2008 Maserati GranTurismo Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Derived from the Maserati Quattroporte Sedan

  • Styled by Pininfarina

  • Four-passenger, 2+2 GT coup_

  • Standard 405-hp V-8 engine

  • Top speed of 177 mph

  • Available Skyhook Adaptive Ride control

  • Highly customizable upholstery and colors

Introduction

In 1947, Maserati introduced its first road car, the GranTurismo. Sixty years later, at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, the latest GranTurismo was unveiled. While the first GranTurismo was based on the racing chassis of the Maserati A6 (total production only 58 units), the latest iteration is based on Maserati's road-based flagship Quattroporte sedan. Styled by Pininfarina's Jason Castriota, with more than a few hints of the Ferrari 599 GTB in the sheetmetal, the new 4-passenger coup_ is built on a shortened Quattroporte platform. Available in standard and high-performance S models, both versions offer powerful Ferrari-sourced 8-cylinder powerplants.

Model LineupThe 2008 Maserati GranTurismo and GranTurismo S share the same platform and chassis. The GranTurismo S model features a more powerful engine, a special race-modified transmission, and a high-performance brake and wheel package. A convertible model is expected within a year. Both GranTurismo models feature the full complement of power accessories expected in a vehicle of this caliber. In addition, in typical Maserati fashion, customers may choose from a generous selection of available supple Poltrona Frau leathers and handcrafted interior accents. Ten different shades of leather, with 13 stitching colors, may be mixed to customize the interior upholstery. The exterior of the vehicle offers even more options. According to the manufacturer, approximately four million color and trim combinations are available for the GranTurismo through Maserati's custom-build tailoring service.

In traditional grand touring fashion, the trunk of the GranTurismo has been designed to accommodate two travel-d golf bags, or the exclusive set of fitted calfskin suitcases designed by Salvatore Ferragamo. The standard audio package includes an 11-speaker Bose Surround Sound system, with Neodymium iron-boron magnets, to deliver sound accurately to all four seating positions. The system also features a 30GB hard drive to store up to 180 hours of music.

Hardware

The standard 2008 Maserati GranTurismo model features an 8-cylinder powerplant displacing 4.2 liters. The aluminum 4-valve engine is rated at 405 hp and 340 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is routed through a standard ZF 6-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 5.1 seconds. Unlike most other European sports cars that are electronically restricted to 155 mph, the GranTurismo boasts an unrestricted top speed of 177 mph. The vehicle features generously d, ventilated, multi-piston Brembo disc brakes on all four corners with standard anti-lock braking (ABS).

The GranTurismo S model features a 4.7-liter, 8-cylinder 4-valve engine rated at 440 hp. The larger powerplant is shared with the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. The transmission is an upgraded MC-Shift gearbox with a rear transaxle for better weight distribution, the manufacturer claims. Increasing stopping power, the brakes-borrowed from the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S-are overd Brembo units with 6-piston calipers. Wheels and tires are upgraded accordingly.

The chassis, shared by both GranTurismo models, is comprised of a boxed-steel monocoque design. It has been engineered to serve as a rigid platform for the double-wishbone suspension components, fitted to both the front and rear of the vehicle. The shock absorbers utilize an available electronically controlled Skyhook Active Ride dampening system with aluminum gas struts to automatically monitor the road 100 times per second, and adapt the ride to the driver's style. In addition, the Skyhook system has been engineered to incorporate sensory data from the transmission to briefly alter the suspension during shifting for smoother gear changes. The standard wheels are 19-inch aluminum alloy, wrapped in high-performance Pirelli P Zero Rosso tires specifically calibrated to work with the GranTurismo's suspension, Maserati says. The standard warranty on 2008 Maserati GranTurismo models is four years or 50,000 miles.

Safety


The new, 2008 GranTurismo features the Maserati Stability Program (MSP) as standard equipment. It is designed to help correct skidding by engaging the integrated ABS and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) to assist the driver while bringing the vehicle back under control, the maker says. To increase nighttime visibility, the headlamps are bi-Xenon, with an adaptive motor to swivel the light with the turn of the steering wheel. A tire-pressure-monitoring system (TPMS) is also standard across the 2008 GranTurismo model range.

Passive safety systems in the GranTurismo are designed to help occupants avoid injury during an accident. The interior of the GranTurismo includes six air bags. Four crash sensors measure the intensity of the collision to inflate the air bags only when needed, and to calibrate the inflation pressures accordingly. The air bags are located in the dashboard, steering wheel, doors, and front seats. Each is designed to work in conjunction with the 3-point safety belts, with standard pre-tensioners, in all four seating positions.

Technology

The 2008 Maserati GranTurismo features three different types of lighting technology. In the rear of the vehicle, each of the GranTurismo's tail light assembly employ 96 light-emitting diodes, which illuminate faster, burn brighter, use less electricity, and last longer than conventional bulbs. They are used for the running lights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn indicators. In the front of the vehicle, bright bi-Xenon headlamps are electronically controlled to swivel up to 15 degrees to light the path in front of the vehicle. At speeds above 80 mph, the lights are fixed in position, for safety. Realizing that Xenon bulbs require time to "warm up" before they are effective, Maserati has also fitted the front of the GranTurismo with a set of conventional halogen lights for near-instantaneous "flash to pass" situations during daytime touring.-Michael Harley

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