Cruising round the Yorkshire Dales, Frederic Manby puts Maserati’s coupe to the test.
DENT, the other day, in a Maserati. I’d been visiting a member of my family who could actually afford a Maserati.
Indeed, he’d ordered one years ago at a London motor show but the waiting list was so long that he ordered a BMW instead. Apparently, that never graced his forecourt either, but at least with the Maserati of that era he may have saved himself mechanically induced grief.
Today’s “Maser” is, as far as I can tell, worth your money if you value immense performance and handbuilding.
How it holds its value is another issue.
Residuals get a happy nod from the trade experts.
The Granturismo is perhaps the best-looking coupé of the moment. That’s all personal preference. One can’t prove these things. Contenders include Jaguar’s XK and any Aston Martin.
For my money, as if, the Maserati has the hungriest front, a glorious mouth set off by the trident emblem in the aperture.
By heck, as they may say in Dentdale, this Italian car is so lovely. Its rarity (Maserati will sell about 500 cars this year) means that people look.
“Nice car,” shout youngsters.
Everywhere we went, this car attracted eyes and ears.
Being painted white helped.
The V8 engine, whether the 4.2 or, as tested, the 4.7 in Granturismo S (GTS) trim, makes some of the grooviest sounds; louder than a Jag, maybe more sonorous than an Aston, taunting Maserati’s brother, Ferrari, in the Fiat Group.
You may not know Dentdale. In its entry from the top, its river runs through trees over flat bed rock swirled and eroded by centuries of peaty brown beck waters from the fells. By the time it reaches the little town of Dent, the dale has widened.
This is the land of my grandmother Fothergill, and I love it. Leaving her nephew’s house, I had an ice cream moment and left the white road star in the village car park, briefly enough to ignore the £1.50 minimum charge.
Back in the car park, licking the Loseley, I was collared by an ultra-smart, utterly polite gent in walking slacks and a nice blue shirt.
“Are you the owner of that lovely car?” he inquired. I replied no, but I had the keys in my pocket, and was ready with the basic details I was sure he was after, such as: 4.7-litre, 440 horse power V8, 86,000 quid plus, etc.“Have you got a parking ticket?” he asked.
No, I said, reckoning here was someone looking for a redundant ticket from a departing driver. Let me tell you, such cheapskates do exist.
Would I then care to buy one, he inquired, adding that such monies paid for the upkeep of the area, nicely laid out with grass over paving blocks; ironically, the sort of thing from which my kinsman made a living.
Please, mister, I have only been here a few minutes for the ice cream. Did I still have to pay?Yes, if I wouldn’t mind.
I handed him the cash with a free smile and went off to enjoy the car, slightly miffed at being caught out as a skinflint dodger.
How jolly shy-making. The GTS soon brought back the equilibrium and feelings that all was really wonderful.
It is a smile-maker, a heartstarter, a head-turner, a car that cheers, though prey to vigilante car-park volunteers.
The car: It seats four people amply with reasonably easy access because the front seats run forward on electric power. This is where my sister sat, cooing about how it made such wonderful noises and felt like being in a space ship.
I don’t know how she knows about space travel but Susan was right about the noise.
The GTS has a full suite of electronic handling aids, with dial-up settings for things like the electric parking brake. It is all very modern, so it is strangely almost retro to start the car with a conventional key rather than a push-button or by winking suggestively at the dashboard.
The six-speed automatic gearbox shifted sweetly, with the option to use up and down paddles behind the steering wheel – which is adjusted for height and reach by an electric motor.
It all felt, as they say, well screwed together. There were a couple of discordant items.
There was a slight resonance, possibly in a silencer baffle.
The chin can catch on exit ramps, with the front number plate vulnerable but this is because it is hung low, not to mask the glory of that ovalised mouth. I finally dislodged it when parking in the field at Gargrave Show.
The picture at the back is not quite as winsome, possibly marred by the rear lights which recall those on the Mondeo, where they look better.
• This report has appeared in the Yorkshire Post