Full 2011 Maserati GranTurismo Review
What's New for 2011
Changes are light for the 2011 Maserati GranTurismo, with a new wood steering wheel, aerodynamic bodywork trim for S models, dark surrounds for the headlights, minor interior trim revisions and matte paint options.
"Beauty seen is never lost," writes John Greenleaf Whittier, the American poet. You might be inclined to write something similar should you encounter the 2011 Maserati GranTurismo. The font-engine, rear-wheel-drive GranTurismo is one of those rare cars that once seen is hard to forget. It has an elusive and intoxicating mix of aggression and grace, as if the fluid lines of its sheet metal had been stretched tightly over a muscular form. Then there's the sound its V8 engine makes -- a gloriously operatic exhaust note that could have inspired the likes of Mozart, Puccini and Verdi.
Beauty is also found within, with a sportingly opulent cabin and mechanicals that both excite and comfort. The GranTurismo's 4.2- or 4.7-liter engines are both silky smooth when driven conservatively and exhilarating when pushed into the higher reaches of performance. Switching from Normal to Sport mode further enhances the experience, quickening gearchanges and throttle response while also opening up the exhaust baffles.
As the name suggests, the GranTurismo is a touring car, not an out-and-out exotic sports car. There's certainly more than enough power and handling to get the blood racing, though the Maserati is outperformed (though not outclassed) by several competitors. As a GT car, it does just as it should by balancing thrilling athleticism with long-distance comfort.
In terms of price, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Audi R8 represent the closest competitors, and each provides higher performance. The stalwart Porsche 911 is similarly worthy of consideration. Meanwhile, the BMW 6 Series, Jaguar XKR and Mercedes CL550 will save you some cash with a healthy dose of luxurious comfort. But when it comes to rolling sculpture, though, it's hard to overlook -- or forget -- the Maserati GranTurismo.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Maserati GranTurismo is a four-passenger coupe that is offered in two trim levels: base and S Automatic. A convertible version is also available, and is covered in a separate review.
The base GranTurismo features 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights with washers, foglights, power-folding and heated sideview mirrors, automatic wipers, Brembo brakes, an electronically adjustable suspension, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver seat memory, wood interior trim, voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth, and an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, digital music storage, iPod integration and auxiliary/USB input jacks.
The GranTurismo S Automatic includes all of the above, plus a more powerful engine, an automated manual transmission, larger brakes, a sport exhaust, 20-inch wheels, and unique front and rear spoilers. Additionally, the GranTurismo S can be optioned with a non-adjustable sport suspension and aluminum pedals.
Options for either of the GranTurismo trims include front parking sensors, two-tone interior colors, a faux suede headliner, a wood steering wheel and perforated leather seats. Customers looking for a personalized approach may select from several interior colors, stitching, wheel styles and brake caliper finishes. Furthermore, buyers can specify any exterior color they desire -- for a price, of course.
Powertrains and Performance
The base 2011 Maserati GranTurismo is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 that produces 405 horsepower and 339 pound-feet or torque. The only available transmission is a six-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels.
The GranTurismo S Automatic receives a 4.7-liter V8 that bumps output to 433 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque and also features a quick-shifting, single-clutch automated manual transmission from Graziano that was originally designed for the Ferrari F430.
Maserati estimates acceleration from zero to 60 mph at 5.1 seconds for the base GranTurismo and 4.9 seconds for the S Automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is identical for both models, at 13 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 15 mpg in combined driving.
Standard safety features for the GranTurismo lineup include antilock brakes with brake assist, automatic hill hold, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2011 Maserati GranTurismo's interior is tastefully appointed with the finest materials and craftsmanship money can buy (it sure looks like it, anyway). The cabin is elegantly luxurious without appearing stodgy, and it has just a hint of high-tech influence like a sports car. Leather graces almost every surface and can be ordered in a wide array of colors. Controls are well-placed and simple in operation.
Front seat comfort is excellent, with well-bolstered seats and ample cushioning for long-distance comfort. Unlike other cars in this class, the GranTurismo also boasts comfortable rear seats for medium-sized adults. Unfortunately, finding luggage space for four adults will prove difficult, as the trunk can only accommodate up to 9.2 cubic feet, which is well short of that offered by the other coupes with which this car competes.
The 2011 Maserati GranTurismo artfully balances a luxurious ride with sporting athleticism. The active suspension is compliant enough to absorb most road imperfections with ease without feeling overly soft or wallowy. The GranTurismo's weight distribution of 49 percent front/51 percent rear enhances the entertainment you'll get in the corners, while the so-called "Skyhook" active suspension minimizes body roll. This is a true grand touring car -- fast, yet comfortable enough to travel long distances.
For drivers desiring even more sports car dynamics, the Sport mode revises gearshift points, sharpens throttle response and stiffens up the suspension. This mode also opens up a baffle in the exhaust for added performance and sweetens this Ferrari-built engine's already glorious soundtrack. On the downside, the steering feel is on the light side and could use a bit more feedback at higher speeds.