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2010 Maserati GranCabrio Preview

2010 Maserati GranCabrio Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009
2010 Maserati GranCabrioCritical Knowledge:
  • Shares the Maserati GranTurismo platform
  • Four-passenger convertible
  • Power-operated folding canvas roof
  • Standard engine is a Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V-8
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Manufactured in Italy
  • Available in the second quarter of 2010
Introduction
In 1947, Maserati introduced its first road car, the GranTurismo, to the world. Sixty years later, at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, the current GranTurismo was unveiled. While the first GranTurismo was based on the racing chassis of the Maserati A6 (total production only 58 units), the latest iteration is based on Maserati's flagship Quattroporte sedan. Styled by Pininfarina's Jason Castriota, with more than a few hints of the Ferrari 599 GTB in the sheetmetal, the 4-passenger closed-roof coupe is built on a shortened Quattroporte platform with two Ferrari-sourced 8-cylinder powerplants.

Following the success of the GranTurismo, Maserati has introduced its GranCabrio convertible, based on the coupe's platform. The all-new drop-top is designed to be a true 4-seater, "so that the rear passengers are not merely supporting actors, but co-stars of the journey," says Maserati. As is the automaker's tradition, the power-operated roof is strictly canvas-made. The GranCabrio is "a special car aimed at refined connoisseurs," adds the automaker.

The arrival of the GranCabrio completes Maserati's lineup which now includes three models: Quattroporte, GranTurismo and GranCabrio. The GranCabrio will be Maserati's first convertible produced at the Viale Ciro Menotti Maserati factory in Modena, Italy, starting in early 2010.

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2010 Maserati GranCabrioModel Lineup
Unlike the GranTurismo, which is offered in two different models, the GranCabrio is only offered in one trim level equipped with the more powerful of the two V-8s that are offered in the coupe.

All 2010 Maserati GranCabrio models feature a full complement of power accessories expected in a vehicle of this caliber. In addition, in typical Maserati fashion, customers may choose from a generous selection of available supple Poltrona Frau leathers and handcrafted interior accents. No fewer than ten different shades of leather, with thirteen different stitching colors, may be mixed to customize the interior upholstery. The exterior of the vehicle offers even more options. According to the manufacturer, there are approximately four million color and trim combinations for the GranCabrio through Maserati's custom-build tailoring service.

Maserati's choice to avoid a folding hardtop and utilize soft canvas has helped with the trunk space on the GranCabrio, the maker says. Although the trunk is smaller than the luggage compartment on the GranTurismo, most of the roof's hardware is positioned just behind the rear seats in an effort to preserve luggage capacity. Like the coupe, the GranCabrio is expected to be equipped with an 11-speaker Bose Surround Sound audio system, with Neodymium iron-boron magnets, to deliver sound accurately to all four seating positions. The system also features a 30-GB hard drive to store up to 180 hours of music.

Hardware
Maserati has chosen to fit its largest engine in the GranCabrio-the Ferrari-sourced, 4.7-liter, 8-cylinder 4-valve engine, which is optional on the GranTurismo (interestingly enough, it is shared with the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione). The powerplant is rated at 433 horsepower and mated to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is an upgraded MC-Shift gearbox with a rear transaxle for better weight distribution, combined with a limited-slip differential for better traction and acceleration. To bring the Maserati GranCabrio to a quick and controlled stop, the brakes are generously-sized, ventilated, multi-piston Brembo discs on all four corners with standard anti-lock braking (ABS). According to the manufacturer, the GranCabrio accelerates to 62 mph in just 5.4 seconds and has a top speed of 175 mph (with the top up).

The convertible's chassis is comprised of a boxed steel monocoque design. It has been engineered to serve as a rigid platform for the front and rear quadrilateral independent suspension components. The shock absorbers utilize an available electronically controlled "Skyhook" active ride dampening system with aluminum gas struts to automatically monitor the road 100 times per second, and adapt the ride to the driver's style, Maserati says. In addition, the manufacturer says the Skyhook system has been engineered to incorporate sensory data from the transmission to briefly alter the suspension during shifting for smoother gear changes. The standard wheels are 19-inch aluminum alloy, wrapped in high-performance Pirelli P Zero Rosso tires.

2010 Maserati GranCabrioSafety
Active safety systems help to avoid accidents before they happen. With that in mind, the new 2010 GranCabrio features the Maserati Stability Program (MSP) as standard equipment. It is designed to help correct skidding by engaging the integrated ABS and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) system to assist the driver while bringing the vehicle back under control. To increase nighttime visibility, the headlamps are bi-Xenon, with an adaptive motor to swivel the light with the turn of the steering wheel.

Technology
Maserati, the first automobile manufacturer to incorporate light emitting diode (LED) illumination on the tail-lights of its 1998 3200 GT coupe, has built a wealth of knowledge in automotive lighting technology. Following the development and application of innovative lighting systems on the GranTurismo, Maserati has applied its learned science and research to the GranCabrio. In the rear of the vehicle, each of the GranCabrio's tail-light assemblies utilizes 96 LEDs. They are used for the running lights, tail lights, stop lights and turn indicators. The advanced LEDs illuminate faster, burn brighter, use less electricity, and last longer than conventional bulbs. In the front of the vehicle, bright bi-Xenon headlamps are electronically controlled to swivel up to 15 degrees to light the path in front of the vehicle. At speeds above 80 mph, the lights are fixed in position, for safety. Realizing that Xenon bulbs require time to "warm up" before they are effective, Maserati has also fitted the front of the 2010 GranCabrio with a set of conventional halogen lights for near-instantaneous "flash to pass" situations during daytime touring.

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