By on January 9, 2008

07-gt-f3q-s.jpgThanks to modern speed enforcement, the idea of leaping large continents in a hugely fast, spectacularly comfortable car has become something of a quaint notion. And yet, upscale manufacturers still compete to build the ultimate GT (Gran Turismo). Reflecting the concept’s European origins, the short list of candidates for this honor all originate on the other side of the pond: the Mercedes CL63, Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin DB9, BMW 650, Jaguar XKR and the Maserati GT. Having owned or reviewed all but the new Maserati, I decided to see if the mad Italian has what it takes to trump its continental cousins.

Aesthetically, the Maser has their measure. It’s the Jessica Alba of GTs. From any angle, the Italian coupe offers seemingly endless, perfectly shaped curves; all exactly where they should be. From its 60’ F1-style curvilinear maw, to the subtle swell of the front wheel arches, to the gracious sweep of its rear air spoiler, the GT tells the world that Maserati’s roots rock.  

07-gt-s-a.jpgThe coupe’s wheelbase accounts for much of the design’s success; only the epic Mercedes CL eclipses the Maserati’s 116" length. At 192" from nose to tail, the NBA proportions help make that delicious body look longer and lower than it really is.

Despite its size and girth, the GT’s trunk is puny; hard luck for hard case schleppers. To make matters worse, there is no spare. Since the trunk is opened via an electrically actuated lock, the battery’s location in the Maser's micro-compartment seems ill-advised. The side doors offer a choice of mechanical or electrical opening— which makes their operation feel less than bank vault-like during normal operation.

07-gt-int-cabin.jpgMaserati has dressed their deeply sybaritic cockpit with a myriad of highest-quality, owner-selected leathers, trim, stitching and wood finishes. It’s elegant, fragrant and sumptuous. On the downside, the seat is strangely unyielding, lacking all but the Jaguar’s range of adjustments. And the headliner is an effrontery in this class, bereft of the Quattroporte’s faux suede option. Even so, only the Bentley Continental GT’s interior can match the Maserati GT’s cabin for sheer indulgence.

A DVD-based navigation system dominates the Maser’s modern dash. Unlike the German competition, the Maserati GT lacks a complicated electronic interface– as there aren’t enough toys requiring mass manipulation. Unforgivably— at least for a GT– there’s no satellite radio, iPod-compatibility or Bluetooth connectivity. That said, the coupe's built-in 30-gigabyte hard drive jukebox and Bose-designed sound system is excellent. Sunroof fans should also look elsewhere (Mercedes is the only GT group member to offer a sliding sunroof). 

07-gt-tops-a.jpgNo push button start contrivances here. Just insert the key, turn and experience the fabulous snarl of a Ferrari-built, 405hp V8. The noise competes with the exterior beauty as the vehicle’s best feature. Sadly, revving the engine at standstill is about as good as it gets.

The previous Maserati coupe must have been judged too sporting for its audience; most of the performance and road feel has been engineered out. With the six-speed automatic transmission left in normal mode, the ride and shift quality is decidedly placid– which magnifies the heft of the helm. The GT’s two-plus tons of mass announce themselves in the corners, with lazy turn-in and relentless understeer. Brake feel is similarly muted and somewhat wooden. Despite the test vehicle’s 20” wheels, the car felt like it wanted to cruise the boulevards rather than bomb the Autobahn.

07-gt-engine-d.jpgPressing the sport button tightens the Maserati GT’s road feel, and the shifts become a little crisper. But there's no dynamic urgency built into this vehicle. Acceleration from naught to 60 takes a little more than five seconds, which is decidedly mid-pack for this category. The avoirdupois makes it feel slower.

I'm told that another 50 horsepower is on the way before the end of this year. It could not come too soon. Overall the GT’s driving experience feels dialed-back many notches from its full potential. At best, it’s a competent cruiser that encourages a relaxed demeanor– the antithesis of BMW’s 6-Series. 

