Friday, December 23, 2011

2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC

Included in the MC’s touchups is a sport exhaust system that, besides being 12 pounds lighter than the base tubing, transmits more of the 4.7-liter V-8’s warbling, wailing, feral howl to the cabin. A little more, anyway. Activate sport mode, and the exhaust bypasses lock open for even more auditory pleasure.

It’s nowhere near as shriekalicious as a Ferrari 458, say, but luxury-oriented Maserati, with its smoother and more docile four-plane-crank, wet-sump version of the shared V-8, doesn’t care to be Ferrari. Still, we’d like to hear even more. It’s like being forced to listen to Pavarotti with the volume too low.

Opt for the MC, and you get 444 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, 11 hp and 15 lb-ft more than the regular 4.7 GranTurismo. Friction reduction accounts for the increase, says Maserati, thanks to the strategic use of “diamond-like coating,” an antifriction technology derived from Formula 1, on wear parts such as the cams and followers.

In auto-sport mode, a revised “MC Auto Shift” transmission program knocks up to 50 percent off the upshift times in the ZF six-speed automatic, claims Maserati. There are five control modes: auto-normal, manual-normal, auto-sport, manual-sport, and ice. In manual-sport, the MC gives you full control with the banana-shaped paddles, so bounce it off the rev limiter if you like. On downshifts, you get pleasing little throttle blips.

Base price to base price, the MC is $17,000 more than the base GranTurismo S automatic coupe, but when you factor in all that is standard on the MC and available as an option on the base GT (mostly appearance items such as carbon-fiber interior trim for $2550 and Alcantara headliner for $1750), the price difference is about $3515. For that sum, you get the MC’s extra horsepower, the zippy exhaust, the special hand-modified fenders and hood, and the unique wheels. It would be a roaring bargain if you could add only $3515 and the power, bodywork, and so on, to the base car and call it a day.

Competitors to the MC include the $104,375, 510-hp Jaguar XKR and Porsche 911 flavor of your choice. The aforementioned 911 Turbo starts at $138,450. The MC asks for more money but offers Italian heritage, machismo, and rarity in return. And with that chrome trident on the grille, let’s face it, it’s somewhat more special than the others.

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