First Drive: 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale (European Spec)

At the recent 2011 New York Auto Show, Maserati launched the hard-edged MASERATI GRANTURISMO MC Stradale for America. At first glance, it looked just like the car the Italian automaker launched in the rest of the world a couple months back.

But upon further inspection, the U.S.-spec MC doesn't have the idiotic interior arrangements of the global MC Stradale. It doesn't have a rollcage that precludes use of the back seats - that is, if there were any back seats, because they, too, have been removed. It's also missing the daft four-point harnesses that take ages to fasten and prevent you from reaching out to pay tolls.

 Let's face it, these quasi-race items are pointless. MC might stand for Maserati Corse [Racing], but if you wanted a track-day car, you wouldn't start out with a 4000-pound machine on a 116-inch wheelbase. The MASERATI GRANTURISMO handles mighty fine for a four-seater. But on track days, you don't want any 'for a...' provisos. You want a fine-handling car, period. For circuit use you'd go for a natural-born two seater, not a bigger car that's lost its back chairs to a roll cage.

 Further inspection reveals the American MC also lacks a lot of the other features that make the global MC Stradale so darned wonderful. Sure, it has all the aerodynamic changes, but they really only enhance stability at U.S. road-irrelevant speeds. It has the newly revised 444-hp engine. But that's only a scant 10 hp up on the existing MASERATI GRANTURISMO S.

The U.S. model sadly has a six-speed front-mounted slush autobox, rather than the global MC Stradale's quick-shifting six-speed AMT rear transaxle, to the detriment of performance, weight, and weight distribution. Our MC also lacks their MC Stradale's carbon ceramic brakes. And it's a couple hundred pounds heavier.

OK, how and why is the global MC so great? What are we missing here?


First Drive: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
After receiving the invitation to drive the new 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL V-8 variants, we immediately began talking about the big coupes in terms of a comparison test. But we ran into a significant issue:...

read more

read comments 
First Test: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
We're in tough company: A couple of Bugatti Veyrons and a Lamborghini Reventon roadster jostle with a Ferrari 458 Italia and a 599 GTO. A Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG leads various Maserati Gran Turismos, a...

read more

read comments