A grand day out

A grand day out

Bill Lynn, director of Storeys Edward Symmons in Newcastle, never understood the hype around Maserati until BQ gave him the opportunity to challenge his views.

I was fascinated to find out from friends with whom I confided that I was about to test drive a Maserati that it was the car of their dreams.

I wondered why? From an external styling point of view, the Maserati fell short in my opinion of many of its rivals despite being designed by Pinafarina.

Having been lucky enough to have driven a number of super cars, including Aston Martin and Ferrari, and having been a long time Porsche owner, I was interested to see how the Maserati Gran Turismo would compare.

I think, however, having now had the opportunity, it’s unfair to compare the Gran Turismo with any of the aforementioned marks simply because it is a Gran Tourer in all senses. It has four generous seats such that an average height man can sit in the rear in comfort.

It even has a boot that will take two sets of golf clubs and is altogether a different vehicle to the Porsche or Ferrari for example. I have to say it was an absolute delight to drive.

Its 4.7 V8 engine (which starts life as a Ferrari) generating 454 break horsepower and 0 - 62 in 4.7 seconds was more than enough for anyone, but then it should be given its engine capacity.

The throaty noise generated with the twin exhaust pipes was every petrol head’s joy, particularly when in sport mode using the up and down gearshift paddles on the steering wheel.

Gear changes were quick and responsive in either this or fully automatic, but certainly more fun with the paddles. It had been reported to me that the back end was a little twitchy, but I have to say even in difficult conditions I found this not to be the case.

However, when on a reasonable surface and with an open road ahead of you it was in its absolute element and a joy to drive.

Unlike many performance cars it didn’t object to more sedate driving which many of them do. However, what was noticeable after a number of miles at the wheel, was that it was still comfortable and great fun to drive.

It’s certainly a very adaptable vehicle given its ‘superior’ status. True, it’s not as good into corners where on a ‘heavy turn’ the steering wheel was fighting back, but then again its a tourer.

Moreover when you compare it with other supposed grand tourers, such as the Bentley Continental or even say a DB9, it’s extremely good value at £94,000 - a lot of money I know, but a figure which is significantly less than its competitors. Servicing is every 20,000 km or two years, which is not bad again by comparison to some of its peers.

It was hard to pick fault with the vehicle, albeit if now doing so I’d say that the climate control part of the interior was a little old fashioned and the rear heated windscreen the slowest I’ve ever come across, but otherwise the interior was luxuriously appointed in cream leather and carbon fibre.

The exterior still doesn’t quite do it for me, but it’s a class act in the field of grand tourers for sure.

The car Bill drove is priced from £90,750 and is available at www.drivebenfield.com/maserati