The name Maserati evokes a stirring feeling each time anyone utters it. The reason for that is simple; Maserati defined an entire generation of cars in the 20th century and were the pioneers of the Grand Tourer concept. The introduction of the Maserati Coupe in 2001, led to the rebirth of the grand tourer. The Maserati Coupe is a realization of a dream from the mid 20th century and the fulfilment of a segment’s potential that lay dormant for decades. it is the reimagination of what a grand tourer was supposed to be, but better.
This car is special. The sheer beauty of its design and the powerful performance it delivers, combined with its pragmatic approach to being a road car makes the Coupe an exceptional vehicle. Back when it launched, it caused a frenzy in the automotive media world. Virtually every magazine had it on its cover and was universally recognized as an era-defining grand tourer.
It singlehandedly shunned every other car that aspired to be a grand tourer and brought glory to the Maserati name. The Maserati Coupe is perhaps the most iconic vehicle to wear the trident insignia. Its popularity even led to Maserati producing multiple variants and a plethora of limited-edition models to fill the demand.
The Trident of Variants: The Spyder, GranSport and GranSport Spyder
In distinctive Maserati fashion, the company introduced three variants of the Coupe. Each variant was unique in its own right and carried the Coupe name flawlessly. Each variant was targeted for a specific demographic of customers and safe to say, it worked.
The Spyder is the soft-top convertible version of the Coupe and was aimed at customers who wanted the feel of an Italian sports convertible without compromising the performance.
The Coupe line was already perfect, to begin with. It had a powerful engine, was a family-friendly car, and was an absolute stunner. So how did Maserati top it? With a GranSport version, of course. They simply added stylistic elements that made the car look more intimidating. They also lowered and stiffened the suspension of the original Coupe, added bigger wheels, and charged up the engine with 10 more brake horsepower. The transmission is no longer manual and instead, a Cambriocorsa transmission was introduced.
The Spyder GranSport
Maserati went a step further in 2005 and introduced the Spyder Gransport, which combined the power and muscle of the Gransport with the elegance and sophistication of the Spyder. They kept the name as an amalgamation of the two models, letting people know exactly what they were getting when purchasing this model.
Engine and performance
Italian cars are all about powerful engines and eye-catching design. The Maserati Coupe is a tribute to this heritage. Both the Maserati Coupe and the Spyder version are Powered by a 4.2 Liter 90-degree V8 engine, the coupe is extremely powerful for a grand tourer. Developed by Ferrari, the engine delivers a stunning 390 brake horsepower at 7000 rpm and produces 330 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm.
The engine is distinctly Italian and you can immediately distinguish it from any other grand tourer just from its sound. The moment you start it, you can hear the V8 come to life. The deep growl of the engine combined with the acoustics of the exhaust makes this car feel more alive each time you step on the throttle. Maserati claims the car can do a 0-60 in an eye-popping 4.8 seconds and a quarter-mile in roughly 13 seconds.
GranSport and GranSport Spyder
For the GranSport versions, the engine is newer and lighter. This V8 on the 4200 Coupe comes with modified valve seats, finer connections between the cylinder head ports and intake piping, and back-box flaps that combine to give this engine an extra 10 brake horsepower. The GranSport variants of the Maserati Coupe get this slightly better-tuned engine, whereas the Spyder version gets stuck with the older engine.
Elegant Italian design
The one reason people purchase Italian cars is purely for looks. Every one of us has dreamt of an Italian beauty adorning our garages and smirked at the idea of turning heads each time we drive these cars. The Maserati Coupe is a realization of this dream in every manner. The car wears its coupe badge with honor as there are virtually no sharp edges and all you can see are the curves that make it look extremely slippery.
The front of the car features the iconic Maserati grille and wears the even more iconic trident insignia with pride. As the car sweeps to the back, you can notice a subtle shift in the design. The quarter panels are slightly more muscular and the taillights are triangular, showing that it means business.
The GranSport was designed as a sportier alternative, the aesthetic and design changes are quite noticeable. The very beautiful Coupe looks even better in this new jacket. There is a curved sill extension, the tail has been slightly raised to give it a spoiler feel, and the front grille is much deeper giving the car a more menacing look.
