Let’s cut to the chase on this one: The 2014 Maserati GranTurismo Sport is a monster.
We drove it. We know.
It took us from Maserati of Raleigh on Capital Boulevard out to Buffaloe Road and back in a flash, the blink of an eye, near instantaneously. It’s fast.
And hungry. The GT will devour the road when you let it, and it growls at you when you don’t.
Maybe we are just getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. You’ll have to forgive us. Stepping out of the car, it’s easy to feel disorganized. Speed sickness is sudden and serious. Your thoughts fly apart because all you want to do is hear more and more of that sound.
James Simpson accompanied us once again. He was with us when we experienced the Ghibli, and we think he just wanted to witness what the GranTurismo would do to us. He’s seen the way it affects many people. The way it changes them.
By now you should know that all Maserati cars are handmade in Italy, every detail bespoke by the driver themselves. No two are alike but for the most crucial components. The 4.7-liter Ferrari V-8, for one, tops out at 7000 revolutions per minute, 454 horsepower, and 384 pound-feet of torque. The ZF 6-speed automatic gearbox, for another, eliminates any performance reduction from a manual transmission and incorporating racing style paddle shifters that work with MC Auto Shift software to tell the driver exactly when to hit the next gear. Then the Sport Skyhook Electronic Control System, specifically developed for the GT Sport, is a double wishbone suspension system that gives you the most precise handling possible. Engaging the GT’s Sport mode will enhance the performance of all of these systems, including the sound.
Oh, that sound.
Inside, the GranTurismo is still plush luxury, just like you would expect from Maserati. Seats upholstered in ebon Poltrana Frau leather, ceiling and siding covered in Alcantera, all tied together with sophisticated red piping. That’s just what the interior looked like on the car we drove. You can build yours however you want. You want red leather? Go right ahead. You want the steering wheel covered in Alcantera? Feel free. Whatever you can think of, Maserati will make it happen.
The seats themselves are contoured, designed to support you in every way and cradle you through the curve. The Maserati trident adorns the integrated headrest, and a bezel just below it keeps your back ventilated. If you’ve been picturing a two-seater, adjust that mental image. The GT is a two plus two, with plenty of room in the back seat. Bring your friends along for the ride. You can even strap a child’s seat in the back, one for a very lucky child.
James drove first, taking us away from the dealership. He’s a pro, that’s all there is to it. When you go for a test run with him, you’ll not only know why you should own a Maserati, you’ll know how you should drive one. The GranTurismo is every inch a sports car, with pureblood racing heritage, so you won’t find one with a push button start. Turning the key is part of the mystique, and when James turned it, the GT came to life like a beast woken from deepest slumber.
At no point does the sound cease. Waiting at the entrance of the dealership for the lane to open up, the engine idled with the most captivating reverberation. It’s a deep thrumming, a molto maestoso movement in the air. Then the light turns green and it turns into a growl. We admit, it had just stopped raining before our test-drive, so James accelerated slowly, opting out of the instant crescendo we got in the four-wheel drive Ghibli in favor of a gradual buildup to the GranTurismo’s mighty roar.
Aside, the engine sound is in no way offensive. It’s a large part of what draws people to Maserati. The cabin is acoustically tuned to help you appreciate the sound without being deafened by it. There’s no reason to be afraid.
Capital Boulevard may be home to the dealership, but it’s no place for a GT. It’s practically unhealthy to subdue the engine with a 45 mile-per-hour speed limit, and James said it’s not uncommon for GT adoptees to seek out tracks so that their cars don’t have to hold back.
Short of a motorway or an Autobahn, we instead took to I-540. When we were going up the two-lane entry ramp, the car in front of us wasn’t going fast enough, so James, as soon as he thought about it, passed them. After some skillful weaving through traffic, he brought us to the Buffaloe Road exit and asked us if we would like to drive. We’re not sure if we properly vocalized an affirmative response, but he let us take the wheel regardless.
The steering wheel is ergonomically designed to fit your hands. Ours was a tightly spun circle, wrapped in leather and carbon fiber. The bucket seat put us in a racing posture, and our thumbs notched perfectly over the crossbar. Once we were strapped in, it was time to return.
You have to keep a tight grip on the reins because the GranTurismo doesn’t want to go 70. It wants to go 100, 120, 150. We barely curled our toes against the accelerator and we were passing every other car on the highway. 454 horses are a lot to handle, but we were never afraid. In Sport mode, the steering is super precise, and we just couldn’t get enough of that roar. It’s intoxicating the way it permeates everything, leaving you almost light-headed.
Too quickly we were back on Capital, and this time we noticed all the staring. Every time we stopped at a light, there were people in cars around us looking with slack jaws. One person even rolled down their window to ask a question, and James would have responded if the light hadn’t turned green. By then they were already too far behind.
“They’re afraid,” he said afterward. “They’ve never seen or heard anything like this.” It’s true that you won’t see many Maseratis on the road, but the difference is what makes them alluring. You don’t have to be a car fanatic to appreciate the craftsmanship, or the beauty, or the sound of a Maserati. You can take them all in and know. You’ll know that these cars are different. You’ll know that you want to be different.
The 2014 Maserati GT Sport was a privilege to drive. Every inch of it beckons to be experienced, and if through reading this you’ve heard the siren song of its engine, there’s no reason you can’t test-drive one today. Likewise, it was a privilege to once again ride along with James Simpson. If you need help understanding the passion and preeminence of the Maserati brand, James is your man.