Maserati Grancabrio Sport reviewed

* 450bhp 4.7-litre V8 engine * On sale October; costs 102,615 * Around 30 coming to the UK each year...

Maserati Grancabrio Sport reviewed

What is it? A more powerful, more focused version of one of the worlds most desirable convertibles.

The extra 40,315 that the Sport version costs over the standard model adds a black grille with red accents on the famed trident emblem, more-prominent sideskirts, a pair of corner splitters located on the lower leading edge of the front bumper, black oval tailpipes and bespoke 20-inch black alloys.

Changes under the skin including upgraded suspension, more power and upgraded software for the six-speed automatic gearbox all help the Sport feel, well, more sporty.

Whats it like to drive? With a 10bhp power upgrade, the Sports 4.7-litre V8 engine produces a healthy 450bhp and a thumping 376lb ft of torque and thats enough to fire 1.9 tonnes of metal and leather from 0-60mph in just 5.2 secs.

Its fast then; and loud - the reworked exhaust pipes reverberate like a barrage of anti-aircraft fire on the overrun. However, even when youre absolutely wringing the engine for all its worth, the Sport doesnt really feel that quick.

Most of that is down to the engine's relative shortage of low-rev punch. Pull out to overtake, plant your foot against the floor and theres a distinct delay as you wait for revs to spin up.

Maserati Grancabrio Sport gallery

You can smarten matters up by using the steering column-mounted shift paddles, but in truth, it all feels a bit frantic in a car that is first and foremost an elegant boulevard cruiser.

The upgraded Brembo brakes aren't precise enough, either.

As a result, you find yourself thinking too much about how much pressure to apply when approaching fast sweeping corners. Its a similar story in town, where the shortage of progression and precision make it difficult to stop the car smoothly.

The Sports steering is light, yet extremely accurate and its suspension is around 15% stiffer than the standard Grancabrio's. On fast, smooth roads you feel the benefits, with less body roll and quicker turn-in to corners. The ride is less impressive however, especially with the roof down. Lumps and bumps transmit shakes through the steering wheel and can be felt trembling through the cabin.

Whats it like inside? At a shade under five metres long, the Grancabrio, is truly a grand tourer, with a cabin that is as spacious as it is luxurious. It provides far more leg-, head- and shoulder room than a BMW 6 Series or a Jaguar XK, theres plenty of space for four adults to travel in comfort.

Unfortunately, even with these grandiose dimensions something has had to give and thats evident the first time you open the boot.

With so much space demanded by the electrically powered roof and the pop-up anti-roll-bars, there's only 173-litres of boot space.

At least the roof is beautifully tailored, and unlike a BMW 6 Series, is beautifully integrated into the car's flowing lines. Its also triple-layered to maximise sound-deadening, so even at three figure speeds it generates such little wind noise its easy to hold a conversation with all of your fellow travellers without raising your voice.

Whats more, it can be opened and closed in 28 secs at speeds up to 19mph.

Should I buy one? Lets face it, once youve laid eyes on the Grancabrio Sport no amount of cold-blooded analysis or any kind of criticism is going to deter you from signing on the dotted line. Equally, with Maserati UK planning to import only around 30 cars per year, youll be assured of entry into a very exclusive club indeed.

What Car says