The new Maserati convertible: the GranCabrio
It's rare to find a car that's so completely dedicated to winning over the heart at the expense of the head. The original GranTurismo was a capable and covetable grand tourer, albeit one that thought it was somewhat more attractive than it actually was. Don't get us wrong, the Pininfarina-penned GT is spectacular, but somewhere along the line the subtle intersection of line and curve got a little out of hand, creating a car that's had rather too many - and entirely unnecessary - stints under the surgeon's knife. Well proportioned, yes, but perhaps a little too nipped, tucked, scraped and sculpted.
Aesthetic gripes aside, the GT is classic Maserati - now very much a major player in the luxury sports marketplace - in that it is ostentatious but not totally OTT, sporting but not screamingly swift and eccentric but not unpleasantly so. The GranCabrio represents the next natural step, a convertible that keeps the coupe's four seats and swaps steel for a folding fabric roof.
The new body style is paired with the larger 4.7 litre V8 from the coupé, all the better to cope with the extra weight of the hood mechanism. Oft cited as one of the most thunderous yet melodic engines on the market, the droptop gives you even more chance to savour the noise.
Whereas the larger V8 results in the most sporting and dynamic version of the coupé, the GranCabrio has a slightly more loping, laid-back character. That's no bad thing at all - a comfortable car with plenty of power and no tendency to grate on long journeys is fine by us. But its GT credentials are massively hampered by the small slot of a luggage compartment: this is certainly not a machine for a weekend trip with all four seats filled. If you are on a long-haul journey, the relatively spacious backseats will have to double up as luggage space, unless you want to get into the potentially ruinous habit of FedEx-ing your bags ahead.
But throw in the emotional resonance of voluptuous Italian styling - and we realise we're a small minority in not finding this car's styling to be beyond criticism - a sonorous engine note and the undeniable romance of the Tridente on the gaping maw of a front grill, and most owners will find it simple to justify this particular purchase.