Saturday, February 5, 2011

Maserati GranCabrio, 2011

Maserati GranCabrio, 2011


 
 



The Maserati GranCabrio - four proper seats, comfortable, inviting and all-enveloping. Never before had an open-top Maserati offered so much. Never before had a car with the Trident badge allowed an entire family or four friends to enjoy a journey in the open air. The Maserati GranCabrio's magical chemistry starts when you look at it: it is shockingly beautiful, with the soft top up or down. Indeed it features a sophisticated canvas top, for very precise reasons, which can be summed up in three words: �centre of gravity�. Fabric, ultra-high tech fabric, weighs very little, infinitely less than metal and helps the car's road-holding: the overall system weight is just 65 kg. And then fabric is pliant, it complements the palette of the car's exterior colours six times over, the number of shades in which it is available, from a solid black to a high-tech titanium grey, to a warm chocolate colour.

28 seconds, that's the time it takes for the Maserati GranCabrio to go back to being a secure cocoon. A flying one too, thanks to a Cx of 0.35 with the roof up, which increases by a mere trifle, to 0.39, with the top down.

Design is at the service of comfort. The times when anyone travelling in the back of a sports car were resigned to suffering physical discomfort are well and truly over: rear passengers in the Maserati GranCabrio are not supporting actors, but co-stars of the journey. The legs, even for those who are more than six feet tall, are no longer crammed in, the spine is no longer forced into an unnatural erect position, but comfortably and physiologically supported on backrests designed so that sportiness does not need to compromise on comfort.
Maserati GranCabrio

The Maserati GranCabrio's Design
Dynamism, sensuality and passion have always been the features that transform Pininfarina's creative genius into masterpieces to be admired on roads the world over. The latest work of art to leave the Maserati factory, the Maserati GranCabrio, has the design of a dream car, but it is a real masterpiece that's just asking to be driven by lovers of beautiful cars who want to travel cocooned in a refined and comfortable ambience.

The challenge for Pininfarina was an intriguing one: never before had a proper four-seater convertible, capable of accommodating four adults comfortably without stealing even the tiniest bit of the incomparable pleasure of travel, been produced by Maserati. Now that the craftsmen have completed their work, it all seems obvious: the Maserati GranCabrio could only ever have been like this. An expert eye, however, understands how much power lies behind the front, imposing and dynamic at the same time, the sinuous and feline flanks and a rear that speaks a high-tech language with a wide aerodynamic diffuser tested in a wind tunnel, crowned by large, twin oval-section chrome tailpipes.

A sculpture that speaks to connoisseurs the ancient language of the great Italian coachbuilders, a beautiful car to admire when it is open, but also when it is moving with its roof up, something that isn't always the case for cars of this type. The canvas soft top was chosen over a rigid folding roof as, with its complicated closing system, would have imposed on engineers and designers unacceptable constraints for anyone seeking beauty in its purest form. And so the "all-clear" was given to supremequality materials and state of the art engineering, to a structure with a backbone consisting of five steel and aluminium spokes and covered with a triple-layer canvas available in six colours, meeting every single customer's requirement. The whole system weighs only 65 kg but, at the same time, guarantees maximum aero-acoustic efficiency and allows the Maserati GranCabrio to be enjoyed in all seasons, thanks to the most stringent tests conducted at 30 degrees below zero and at 40 degrees in the shade.

When the soft top is up the drag coefficient is 0.35, while with the soft top down 0.39. Extraordinary figures, the mark of a perfect chemistry between aesthetics and functionality. Without forgetting another absolute imperative, the comfort of those travelling in this open-top granturismo. The optional wind stop was designed precisely to fulfil this purpose, to provide passengers with excellent protection, even at high speed. So, with the wind stop on, the volume of air from outside falls by 70%, whilst the air speed inside the cabin is down 50%.

The Maserati GranCabrio's Voice
The voice of the Maserati GranCabrio, the musical notes of its V8 are powerful but subdued when travelling at a modest pace, but they can reach the strength of a tenor's high tones when the driver demands the maximum. The secret of such flexibility lies with the pneumatic control valves that manage the exhaust: normally they remain closed, to ensure that the car travels within the bounds of discretion, but if the Sport mode is selected, they open above 3000 rpm and the sound becomes a powerful roar, especially with the roof down.

The eight-cylinder orchestra is a chorus that sings about the pleasure of driving, harmoniously conducted by the 6-speed automatic gearbox. This transmission is the result of a close working relationship between Maserati and ZF, which has successfully interpreted the exciting combination between the 323 kW (440 HP) of the V8 engine and the fluidity of the automatic gearbox. And if the driver wants to feel even more like an orchestra conductor, all he has to do is select the Manual mode, and modulate the sound of the engine to the rhythm of the manual shifts, better still when using the steering wheel paddles.

The Maserati GranCabrio demands to be heard, also through the voice of its hi-fi system, developed by Maserati and Bose. Keeping even the most demanding audiophiles satisfied was not an easy task: without the roof to act as a resonating chamber the layout of the speakers had to be completely redesigned. In the end 12 were fitted: one speaker in the middle of the dashboard, two tweeters and two woofers set into each door, one front bass box under the front passenger seat, two tweeters and two woofers on both rear panels and a rear-mounted bass box containing two woofers. It is the woofers, speakers which reproduce the lowest tones and give the right depth to an orchestral crescendo or the rhythmic base of a jazz trio, the keystones behind the perfection of the "GranCabrio concert hall". The rear bass box, for example, has an unusual shape, extending behind the backrest and under the rear armrest so that it can perform at its best.

