When the Maserati GranTurismo finally left us after more than a decade in production, sales numbers were beyond tragic. In fact, a quick check of local dealers shows that as of writing at the beginning of 2021, there are at least 6 brand new 2019 GranTurismos available for sale within an hour or so of where I live in Los Angeles.
So what went so wrong?
How does a car as good looking with such an amazing exhaust sound wind up sitting around for years waiting to get sold? Well to make a long story short, the GranTurismo really did feel ancient. The media interface, for example, wasn’t updated until 2018 – and was only updated at that point because of the US federal mandate that all new models must have a back-up camera as standard, and the old system wasn’t capable of displaying one. That meant for several model years the GranTurismo was a six-figure car without Bluetooth audio streaming, let alone Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It didn’t have a touch screen system. It didn’t have a back-up camera. By the time those things were finally added, the platform was over a decade old and competing against the new Vantage, the AMG GT, and of course the 991.2 911.
It’s unsurprising, then, that there are still GranTurismos sitting on dealer lots. However, these days a GranTurismo can be picked up on the second hand market with a few miles on it for more than a six-figure discount, with prices for higher mileage and earlier examples like the 2010 model I drove this past weekend (shown in these pictures) dipping well below $50,000. Suddenly the GranTurismo is looking less like an ancient rip-off and more and more like an exotic car bargain. But is it? Let’s dive in and take a look at that question.
First things first, the Maserati is gorgeous.
I personally prefer the look of the S and Sport models to the MC models as I think the scoops and center exit exhaust tips and carbon fiber get a bit excessive, but whichever you choose the fact remains that the GranTurismo is one of the best looking cars of recent times. Perhaps the mouth is a bit off from certain angles, but the body line that traces from headlights to taillights is simple divine and gives the GranTurismo a set of curves even Sofia Loren would be jealous of. The only other minor annoyance I found with that beautiful bodywork is that the nose seemed to scrape everywhere, no matter how hard I tried to angle it. Not the end of the world, but something to be aware of.
In terms of interior quality, there are a few things to be aware of. The car I drove had over 50,000 miles on it, which is high for a GranTurismo, and was 10 years old and was used as a rental, but the leather seemed to be holding up well. It could have used a nice detailing, but the wear didn’t seem excessive or worrisome by any means, and the dash didn’t appear to be shrinking, which is a common problem with certain older Italian cars. One problem this car did share with those cars, though, was the sticky buttons.
For those unfamiliar, Ferrari and Maserati used a special plastic in their buttons that was supposed to feel nicer that the plastics in other cars, but as it ages it becomes sticky and starts to look quite poor. There are ways to clean off these buttons and they can be replaced, but typically a car without sticky buttons is assumed to be better maintained, given that the owner was willing to spend the money to have that minor issue corrected.
As I mentioned before, tech is also not a strong point in these cars, but if you’re like me and you use your phone for navigation and music, by 2010 (if not earlier) there was an auxiliary jack in the glove box that may be outdated, but will at least allow you to listen to your own music and hear your navigation directions through the surprisingly good sound system.
The Drive - Less than Thrilling
Driving the GranTurismo, though, is a bit of a different experience. I know that when I got in, I was slightly underwhelmed by the acceleration and slightly disappointed by how light the steering was. I thought I’d finally found out why driving a childhood dream car was a bad idea. But as I drove it further, I realized I wasn’t thinking about it properly. The GranTurismo certainly has the engine and exhaust note of a sports car, but at its core it’s really a touring car. Yes, most of them have the six-speed automated manual gearbox that’s decently quick for when it was developed and questionably reliable today, but a traditional automatic gearbox would end up muzzling that incredible V8 up front. Yes, that V8 bellows and roars in sport mode, but when you turn sport mode of to cruise down the highway its quiet and the suspension isn’t too rough. If you want that louder exhaust and harsher ride, the MC models will certainly have that for you, but at the end of the day it’s my firm opinion that the GranTurismo is meant to make you look good and feel special pulling up at a restaurant on date night or cruising up the coast or into the mountains for a weekend getaway, both of which it does brilliantly.
Earlier, I posed the question of whether or not the GranTurismo has become an exotic car bargain now that they can easily be hand with discounts of up to six figures off from when they were new. After having spent the weekend with one, I can only say that it is, but with a qualification. It’s been a bit of an elephant in the room, but reliability is a question with these – it’s part of why they’re so cheap. But if you find one that has been well maintained, or are willing to put the money into a cheaper one that hasn’t been, AND are willing and able to maintain it like the $150,000 car it was new, you’ll almost certainly fall in love with it. Sure, it might not have all the tech of other cars, but this isn’t a car you want to drive daily. It’s a car you drive when you want the drive to feel special, and it does that exceeding well.