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If Bentley and Maserati can experience double digit growth during recession, just imagine what could be achieved during more affluent times. Well, there’s good news because according to the Office for National Statistics, the double dip recession is over in the UK after GDP hit one per cent in the third quarter. Yes a whole percentage point folks; that will make the swelling ranks of the unemployed feel better then.
No better time though to test a Maserati GranTurismo S, as owned by pop star Britney Spears. Other owners include Manchester City star Mario Balotelli, who famously gave his a matt finish. Arsenal defender Andre Santos also has one but he was arrested on suspicion of driving his dangerously following a 140mph police chase. That is a lesson to us all because the unique selling point of a Maserati is that it is a road going racing car at a pretty reasonable price (between £83,000 and a £111,000) when you consider the cost of an actual racing car.
Any vehicle is a lethal weapon but the Maserati GTS is in a league of its own meaning that its pilot carries with them massive responsibility. The temptation to floor this beast (and that grille does literally make it look like a monster) at every opportunity is immense. Therefore young owners need to be particularly careful when behind the wheel.
“There’s little skill required in driving such a car,” says a long in the tooth motoring hack, eyeing the six-speed automatic gearbox. “You don’t even need to think about changing gear, which is why it appeals to mindless footballers…”
That’s perhaps a little unfair and I detect a hint of jealousy as I show him round the pearlescent white GTS. It is possible to drive it as a manual thanks to the paddle shifts either side of the steering wheel. Maserati is a responsible manufacturer offering driving courses for both owners and enthusiasts, for details click here:
For sheer seat of the pants driving and gut wrenching G-force it takes much to beat a Maserati. Add the unmistakable throaty roar of the dual exhausts and the rumble this brute produces it is no surprise that Maserati has been a beacon of light during the bleak slump. Watch the video at www.testdrives.biz.
It has unmistakable presence and style, work colleagues all agreeing that “it looks far more attractive than any Ferrari”.
Parkers, the car experts, writes: “More than 60 years ago, the idea of slotting a racing car engine under the bonnet of a road-going model led Maserati to create its first GranTurismo model. The dream and the name have lived on through the years and the latest rendition - another masterpiece of design from Pininfarina - won instant acclaim when it was launched at the end of 2007. It is hardly surprising that this GranTurismo has customers queuing around the world. Arguably the most attractive car of its kind currently available, it oozes the opulence and feel of a thoroughbred and presents stiff opposition to the evergreen Porsche 911 and the revitalized Jaguar XKR. With 433bhp available from its 4.7-litre V8, performance is exhilarating.”
This Italian stallion tugs at the heartstrings and has the uncanny ability of showing its driver the full range of emotions from excitement to absolute fear. The latter is not through reckless driving either but worry of breaking down. I alter the position of the steering wheel using the little joystick to the left of it. Starting the engine my heart sinks as the fuel gauge needle, which usually moves upwards, stays in its place at empty. “Oh that’s all I need,” I shout. “What’s the problem?” my wife questions. “Someone has stolen our fuel,” I reply.
Neither of us has our mobile phones so the only thing to do is drive to the nearest petrol station and hope we make it. During the course of the journey my intelligent, rational wife, successful at problem solving, notices that neither the speedometer or the rev counter are working. “I think moving the steering wheel has caused this problem,” she says. Sure enough when we pull into a layby and I re-position it and re-insert the key into the ignition, the fuel gauge needle lifts and the other dials miraculously work.
My driving pleasure restored and my wife’s halo polished, we drive off into the distance. Not even this experience detracts from the overall pleasure of a Maserati. It’s like a temperamental lover but you know that life without them is just not worth living, which brings me to handing the key back to Alan, the helpful delivery driver. You wouldn’t know it to look at him but he can pull a mean headlock.
New price range: £83,305 - £111,160
Engine: 4.7-litre V8
Top speed: 183mph
Fuel tank: 86 litres (18.9 gallons) = 320 miles to a tank