07-gt-r-a.jpgAside from its outward beauty and glorious exhaust note, the Maserati holds one more trump card: its MSRP. The GT stickers at $117k, with most of its meager toys intact. The price undercuts the Mercedes, Aston and Bentley, and slightly exceeds the BMW and Jaguar. Just don’t expect an aggressive lease program; the residuals are dreadful.

The ultimate problem with the drop-dead sexy Maserati GT is endemic to its category: the GT Coupe has lost its original raison d’etre. Since the Maserati lives to look and sound good, perhaps that’s all that’s necessary to compete in a segment of declining relevance. As most wealthy pistonheads already have a plenty fast four-door, perhaps something a little smaller, lighter and less refined would serve their needs better. Audi R8 anyone?

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42 Comments on “2008 Maserati GT Review...”


  • avatar
    BlisterInTheSun

    Hot girls can be slow but they’re still awesome to date. I spent my formative years in Rome and Italian design is the most evocative to my sensibilities. As a real American, however, I feel compelled to ask for a flat-12 to be stuffed in the trunk.

  • avatar

    Naught to sixty in a bit more than five seconds, and it feels slow! What a world we live in. The good news, of course, is that being a Maserati this car will change hands for thirty grand when it’s three years old.

  • avatar
    jdv

    I always enjoy your reviews Jay.
    Good taste in test drives!

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I’d take the slushbox convertible Corvette any day.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Just a high priced poser. I’ll take TWO Corvettes

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Jay, you’re shattering my illusions! Most of the GT segment is overwhelmingly ugly, 6-series and R8 included. This car, on the other hand, is pure sex. I still dream of having one in my garage some day, even if I’m not going to be beating the (future) neighbors’ Mercs and BMWs.

  • avatar
    timoted

    There’s nothing like the cockpit of a Maserati. The few that I’ve had the opportunity to pilot have been a real pleasure. All of the switches have a good feel to them. Nice leather and no cheap plastic anywhere. Too bad about the performance not being what it should.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Enjoyed the review, as usual. You gotta wonder about the choice of a motor built for high rpm thrills being coupled with an automatic in a two ton GT. In this day and age, you gotta have forced induction or big cubes (or preferably both) to keep up with the head of the class.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Sexy wheels. Mamma mia! I would buy this car immediately if i was in that market. You get sexy(did i mention that?), and exclusively even beyond the genre. A vette? nah, they are all over the place. A BMW, geeze, its ugly. Mercedes? echo vette. Bently? the coupe tries awlfully hard to be cool. It is ,tho. But maseratis always seem to have people around them, pointing and admiring. And to drive? 0 to 60 in… who really cares? I want to just be there, sitting. Moving ocasionally i guess. Bored? fire up the engine and just listen. Pure automotive bliss.

    Incidentally I would also have the aston, for much the same reasoning.

    David Drucker : I certainly hope that you are right, and in three years i’m sitting in one of these for 30 large.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Great review. As has been said, it’s great to live in an age where 5-second 0-60 romps can be called slow.

    I’s also like to point out that Maser has resisted the trend of covering the engine in a plastic garbage lid like so many others. It’s nice to see actual oily bits under the hood. And being a Maserati, they will get VERY oily.

    A beautiful car as only the Italians can do it.

    Now for a Zagato-bodied special???

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    To the folks who would pick a Corvette over this Maserati:

    You guys crack me up. Maseratis are about one thing. Looking good as you fly down the street, and its performance only needs to be good enough to not embarrass itself or its occupants. Taking a ‘vette over this is like going for Bea Arthur over Mila Jovovich.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Most beautiful car of the decade for sure! When I first saw the pics in CAR Magazine I was like OMG is this car really going to be in production! :) Good to know that it looks even better in person.
    Funny that Ford Galaxy minivan had similar rear lights few years before GT’s introduction :)

    http://images.alice.it/sg/motori/import/static/upl/f/fordgalaxy2006-7583-014-f.jpg

    GT’s segment is all about flash and pizazz :) Looking from this angle the competition is quite bland. Maserati GT is the car to have when you want to show up at the city’s hottest nightclub’s entrance with your supermodel girlfriend :)

  • avatar
    Driver23

    If you are comparing it to Corvette, you can’t afford it. I can and I would never buy Corvette. Maserati market is about unique cars (even BMW 6 is getting too common), not about “value for money”.

