GranTurismo is top Italian stallion
SOME of the most luxurious cars in the world are made in Italy and I’ve recently returned from a trip to where they are built.
The region of Emilia Romagna in northern Italy is where you will find motor valley.
This is home to the world’s top racing car producers, including Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani.
It’s also an area famous for some marvellous food and I visited Hombre Farm where the fabulous Parmigian-Reggiano cheese is produced.
The farm also houses a collection of vintage tractors and cars as well as the Panini Motor Museum.
This is a collection of 23 superb Maseratis and on the floor above many vintage motorbikes and engines.
I’ve visited car factories before but they were nothing like the ones producing prestige Italian cars.
There are no robots to start with and only a few cars are produced daily.
A Maserati tour was impressive with 24 stations on the assembly line and just 17 cars rolling out each day.
Gran Cabrio, GranTurismo, Quattroporte and other models are built to order with no two cars the same.
Having seen the cars being built at the plant in Modena, I was delighted to get the opportunity to drive some Maserati models when they were brought up to the west coast of Scotland.
The highlight of my day was getting behind the wheel of the latest GranTurismo.
It was a stunning red – Rosso Trionfale – colour and the performance of this model more than matched its sporting appearance.
Press the start button and this car comes alive with a roar.
There are two versions of the refreshed 2018 model – Sport and MC – and I was driving the slightly faster MC.
This has a six-speed auto transmission with five operating modes, including steering-wheel paddles for manual shifts.
The auto mode was ideal with super fast gearshifts.
Throttle response came instantly and the deep throaty roar from the twin exhaust pipes was very similar to a racing car’s sound.
The GranTurismo can rocket from zero to 62mph in just 4.7 seconds and is capable of a top speed of 187mph.
I bulleted out of the blocks in my drive as the car responded instantly to the touch of my right foot on the pedal.
This rear-wheel drive Maserati is built for speed and fun, and there was no shortage of that during my drive.
It gets the adrenalin pumping and I was feeling envious of drivers in countries where they are allowed to reach higher legal speed limits than ours.
The car hugged the tarmac and handling was sensational when taking bends at speed.
The GranTurismo is every bit a sports car when it comes to performance and looks but it has other top qualities.
Maserati GB’s general manager Mike Biscoe came up to Scotland with the cars and he stressed the differences between his company’s models and basic sports cars.
He told me: “We are focused on Grand Touring cars – a car to drive great distances fast but in luxurious comfort and with style.”
There was certainly no lack of style, inside and out, in this super luxury model.
And my only complaint when handing back the keys was that the drive was way too short as I lapped up every second in the iconic GranTurismo.
Maserati’s Scottish dealership is a short distance from my home but I will just have to be content with looking at them as I drive past – unless I have a lottery windfall.
On-the-road price for the MC is £109,920 and this rocketed to £126,989 with the options added to the model I drove.