10.25am, JCT600 Brooklands rang to say they were on the way with the car. 10.27 there was a rumble she had arrived.
I’d been really looking forward to seeing and driving this car and – first impression – you just want to give it a cuddle, it’s just so beautiful. It doesn’t stop there – climb inside, its breathtaking; the yards of leather coupled with the Titan Tex trim, sheer elegance.
The Granturismo has been styled by Pininfarina, who has been responsible for some of the world’s most beautiful cars and this is up there among the best – quite possibly the prettiest car I have ever seen.
With a price tag of almost £100,000, Nick Burke of JCT quite rightly wanted to give me a practical demonstration to ensure this beauty was in safe hands. The engine fired and like a whirlwind the divine sound hit me… Wow.
We managed a short circuit of the one-way loop before Nick handed me the keys, but before he waved me on my way he kindly offered to tune the radio to my favourite station. Most considerate of him. However I was quick to reply, Nick are you mad – with that exhaust note I don’t need any tunes, the sound of that 4.7 litre engine was bliss enough.
It didn’t stop there; select the sport mode and according to the brochure the exhaust bypass valves open above 3,000 rpm to allow the full power and sound of the engine to be truly appreciated. Well yes, but it also turns the car into a roaring monster waiting to be unleashed, a top speed of 183mph and 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. This is some car.
Once on the road, I found the car reassuringly stable and once I’d got used to the paddle-shift manual gearbox, an absolute dream to drive. The handling is superb and the brakes very responsive – reassuring with so much power under the bonnet.
I’m sure all the dials you’ll ever need are there but to be honest I didn’t have time to look; you just can’t keep your attention way from the roar of that engine.
My five-year-old son summed this up nicely – “it sounds like a racing car”. It is a racing car but a practical one. It has proper rear seats and can comfortably accommodate four adults and although you’d expect a harsh ride, its unique Skyhook system provides automatic and continuous control of the damping, absorbing every irregularity of the road. It drives really smoothly; I could have driven this to the Moon and back and you would have still needed to prise me out, I just didn’t want to leave it.
The Granturismo is a fantastic sports car, but with four seats it’s also a great family car. OK, it’s a few quid more than a Focus, but if you have the wallet this car has got to be on the shortlist. Unfortunately, the options don’t extend to a towbar so if you are a caravaner look elsewhere. I even liked the go-faster stripe, but to be honest it doesn’t need it.
The only problem I had with this car – I had to give it back...
The Maserati Gran Turismo MC Carbon Edition that Richard Butterfield of Lloyds TSB test drove is priced at £104,950 and was provided by JCT600 Brooklands, Maserati Leeds, Ring Road, Lower Wortley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 6AA, Tel: 0844 844 7467, www.jct600.co.uk