  • avatar
    Mark Morrison

    HEATHROI : “I’d take the slushbox convertible Corvette any day.”

    Juniper : “Just a high priced poser. I’ll take TWO Corvettes”

    Heathroi and Juniper, have you driven a Maserati? To my mind, the car is a total bargain Ferrari and has to be viewed in that context. The engine alone is worth the price of a Corvette! I prefer the gorgeous quattroporte to the the GT though

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Yeah with Corvette you can pose at the entrance of a local barn dance :)

  • avatar
    stu.purvis

    1. Out of curiosity, which one of the 6 models listed did you own Jay – cause if you did own one of them, Farago is paying you way too much:)

    2. Putting an anemic also-ran Maserati in the same sentence as a Ferrari! Granted the parts fall off each of them as they sit in the garage, but people do notice a Ferrari – Maseratis raise pulses like a new A-line on the local librarian. Maserati once made the 3500 that was hot, but every Maser since has been an underpowered, funny-looking, dreadful piece of Italian garbage – there’s a reason they’ve been bankrupt every couple years since the mid-60′s.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    I think we are in agreement. The term poser has been defined nicely here. To each their own.
    As for the supermodel girlfriend. I hope that works out for you.

  • avatar
    shoes

    Of the GT models I listed, I have owned:
    -Mercedes CL500, CL550, CL600 and CL65
    -BMW 645i, 650ic and 650i (current car)
    -Jaguar XK8
    -Bentley Continental GT
    -my boss owned an Aston Martin DB9 Volante which I drove periodically (shhh, don’t tell him).

    My next car will be an Audi R8.

  • avatar
    cc-rider

    Anemic? Underpowered? I don’t know the demographics of this forum are, but give me a break. My 76 2002 would be considered an ox-cart by you jokers.

    People will (rightfully so) buy this car on its looks alone. The exhaust note of these modern maserati’s makes my hair stand on end.

    Anyone who would chose a BMW 6 over this needs to have their vision tested!

  • avatar
    tsgtsfitz

    I really need to see this car in person becuse in my opinion it looks cartoonish like the RX-8. I am thinking that the pictures that I have seen do not do it any justice. That being said the last Maserati I saw in person was downright ugly in my opinion. It was parked next to a Bentley GT and a Elise at the Pepsi Center. The GT looked more striking in my opinion. At least this car has more Italian flair compared to the recent offerings from Lambo/Ferrari.

  • avatar
    mastermik

    This is the only car right now that rivals (maybe even beats) the Aston Martin Vantage on looks, in my eyes. It really is sex on wheels (pardon the cliche). I agree with CC-rider that this car can be bought on looks alone if anything.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    There is only one car in this class that truly generates a major buzz if you see one parked on the street and that car is the Ferrrari 612. The rest of the so-called high-end luxury GTs are ALL a dime a dozen.

    Astons, you have to be joking right, I can go right to Northern Blvd in Nassau and walk right onto a open lot a feel up about a dozen of these bastard babies. Nothing special there. Todays Astons are for folks that know nothing about cars but can be convinced that AM is a prestigious brand.

    None of the VW exotics are have the cache value that the brands used to have. Now that Lamborghinis and Bentleys are common outside of low level drug dealer hang outs in the Bronx and on (heaven forbid) Used car lots you know that the brand has lost something important. A Lamborghini is now the car to buy while you are on the waiting list for your Ferrari.

    New Rolls Royce, no better why to show the world that you have JUST arrived and still require “bling-bling” to show off how much money you are spending (not making).

