maserati, at 188 mph.
Secrets From Scuderia
This improved engine, that was now standard amongst the GranTurismo Fleet (bar the Base model) occurred after the revitalized 2013 models would get an expert overview. Paolo Martinelli would be tasked with revamping the innards of the Ferrari V8 engine and achieved this extra output by redesigning the pistons, revising the ignition-spark timing and re-tuning the engine mapping and management.
Snr Martinelli was no ordinary motoring engineer, his previous work consisted of being responsible for the performance of V10 engines that sat in the Scuderia Ferrari F1 racing cars that Michael Schumacher drove to victory time and time again. This was the level of expertise Maserati insisted upon to ensure their automobiles achieved the ultimate in driving performance.
For the most part, the 2015 Maserati GranTurismo would stay with the German made, ZF six-speed automatic transmission. The sophisticated gearbox also operated in two different driving modes, Sport and Race. Under the guidance of the automatic gearbox, the Grand Tourer performs smoothly when driven at steady speeds. But when engaging the extra driving modes, the car takes on a different personality.
Shift changes are completed in a blink of an eye (200 milliseconds) while raising the rev count nearer to the redline before gears are changed. To anticipate the faster driving mode, the suspension becomes firmer and becomes 10% stiffer to offset the racing needs. In ‘Race’ mode, the car becomes a manual as the gear stick or the driving paddles will be used for instant shift changes. To cap it off, the growl of the engine is unleashed from the exhaust as baffles are bypassed after 3,000 rpm.
For those who wanted to experience the full driving exhilaration of a race car, both the Sport and the MC (sold as the MC Stradale elsewhere around the world and outside of America) were installed with a MC Race Shift six-speed robotized manual gearbox. With this gearbox the paddle shifts could engage shift changes at a blistering 60 milliseconds.
The 2015 Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale would also be set up in other race modes. To lighten the load, the rear seats had been removed while the front seats were swapped out with lightweight carbon fiber bucket seats; this would take over 200 lbs off of the weight. Seat Belts were also replaced with proper race harnesses that strapped the driver tightly into the seat. Suspension was also modified to withstand the exertions of high speed driving. Shocks were set at firm while the springs were 10% harder too. The profile of the car was lowered to give the best driver setup for racing. This edition of the MC was simply a road legal racing car and a close replica as to what Maserati had created only a few years before with such success.
Despite the car’s weight of over two tons, the 2015 Maserati GranTurismo was surprisingly responsive at high speeds and cornering. Even for an inexperienced driver, the GT obeyed the turn of the wheel and did not deviate from the racing line. The automobile would grip the tarmac like a limpet and entered and exited corners and tight bends with ease.
This would be achieved by a number of factors. First of all, the balance of the car was exceptional with the automatic having a 49/51 front to back weight ratio while the automated manual was at a ratio of 47/53. This would be due to the positioning of the transmission set over the rear axle and separated from the engine at the front axle.
Pirelli made sure the customized tires gripped the road as if it was riding on rails. The P-Zero radials had a staggered width of 245 mm in the front and 285 mm in the rear.
To round off the driving performance, the car was fitted with the latest in driver assistance that included both stability and traction control as well as anti-lock brakes. To ensure the occupants of the car experienced minimal roll within, the adaptive suspension system, ‘Skyhook’, would make continual adjustments to minimize the impact of the roads.
The interior of a 2015 Maserati GranTurismo could not be mistaken for any other as its impeccable level of elegance and sophistication was unparalleled. First of all, the front seats had been redesigned and the head rests were now integrated into the seat which also added comfort and support to the back of the driver.
Fine leather was to be found over all surfaces of the cabin as it covered the steering wheel, side panels, dash and gear stick. The headrests were also available in Alcantara suede and could be hand stitched with the trident monogram, if you so wished. Dash surfaces could be ordered in a variety of different textures, either in chrome, carbon fiber or three choices of wood finish.
Color coordination was endless as these items came in multiple variations which also included the carpets. On most models, there would be eight different tones for the leather but the Centennial editions also offered unique two tone leather that also included offering the Maserati colors of Red, Blue & white. The piping and hand stitching would be available in 13 different threads to ensure your upholstery could be delivered in any combination.
Exteriors were just as sumptuous with the bodywork now available in 21 different paints and, again, the centennial offered some unique triple layered paintwork. The canvas soft top (which could be reclined in 24 seconds and even with the car moving at under 20 mph) was available in six different tones.
The Brembo brake calipers came in eight different varieties while the wheel hubs had four different designs that could be painted in either black or bright silver.
Wired For Sound
The 2015 Maserati GranTurismo would continue with the same Infotainment system from previous years. Bose would provide the 11 Speaker Surround System that included a satellite radio that picked up Sirius Radio. The CD player could play or download music into the 33gb hard drive. Smartphones and media players could be connected to the system via Bluetooth and other auxiliary ports. Sat nav was also available through a seven inch touchscreen which stored its road information on the same hard drive. Though owners still complained about how cumbersome these systems were.
As Maserati entered their second century of operations, they were at the pinnacle of success. The Trident had truly come of age.