Models Covered: 2dr Convertible (4.7 V8 petrol)


Buyers of top luxury convertible sports cars who find Ferraris and Lamborghinis too extrovert, Aston Martins and Jaguars too stuffy and offerings from BMW and Mercedes-Benz too clinical have an alternative sold in the 21st century’s second decade that blends beauty with performance and class. This GranCabrio was a fine demonstration of where Maserati aimed to go in the modern era and makes a better job than almost any other rival from its period of combining four-seat cabin space with sports car handling. Add gorgeous looks and an illustrious brand heritage and it’s a tempting proposition.

The History

So the time has come to reward yourself with a really desirable exotic sports car, something with an open-top, a classic badge and an engine to die for. We’re talking a step above the German premium brands here. After all, you can feel proud to have a cabriolet Mercedes or Audi in the driveway but your choice won’t stop the traffic. Here’s a car that will. Maserati’s GranCabrio, sold between 2010 and 2019. It’s a rather unique choice too. In the luxury convertible class, hardly any of the options on offer have proper rear seat space for four and those that do, Bentleys and BMWs, are anything but cutting edge sports cars. This Italian, in contrast, claims to offer everything. A Ferrari engine note, sharp driving manners and room in the rear to share the experience with a couple of fortunate friends. What could be better?

Before this GranCabrio arrived in 2010, the open-topped version of Maserati’s GranTurismo coupe, the company’s Viale Ciro Menotti factory had never before produced a four-seater convertible, despite a long history of open-topped sportscars stretching all the way back to the A6G Frua Spyder of 1950. Today, the brand sees that extra passenger carrying capacity as essential, one of the things that differentiates its sportscars from those of Ferrari, Jaguar and Aston Martin.

The car was launched in 2010 in standard 440PS 4.7-litre V8 form, with the faster 450PS Sport model introduced a year later. A race-tuned MC version was launched in 2013, featuring the 4.7-litre engine in 460PS form. There was a subtle facelift in 2017, then the GranCabrio range sold until 2019, when it was replaced by a convertible version of the MC12.

What You Get

In accommodating that enormous V8 engine and those adult-usable rear pews, this was inevitably always going to be a very long car, at nearly 5 metres lengthier even than Bentley’s huge Continental GTC. And while the pretty shape didn’t disguise these proportions, it did present them very favourably. In this, Pininfarina was helped by the decision, part-way through the development process, to ditch plans for a Mercedes SL-style metal-folding roof that would have delivered a cramped, heavier and much uglier result.

So we got instead a triple-layered canvas top that takes a leisurely 28s to lower but can at least be operated at speeds of up to 19mph either by a switch in the cabin or, if you so desire, by a button on the key fob. In trying the retain the torsional rigidity to enable sporty handling, the designers had to incorporate a torsion wall in the boot, with disastrous spacial consequences, luggage room falling from the 260-litres you get in the GranTurismo coupe to just 173-litres. You can’t fold down the rear seat backs to increase it either.

What To Look For

Obviously, a GranCabrio is going to be pricier to run than a German rival, but there aren’t as many issues as you might think, according at least to our ownership survey. Maintenance is ex[pensive though, especially at franchised dealers, so look over the car in question very, very carefully, particularly of course if it’s of an older, higher mileage vintage. The Ferrari-built engines and drivetrains are pretty solid and most of the issues we came across were relatively minor. One owner of a 2013 model had to have one of the front parking sensors replaced and had to replace a suspension sensor. In that particular case, the exhaust valve vacuum stayed on, keeping the valves shut in the normal drive mode (the owner pulled out the vacuum hose to leave it in sports mode).

Other problems we came across with owners included a cracked water coolant tank, a transmission leak, a variator issue, a whining differential and some ABS issues (drums were getting stuck/seized). Otherwise, it’s just the usual things; check the alloys for scratches, make sure that there’s no loose trim and insist on a full service history.

On The Road

A drive in a Maserati is an event. If you’ve petrol running through your veins, just clasping the key fob makes the heart beat a little faster as you ready yourself in the low-set seat and peer at those evocative dials through the thickly-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel. Even if you’re impervious to all of this, you won’t be after firing the 4.7-litre V8 engine, a glorious burbly roar that sounds like nothing else.

This is a rather large car – and feels it on narrower country roads. You certainly can’t chuck this thing around like you would an Aston Vantage Roadster or a Porsche 911 Cabrio, but then, if you are using the rear seats, you probably won’t want to be doing that anyway. And if you do want to do that, you’ll be pleased to find that Maserati’s Skyhook adaptive damping system was fitted as standard.

Your GranCabrio will sprint from rest to 62mph in just 5.4s – that’s in the standard 440PS base version. There’s also a ‘Sport’ model with a further 10PS, stiffer springs and anti-roll bars and a more focused version of the Skyhook damping system. This version isn’t much faster but it’s a great deal sharper and sounds even better. Even more hard core is the rare 460PS MC version.


In the end, there are, it’s true, faster and more exclusive ways of rewarding yourself for a lifetime’s toil than this if you’re looking for premium, powerful and large luxury sports cabriolet models made between 2010 and 2019. But few of the other open-topped luxury sports cars you could choose from this time are as practical and all cost a lot more. So while buying a GranCabrio will always be a Grand gesture, it’s also one you could justify to yourself. Not that you should have to. To its owner, this car will be beauty and the best. Which’ll be all that matters.