    The Maserati coupe has the same problem. While the Quarttoporte appears to appeal to the real money makers, the coupes all appear to be driven by younger guys around here. Needless to say they are being scooped up in the used car market because of the piss-poor resale valuer.

    MB SLs and Coupes/ Do you remember the 560SEC and 560sl that all the doctors used to drive well let me tell you those doctors all seem to drive Lexuses now! The sl500/550 and those new coupe appear to be the cats meow amoung the gold chain, open shirted, hairy chest crowd today. A benz used to be the car that the confident man purchased now these things are made for folks that need an necessary ego boast.

    BMW 6 series /M6, the biggest bastard of them all! You can not buy a car the announces any louder that you have very little taste and no very little about cars. This is the new tacky-mans car. Remember those Benzs from the late 80s and early 90s with those ugly body kits and tacky gold trim that the wannabe gansters used to drive, well the 650i is NOW it! Make it a convert and you will win first prize.

    There is a reason that Ferrari is able to command such a premium for its cars. Their cars are special!

  • avatar

    it’s got Pokemon eyes

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Damn thats one hot looking Italian. To bad it’s stuck with an auto and doesn’t have the driving dynamics to go with mean fast sports car looks. I guess most of the people in this segment don’t “drive” their cars they just want to look nice sitting in them, a shame.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    After the Bi-turbo, Maserati can only continue to go up. (Yes, that was a while ago but the sad memory still lingers of a great marque reduced to a farce.)

    Weight is the enemy, as Colin Chapman felt. Rather than increase the horsepower, maybe the designers and engineers at Maserati might want to work on lightening the curb weight of this machine? But admittedly, carbon fiber is expensive and this car already resides at price point best suited to NBA players and others where price is no object. But hey, pushing the technology envelope is never cheap now is it?

    Zero-to-sixty times aren’t particularly relevant, unless you’re bracket racing. Handling is what really matters to a sports car or sports coupe. This Italian might have consumed too much pasta – figuratively speaking.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    I was in the market for this car a few weeks ago in Silicon Valley. Took a test drive, liked the car. As Jay said, it isn’t frantic or quick, but just a beautiful, exclusive, comfortable and powerful car. It draws attention because of its looks and rarity, but is actually quite understated, specially in a dark color. A lot of women seemed impressed _after_ they read the badge – so I think the general uninformed American public’s perception of “Maserati” is actually more upmarket than its actual price. The interior certainly felt that way, one of the most sumptuous I have driven.

    So, why didn’t I _buy_ one? The primary reason was that it seems very difficult to actually get one right now without paying a bribe to the dealer. They had a handful available, but _every_ single one has some minor dealer installed trinket, which is marked way up. If I want a factory fresh one, well sir, that will take a few months because we have to order one all the way from Italy, you see. A.Y.F.K. me?

    The second reason, of course is that I was a bit chicken about the reliability of this car as a (almost) daily driver. So I drove over to the MBZ dealership and got myself a CL600. Not quite the same ooomph, but it will do until maybe I pick up a Maserati GT when I am in Europe next summer.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I dunno; the Maserati trident adorning a plastic intake plenum seems cheesy.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    This is a very sexy car. Just mentioning the name Maserati to a college girl will make her vaginal lips quiver. I wish I have one because Maserati is another name for Fiat,Ferrari and Alfa Romeo combined.

  • avatar

    “…a myriad of…”

    Ouch.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    BEAT
    Did you say FIAT?

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    From dictionary.com:

    “Usage Note: Throughout most of its history in English myriad was used as a noun, as in a myriad of men. In the 19th century it began to be used in poetry as an adjective, as in myriad men. Both usages in English are acceptable”

    If you’re going to be annoying about grammar, at least make sure you’re corret

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    re: “Most beautiful car of the decade for sure!”
    Brock_Landers :
    January 9th, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    there is a soft spot in my heart for maserati. but with all due respect, i gotta disagree with the assessment of the gt as ‘most beautiful.’ and the reason i do disagree has everything to do with the situation surrounding my own personal introduction to the marque.

    it was back in 1969. i had only been with my new employer for a couple of months and i was meeting the owner of the company for the first time. the two of us went to lunch and i can’t even begin to recall where we went, but i’ll never forget how we got there – in his brand new ghibli coupe. now that was a truly gorgeous maserati. same for the bora model which followed it – another really beautiful car.

    in my opinion, they’ve built nothing as aesthetically pleasing as those two ever since.