The Spyder Coupe has all the design elements of the regular coupe sans the roof. This brings forth the open-top experience to the grand tourer segment, a first. The seats also come with a roll-bar to guarantee better protection for the occupants.
The GranSport Spyder
This iteration of the Maserati Coupe combines both the ferocity of the GranSport with the panache of the Spyder. The result is a car that is sure to turn heads every time you take to the streets.
Italian Opulence on the inside
The Maserati Coupe looks like a two-door sports car, but once you step inside you will truly see the space it holds. It is a four-seater and unlike the ones advertised on tiny cramped sports cars, the Coupe can genuinely fit two adults in the back. There is plenty of room in the trunk too, enough to house a few small golf bags.
The interiors feel remarkably plush as the leather is wrapped on the seats as well as the dash and the doors. You can feel the supple leather each time you sit down or grab the steering wheel. There is climate control to keep you cool during the summer, but we doubt you will want to use it and instead roll down the windows to let the sounds of the engine come through.
This version features practically the same interior. It is swathed in plush leather and the difference between the regular Coupe and the GranSport lies only on the exterior and in the engine department.
The Maserati Spyder Coupe is an open-top of the truest sense and the coupe name really comes to life with this version. There are no rear seats, instead, there are roll cages at the end of each seat for better protection. The hard-top is replaced by a fabric-based top that can go up and down in less than 30 seconds. The rear window is made of glass instead of plastic.
This iteration features the same upholstery as the regular Coupe Spyder version.
While no version of the Maserati Coupe has undergone any NCAP test, there is reason to believe it would hold up well if it were to crash. There are front and side airbags, however, there is a lack of curtain bags. Almost all versions of the Maserati Coupe come with a bunch of electronic safety measures such as traction control and electronic stability systems.
The Maserati Coupe gives you an exhilarating driving experience every time you take it for a spin. While you may not get the refined driving feel of a modern car, it retains the excitement factor that you get when you put the pedal to the metal. The V8 grunts and the power pushes you back into your seat as you accelerate and touch the redline. The car feels good to handle and the Skyhook adaptive dampers make the handling of the car feel very soft. There is minimal body roll and the balance on the car is fantastic.
The Cambriocorsa version of the Coupe gets rid of the manual transmission for an F1-style paddle shifter. The Spyder feels eerily similar to the coupe and you can truly enjoy the breeze and the roar of the engine with the top down. The GranSport and the GranSport Spyder come with enhanced performance that comes alive as you reach the limits of the car, truly melding track performance onto a road car.
The truly remarkable sign of a car’s legacy is when there are limited-edition versions. The Maserati Coupe defined the carmaker’s brand in the late 90s and early 2000s and as a testament, the company made a few limited editions to keep the pot stirring. These models added exterior styling elements on the already existing Spyder and the GranSport editions.
2004 Spyder 90th Anniversary was limited to a total of 180 units all over the world. It was a Spyder that came with the jacket of a GranSport but without the power upgrades. The 2006 GranSport MC Victory edition was made to commemorate the racing success of Maserati and came with carbon fiber detailing. The GranSport Limited Edition featured oval Maserati badges and red tridents. The 2006 ‘Contemporary Classic’ version was recognizable by the interior piping and dashboard that matched the body paint. The 2007 GranSport ‘Maserati and Cornes 10th Anniversary’ was made in celebration of Cornes & Co. a Japanese importer’s 10 year anniversary. The cars came in a black exterior, beige interior, and a white exterior, blue interior trim; only 35 models were ever made.
We might really be nitpicking when choosing the faults of the Maserati Coupe and its variants, after all, it is the epitome of what a grand tourer should be. However, every car has its flaws and the Coupe does too.
The replacement parts are quite expensive and are rapidly becoming harder to obtain. The engine stands the test of time well, but be cautious of the notorious crankshaft thrust washer wear, which is incredibly expensive to repair. While the suspension and the clutch on a manual are made of quality materials, they will get worn over as time progresses.
The grand tourer was a concept that was rebirthed at the dawn of the new century with the Maserati Coupe’s introduction in the early 2000s. All the iterations of the Coupe since have been a reminder of the perfection that Maserati achieved with the model. It is an exemplary car that is far superior to any other in the segment. As the car ages gracefully, it has taken its place among the modern classics and is likely to end up as the car that defined a generation.