Maserati GT inspired by 2005 Birdcage concept

  • 09-Apr-2008 03:48 EDT
Maserati 3.jpg
Sophisticated electronics complement the hardware elements of the Maserati GT’s suspension.

Maserati has long held a special place within the rarefied, discerning market sector world of high-performance premium brands. Its racing history and its ability to consistently create cars that are distinctive in design and technology have given it a place within a very small niche. Maserati’s latest model, the four-seat GranTurismo (GT) now entering production, continues that position.

Powered by a wet-sump 4.2-L V8 gasoline engine derived from the power unit of the company’s Quattroporte sedan, its performance figures include a top speed of 285 km/h (177 mph) and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 5.2 s. Maximum power of 298 kW (400 hp) is delivered at 7100 rpm, with peak torque of 460 N·m (339 lb·ft) available at 4750 rpm. Combined fuel consumption is 14.3 L/100 km, and CO2 emissions 330 g/km. The 180-kg (397-lb) engine drives through a six-speed ZF 6HP26 automatic transmission with steering-wheel-paddle and central-console-selector operated manual shift mode. Kick-down operates in auto or manual, and the engine can be taken to a maximum 7200 rpm for full-throttle upshifts.

With the engine set back just aft of the front axle, weight distribution is 49% front/51% rear. Chassis electronics include MSP (Maserati Stability Program). The GT is based on the M139 platform of the Quattroporte but with the wheelbase shortened by 125 mm (4.9 in) to 2942 mm (115.8 in), and with rear overhang reduced by 66 mm (2.6 in) to give an overall length of 4881 mm (192.2 in). Suspension is by double wishbones front and rear, and aluminum gas dampers working with Skyhook automatic continuous damping control are optional.

A driver-operated Sport mode provides enhanced throttle response, raises gearshift points, and tightens the Skyhook system. The car uses Brembo four-pot, cross-drilled disc brakes, 330 x 32 mm (13.0 x 1.3 in) in front and 330 x 28 mm (13.0 x 1.1 in) at the rear. Standard wheels are 19-in, with 20-in an option.

The car’s curb weight at 1880 kg (4145 lb) is heavier than that of two of its main competitors, the BMW 650Ci at 1715 kg (3780 lb) and Jaguar XKR at 1655 kg (3650 lb), but 40 kg (88 lb) less than the Mercedes-Benz CL500.

Styled by Pininfarina, the GT’s aesthetics are related to the Birdcage concept seen at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. The car has very prominent front fenders and an aggressive front grille that Andrea Pininfarina said recalls those of historic Maserati sports cars; its rear quarters are also prominent. At the rear are LED lights and four exhaust tailpipes. Cd is 0.33. The body is mostly steel, but the hood and the front bumper reinforcement member are of aluminum, while the trunk lid uses SMC (sheet molding compound).

The car’s interior is the typical Maserati specialization of mixing luxury and sports car design, and it has been designed to accommodate four adults with relatively easy access to the rear seats, where legroom spans 130 to 340 mm (5.1 to 13.4 in). Rear-seat headroom is 910 mm (35.8 in) and front 991 mm (39.0 in). The trunk has a 260-L (9.2-ft­3) capacity.

A wide range of “personalization items” is listed for the car, including brake calipers in various colors.

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