The Maserati GranCabrio's Dynamics A must-have feature for a car that is as much fun to drive as the GranCabrio is a great sense of balance, achieved with a well thought out weight distribution. The latest Trident creation is unrivalled on this level as well: with the soft top up 49% of the weight is over the front axle and 51% over the rear, whilst the rates with the soft top down become 48 and 52% respectively.

The Skyhook suspension system features continuously adjustable gas dampers which adapt to the ever changing road conditions. In practical terms, this means that every irregularity is "concealed" to the driver, who can then enjoy an incredibly smooth driving experience in true comfort.

On board the Maserati GranCabrio
Sleek and sporty from the outside, comfortable and cosy from the inside. This formula was refined with the expertise of the designers who were put to the test with the Maserati GranCabrio concept. A concept which envisaged, first of all, two adults being able to use the rear seats even on long journeys, without suffering from cramps or fatigue.

Integrated systems
Twenty five degrees centigrade and dehumidified air: this is what the experts reckon is the ideal situation for the wellbeing of people at home, in the office or when travelling by car. A rule that is certainly not set in stone, given that each of us has our own ideal temperature and, during car journeys, uses the on-board climate control system to find it.

On the Maserati GranCabrio the driver is just required to set the desired temperature in a range falling between 16 and 32 degrees and the electronics will start to mix the air and meter with micrometric precision the intensity of the flows until the target is quickly reached. The climate control system has been finetuned to offer maximum comfort both with the soft top up and down, adjusting itself accordingly. It knows that it has to perform quite differently on an early summer's evening or on a blisteringly hot day and it is also very well aware that it mustn't be too invasive in acoustic terms so that the engine can be left to sing to its heart's content.

The Maserati GranCabrio's Interior
The Maserati GranCabrio embodies the essence of Italian craftsmanship, which has its roots in historic workshops from the Renaissance era and has gradually evolved, without losing sight of its own noble origins. The seats are the first thing one appreciates when getting behind the wheel: upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather, they feel plush, naturally soft and cosy in Winter, fresh and airy in Summer. Leather bound to improve with the passing of time, just like a great vintage wine.

The palette of colours includes no less than 10 shades, which can be blended together for seats, dashboard, tonneau cover, steering wheel and gear knob in an infinite number of combinations to create a tailor-made ambience to suit one's own taste. Each button on the steering wheel and dashboard is embellished with a fine chrome surround, an elegant stamp of an unquestionable superiority of style. The Trident logo is embossed by hand on the headrests and the exposed stitching on the armrest is hand-sewn.

More hands have crafted the precious woods that take pride of place in the Maserati GranCabrio's cabin. These hands have smoothed these woods with infinite patience, removed even the slightest impurities and polished them again to obtain an eye-catching end-result. The Carbalho wood comes from Brazil. Maserati sought it out in its distant lands of origin because it has inimitable credentials: each part of it has a different weave, a sort of fingerprint that guarantees that each car is unique.

Maserati open-top Heritage
The Maserati GranCabrio is the first open-top four-seater Maserati but this doesn't mean that it is without noble ancestors. On the contrary, entire chapters of the history of the motor car have been written by open top Trident cars, although they were strictly two seaters.

The first is the legendary A6G Frua Spyder, produced in a very limited series in the 1950s: it is in the details that the individual cars are distinguished from one another, details, which in the unique Frua, soar to the level of a masterpiece. To have a better understanding, one has to look no further than the front end with the chrome surround and the sunken fog lights, which a few months later, in the A6G 2000, would be transformed into the oval-shaped radiator grille, typical of the Maserati, with the large trident in the middle.

The same blood flowed through the mechanical veins of the A6G Frua Spyder that would then ennoble cars such as the 3500 Gt Spyder by Vignale, a matchless source of inspiration for the great Italian coachbuilders of the 1960s, who made a competition out of dressing them with elegant suits hand-forged by master panel beaters. The 3500 Gt Spyder was so beautiful that it even turned heads in Hollywood: it was used countless times in major studio films, it �acted�, for example, with Lee Marvin and John Cassavetes in The Killers and together with Kirk Douglas in Two Weeks in Another Town, in both cases wearing "stage outfits" signed by Vignale.

As we run through Maserati's general ledger we also meet one of the cars that could be considered to be a direct descendant of the Maserati GranCabrio: the 2001 Spyder, the car that gave rise to the carmaker's renaissance that can be seamlessly linked back to legendary names and denominations such as the A6G 2000 GT, 3500 GT, Mistral and Ghibli. Understatement, passion and elegance. These are the distinctive traits of the new Spyder, which is more than a simple dream car with a great temperament, endowed with a technology adding greater prestige to Maserati. The transmission, for example, is located in the rear axle in unit with the limited-slip differential. The effect is balanced on-road performance, enhanced by an automatic suspension system that adapts to the road with a speed ten times higher than the systems employed to date.

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