Smitten by an Italian beauty

Smitten by an Italian beauty

German rivals may be strong on reliability but Ian Gilbert, managing partner at Walker Morris LLP, is seduced by the Maserati Gran Turismo
As I was wandering the streets of Florence with my wife on a recent holiday I had to confess to her that I was beginning to fall in love with Italian women. What is particularly striking about them is how they can dress simply but stylishly and yet inevitably in a manner that accentuates their curves. They can be demonstrative and animated in conversation but in no sense could you describe them as brash and they have a classical beauty that oozes sexuality. So you can imagine that when I was invited to spend a weekend in the company of an Italian

beauty I was not inclined to say no. My understanding wife was unperturbed as the Italian beauty in question was a bright red Maserati Gran Turismo.

The Maserati is undoubtedly a beautiful car to look at, it has stunning curves, which cleverly disguises its size, and a fantastic front end. Although it is a large car, comfortably seating four adults, even six footers can get in the back, it does not in anyway look ungainly.  The interior is well finished but not overly luxurious. I was impressed with the front seats, which were comfortable without being too firm. The one irritating aspect was that you either needed to be an orangutan or a contortionist to comfortably reach behind to get hold of the seatbelt which seems to have been positioned as far back in the rear as possible. However the overall finish and fit seems to be good, dispelling the preconception that many Italian cars are great on style but lacking in the build quality/reliability stakes.

This car however displays its true heritage when you start her up. The V8 Ferrari built engine emits a sound that simply puts a smile on your face but it gets better. When you press a Sport button on the dashboard, certain valves are adjusted in the exhausts so that the engine noise turns to an ear splitting growl that is head-turning delicious and rather pleasingly even occurs at low revs.

With 400 bhp this car is not going to be slow but it is not as fast as I expected it to be. In fairness and in deference to the fact that the car had only travelled 600 miles when I collected it, I did not get the revs up high and I gather that the engine is designed to be high revving. So perhaps there is more performance to be had. The car does feel wide when driving it but when pushed on some of North Yorkshire’s winding roads it handled very well, maintaining its composure without producing a harsh ride. The car was also surprisingly very driveable around town and did not feel at all cumbersome. Whilst it certainly deserves the Grand Tourer moniker you would have to be prepared to travel light as the boot is on the small side.

Ultimately, in evaluating any car it is a question of one’s requirements and comparisons with other cars in the class. I am sure that many car enthusiasts would argue that, for instance, a Porsche 911 is a better car for a whole host of reasons. While the conservative approach would always be to buy German but who wants to be a clone? So in the final analysis would you rather have a German 100m metre sprinter on your arm or an Italian beauty? I think I know what my answer would be.

So would I buy one? I am afraid not but only because despite it being a genuine four seater I can not see the other “continental” loves in my life, my two Hungarian Wire Haired
Vizslas, sitting comfortably in the back!
But that takes me back to Florence - I can still dream.

The car Ian drove was the Maserati Gran Turismo 460 Sport Auto, OTR £97,250.

JCT600 Brooklands Maserati, Ring Road, Lower Wortley, Leeds, LS12 6AA. Tel: 0113 389 0600