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The Mercury Cars Guide : February 20th 2010
2--- Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au Saturday, February 20, 2010 Magnificent Maserati firstname.lastname@example.org with KEITH DIDHAM The tops are off and let the boulevard battle begin. Keith Didham drives Maserati s new convertible in Italy. M OVE over Mercedes-Benz, move over BMW, and move over Jaguar. The new Masser is about to hit town and it wants its day in the sun. This is the new and very stunning Maserati GranCabrio, the open-top version of the potent GranTurismo coupe, which goes on sale in Australia in April for $338,000. That's $19,500 more than the hardtop but that hasn't deterred 20 buyers who have already put their hand up for one. And numbers will be limited. Aust- ralia's allocation for the year is just 43 cars. Maserati has had cabriolets before, but the Spyders have all been two seaters. This is the brand's first four-seater and it's aimed directly at the American market with Maserati gam- bling its prestigious brand combined with the extra seating capacity will prove a marketing winner. In Australia, true four seaters, as against two plus two, are thin on the ground but Maserati is up against models from Benz, BMW and Jaguar for the up-market fun in the sun dollar. Maserati is counting on the pulling power of the cabrio --- the third model in its lineup behind the coupe and the Quattroporte sedan --- to drive it out of the global financial crisis and even more sex appeal to the famous Italian brand. It does so in spades. This is adult-rated car porn --- a cabrio to lust for. A car which should equally appeal to both sexes but for different reasons. It has performance, and it has style. But the cabrio nearly didn't make it to market so early in 2010. Maserati's marketing director Massimo Farao hinted to CarsGuide the com- pany, which has been regaining ground after years of financial losses, had considered stalling the launch because of the worldwide economic crisis. ''Sure we looked at it (delaying the launch) but decided to go ahead and introduce this new model. The global situation had a very serious impact on our markets but, with careful planning we finished the year in the black. It was the right decision.'' While it may seem an easy task to create the GranCabrio by simply chopping the roof off the Turismo, Farao says the task was not that simple. ''We had to do a lot of work to strengthen the car because the cabin is so long,'' he says. ''We did a lot of strengthening around the sills and under the car and we kept the weight difference down to less than 100kg, which if you look at our rivals is a remarkable achievement.'' Defying modern trends, Maserati opted for a three-layered fabric roof instead of a folding metal lid, although the mechanism itself is very similar to that used by Ferrari in its California. The decision Farao says was made on tradition, style and practicalities. The soft roof allows for four proper and luggage space. Opening and closing the top can be done on the move up to 30km/h, taking 20 seconds plus another eight seconds to open or close the windows. The GranCabrio shares all of the underpinn- ings of the coupe, including the 4.7-litre V8 (323kW/490Nm) from the GT-S version and the six-speed ZF transmission from the base model GT. It misses out on Maserati's lightening quick electro-actuated semi-automatic gearbox which can make gear changes in just 100 milliseconds. It's a safe bet, however, that the high perform- ance gearbox will feature in an S version of the cabrio which is believed to be under develop- ment and due in a year's time. And like the Turismo, there is a downside --- the V8 engine. It's thirsty at 23.9l/100km in the city and averaging 15.4l/100km (combined cycle) for a mix of urban and highway running. Nor is it clean and green, producing 358g of CO2 per kilometre. It's an area Maserati says it's working on to improve for the next generation of cars, expected after 2012. While the lighter coupe is quicker over the standing 100km/h dash at 4.9 seconds and has a top speed of 295km/h, the cabrio shouldn't be belittled. It's only marginally slower, at 5.3 seconds to 100km/h, and tops out at 283km/h with the roof closed and 274km/h with it open. At 2942mm, the new Maserati has one of the longest wheelbases on the market and uses the space to provide a luxurious Italian leather- bound cabin. But it's not all good news. While Maserati says you can get two sets of golf clubs in the boot, the luggage space is compromised by the folding rag top. The same top severely reduces visibility to the rear quarter and rear headroom is going to be tight for anyone taller than 6ft. The cabrio's sensuous styling with its sleek profile is all thanks to Pininfarina, while Maserati also worked with Bose to design the audio system, tailored for open air driving. This cabrio also comes packed with safety features including multiple airbags; traction and stability control; the latest generation of anti-lock brakes with brake assist; and a patented rollover protection system --- the hoops are electronically fired in less than 190 milliseconds. There's also an elaborate alarm system designed to deter thieves from pinching items from the cabin if the roof is down. small torque Maserati GranCabrio On sale: April Price: $338,000 Under the bonnet: 4.7-litre V8, 323kW@7000rpm, 490Nm@4750rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic with sequential shift Performance: 0-100km/h 5.3s. Top speed 283km/h (roof up) 274km/h (roof down) Dimensions: kerb weight 1980mm , length 4881mm, width 1915mm, height 1353mm, wheelbase 2942mm, turning circle 10.7m, boot capacity 173l. How thirsty: 15.4l/100km (claimed, Euro- pean test); 358 CO2 g/km Competitors: Aston Martin Volante, $373,860 Mercedes-Benz SL 500 $327,000 BMW 6 Series M6 $313,316 Jaguar XKR $278,300 Porsche Carrera 4S $290,400. www.thecarmart.com.au 6211 0566 14 Derwent Park Rd, Derwent Park David Strang 0404 724 986 Mark Patterson 0417 025 936 Rob Sylvester 0418 124 226 (Finance) Easy on-site finance available 06 Citroen Berlingo II van 1.4lt manual, p/s, a/c, 105,000 kms, suit small deliveries. $9995 99 Subaru Liberty RX 2.5lt auto, p/s, a/c, electrics, alloys, AWD, rear spoiler & much more. $10,995 97 Holden Vectra JR GL 2.0lt auto, p/s, a/c, 120,000 kms, very tidy vehicle. $5995 05 Ford Courier PH GL 2.6lt auto, p/s, a/c, hard to find in auto. $10,995 98 Hyundai Excel Sprint 1.5lt auto, a/c, popular small auto, $3995 94 Saab 900S hatch 2.3lt auto, p/s, a/c, electrics, towbar, quality at only... $3995 01 Nissan Pulsar N16 hatch 1.8lt manual, p/s, a/c, c/lock, value. $8995 97 Hyundai Excel X3 LX sedan 1.5lt manual, p/s, spot on road test. $3995 97 Toyota Camry CSI 2.2lt manual, p/s, a/c, 4cyl sedan, only. $3995 92 Nissan Pulsar N14 hatch 1.6lt manual, p/s, a/c, great first car. $2995 99 Corolla Conquest 1.8lt manual, p/s, a/c, electrics, c/lock, top condition. $8995 99 Magna TH wagon 3.0lt, auto, a/c, p/s, c/lock, towbar, top condition. $6995 $8995 $9995 01 Holden Vectra CD Hatch 2.6lt manual, p/s, a/c, electrics, alloys, new tyres, save $1000. 01 Holden VX Commodore 3.8lt auto, p/s, a/c, alloys, stunning custom paint, be noticed! Specialising in cars... Under$10,000 www.thecarmart.com.au
February 13th 2010
February 27th 2010