Maserati Granturismo S automatic driven
* Rev-hungry 4.7-litre V8 * Fabulously refined cruiser * On sale now for £84,995...
If a thing of beauty is a toy for ever then the Granturismo is a car you'll never want to stop playing with. That beauty is more than skin deep, too, especially now that a six-speed automatic gearbox has been married to the rev-hungry 4.7-litre 440bhp V8 engine.
You can still specify the robotised paddle-shift manual if you really insist, but its clunky shifts and erratic low-speed take-up make parking scarily hit-or-hopefully-miss, so you'd be bonkers to spec it when the new slick-shifting auto is so smooth.
It's not even as if you sacrifice 'manual' control, since the automatic comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddles that let you hold onto gears or bang in aggressive downshifts. Believe us, that's a technique you'll find hard to resist, because above 3000rpm its howling banshee scream, we're inclined to believe, actually pierces the ozone layer.
Another less pleasing reason for flirting with the sound barrier is the engine's sorry lack of low-rev kick which, combined with the Granturismo's sheer heft, means you're all too often left waiting for the engine to get into its stride.
On the road
More positively, though, the steering is light and accurate and, despite its grandiose dimensions the chassis stretches to more than five metres the GT is surprisingly easy to tempt into a relaxed flow through bends. But on craggier roads the self-adjusting suspension can sometimes struggle to keep up, and because an awful lot of mass is transferred to the nose under heavy braking, a slug of extra stopping power would certainly come in handy.
Stick to mile-eating on motorways, though, and the S feels totally planted and fabulously refined.
Inside, unlike many a supercar, it's spacious as well, so four can actually luxuriate in a truly sumptuous cabin, kitted out with leather and wood and more buttons than a shirt factory.
Resistance is futile
Maserati Granturismo S automaticPrice: £84,995
On sale: Now
You'll like: The beauty of it, the exclusivity
You won't: Not quite the complete driving experience