TheCarConnection.com has read reviews of the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo from a range of consumer and enthusiast publications to bring you the highlights. TheCarConnection.com editors have also driven the GranTurismo and include firsthand impressions and assessments here in this Bottom Line.
The Maserati GranTurismo went on sale last year, replacing the former GranSport model. This year a GranTurismo S, equipped with a new auto-clutch manual gearbox, joins the lineup.
The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo has a sleek and voluptuous silhouette, but only up close will you realize how low the front end sits and how absolutely curvaceous the sheetmetal is, especially at the front fenders. The GranTurismo is anything but slab-sided at the back as well; the rear fenders are dramatically flared, with a well-defined fender. It's not quite design perfection--the front grille is almost too big for the rest of the proportions--but it's darned close.
Inside the GranTurismo, the seats and seatwells are a bit narrower than in other coupes, and the seats--which look great--actually feel a bit flat. There are officially two seats in back, but they're just too cramped for adults, and even kids will have trouble getting in and out smoothly. The pillars slope inward aggressively to the roof, so headroom is limited, even though the driving position is low. Overall, the driving position is much friendlier for the tall and large than in Maseratis (and most Italian cars) of the past. The trunk is also only large enough for a small suitcase or a couple of modest duffel bags.
The standard 2009 Maserati GranTurismo features a 405-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8, while the 4.7-liter version in the S makes 433 horsepower; both engines are a variation of the V-8 mounted mid-ship in Ferraris.
The 2009 GranTurismo comes with two different transmissions, depending on the variant. Standard GranTurismos get a six-speed XF automatic transmission. It's an excellent replacement for the old Duo-Select automated manual gearbox, which was perhaps the least favorite automated manual to date. The ZF automatic shifts very quickly and decisively, and it seems to react more promptly to throttle inputs and steep grades than most automatics. Click the paddles alongside the steering wheel and it almost instantaneously commands a shift. Shifting for the Gran Turismo S is accomplished by a new six-speed automated manual that can pull off gunshot-style maneuvers in just 100 milliseconds. A GranTurismo S Automatic model is expected later in the model year. The dash to 60 mph takes 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 177 mph, while the S gets there in 4.5 seconds and up to 183 mph.
The 2009 GranTurismo is a little heavier than some of its rivals, but it still feels relatively nimble in tight corners, and the quick-ratio steering helps it attack tight hairpins with the enthusiasm of a smaller, lighter coupe. Its Skyhook suspension allows very little body motion in quick transitions, yet provides a smooth yet firm ride; selecting Sport will further firm it up and elicit a more abrupt throttle response. Only on roughly patched concrete does the ride become a bit jiggly in Sport mode. Brakes will take a little getting used to for most drivers; the pedal has an almost excessive firmness you'd otherwise find only in exotics or old classics, but their stopping power is tremendous.
In relaxed driving, the 2009 Maserati GranTurismo is remarkably civilized. Despite the engine's raucous demeanor when revved, its idle is just as smooth as that of other luxury coupes, and simply in Drive with the Sport button off, it's a relaxed high-speed cruiser that won't wear you down with noise and vibration.
The GranTurismo's cabin feels intimate, thanks to excellent materials and soft, minimally processed leather--not the stiff slippery kind you'll find on mass-produced luxury coupes. Only the dull black plastic of the switchgear and audio faceplate speak otherwise. GranTurismos are built to order and highly customizable, offered with eight different upholstery colors (including the very bright-red Rosso Corallo), three different wood veneers, 10 different dash surfaces, plus a tremendous number of combinations for steering-wheel trim, carpets, and seat stitching. While the exclusive, customizable interior and abundance of traditional luxury comforts dominate, the 2009 GranTurismo doesn't have some of the latest high-tech factory-installed necessities like satellite radio or well-integrated Bluetooth.
The Maserati GranTurismo has not been crash-tested, but the safety-feature list is competitive; seat-mounted side airbags and head-protecting curtain bags are included, along with anti-lock brakes and stability control.
The Bottom Line:
The 2009 Maserati GranTurismo will satisfy even the most finicky high-end coupe buyers, giving them a truly exclusive look and feel--and the sound of a Ferrari.