  • avatar

    “If you’re going to be annoying about grammar, at least make sure you’re corret”

    Yes, I’m aware that both usages are technically acceptable.

    It still sounds jarring. Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Yes Fiat? Because Maserati is own by the Italian Car Giant Fiat S.p.A or Fiat Group Automobiles, just like a comparison to the Mitsubishi Group of Companies on the pacific side.

    The 2008 Fiat Grande Punto is the new car under the name Fiat.

    Which they are industrial,Auto Manufacturing, Engine Manufacturing, Financial and Industrial.

    Before someone bad mouth Fiat.

    There is nothing wrong with Fiat cars it is only in our country that we don’t like the name Fiat another misconception of the American consumer behavior.

    I don’t understand the “Myriad” comment by the way. Is it the tenth to the 4th power?

  • avatar
    BEAT

    By the way boomerang-Gen lingo for the retiring baby boomers the Street Name for Maserati or Ricer name for Maserati is “Rat” short for Mase”rat”i.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    @thinx

    The CL600 has more oomph than the Maserati will ever have, thanks to a bigger motor and a pair of pinwheels. ‘Course it doesn’t sound as good…

  • avatar

    if I want a cruiser that looks like sex on wheels, I’ll get an aston. as a bonus, no one calls them “anemic” either.

    though anyway, isn’t the alfa 8c the new hotness?

  • avatar
    Scott

    The grille is 60 feet wide? I knew the GT was a big car, but really.

    And it’s sexy, but it’s no Aston.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Most beautiful car of THIS decade!

    philipwitak : digging up great designs form the past is the easy task. Trying to find something from the present is difficult. GT is the absolute pinnacle of current automotive design. Finally a car design that a person can be passionate about!

    doctorv8: give me a break, CL600!!! :) The car has highly engineered muscles and a huge price tag, but compared to the GT its Ahnuld wearing Adidas vs Johnny Depp in Valentino :)

    More importantly, a Maserati is like an all-access pass to nightlife. No more dealing with “Are you on the list?” from some jerkoff valet when you’re driving a GT. Also, very good for picking up on American Socialite girls and Hollywood actress girls (the high-end ones). Luxurious materials. Understated yet dope. Elegant, sharp, and beautiful. Look to spend about $117k (pretty cheap actually). :)

    http://www.thegmanifesto.com/2006/03/insight-into-world-of-suits.html

  • avatar
    batvette

    As someone who witnessed firsthand the necessary second career of auto mechanic one would embark upon when owning a Fiat in the late 70′s with my sister’s 131, I find it rather insulting that the Fiat’s well deserved reputation in the US is implied to be our own ignorance, or “behaviour”. Unless “tow truck” has a different meaning across the pond, the language should be universal. Is what has risen from the ashes of Italian socialist practices and political strife of the ’70′s hobbling their industry a better product than that, or competetive with its contemporaries? Perhaps so, but the first step in getting us to accept this would not be to assert it’s our fault we remember how bad the last generation was.

  • avatar
    seldomawake

    My good lord, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Wow.

  • avatar
    markwestaby

    The Maserati GT knocks spots off the Audi R8 — how can you possibly compare them (chalk and cheese). I own a GT but drove the R8 last week. OK, the R8 was ‘only’ the V8 version but it was tame compared to the Maserati GT and far too clinical. Frankly, it was boring. The Maserati is much closer to driving a Ferrari California — after all it is a ferrari engine and remember it’s a true 4-seater GT.

    Taken as a whole the size, beauty, style and performance of the GT is superb.


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