RE: Maserati Gransport: Spotted

RE: Maserati Gransport: Spotted

Wednesday 26th June

Maserati Gransport | Spotted

There are still Gransports available for £20,000 - best get a move on



Can it really be almost 15 years since Maserati introduced the Gransport to the world? What a fascinating decade and a half it's been. Nowadays the big news focuses on the Levante and other future SUV projects, what with the GranTurismo in dire need of replacement and both the saloons off the pace. Back then, however, the Quattroporte had just been remade from the ground up and was beginning a renaissance of the big Maserati four-door. The Gransport confidently capitalised on that. While dramatic, fast and luxurious, the 3200GT (and 4200 that replaced it) had never quite delivered as driver's car since its 1998 launch - the Gransport did.

It followed that time-honoured tradition of so many great sports cars: liberate a little more power and noise from a fantastic engine, lash down the chassis more convincingly for people who actually like driving, make it look meaner, garnish with Alcantara and charge a bit more money. Limit the production if you're feeling especially bold. And watch the buyers come charging in.


The Gransport's genius was that such significant improvements were wrought from seemingly quite modest tweaks. This was not an overhaul in the mould of a Challenge Stradale; instead the Gransport was given an extra 10hp, new calibration for the CambioCorsa gearbox, stiffer, lower suspension plus a new set of wheels and tyres. Weight reduction wasn't pursued, there wasn't a crazy bodykit and, if memory serves correctly, not a great deal of fuss was made by Maserati. Silly sods.

At the end of 2004, evo said Maserati "had hit the bullseye" with the Gransport, a car with "the sort of responsive, feelsome steering and dynamic composure we always wished the Coupe had". Car and Driver said it was "the best yet of this generation of Maseratis", and Motor Trend reckoned the GS "cranks up the Coupe's intensity noticeably."

Consider it, then, like the GTS versions of Porsche 911s; not a thoroughbred race version, but the best of the road-focussed breed, a philosophy that's was largely carried over into the MC Stradale GranTurismos as well. But while you'll pay a handsome premium for the Porsche, with the best Maserati Coupe it's modest: this one is £20,990, with 54,000 miles. A plain 4200 with 49,000 miles is just £3k cheaper - which seems little more for what is a vastly better car. Add into that the fact this car is in a great colour (though matching blue upholstery might be a bit much), has a full service history from Maserati dealers and specialist, a clutch seven thousand miles ago as well as recent tyres and it looks a very tempting proposition.


Moreover, it looks great? The Gransport aesthetic was actually created by Frank Stephenson, and it's a successful rework to this day. Where the 4200 never quite left the 3200's shadow for ditching the boomerang lights, the Gransport worked because it was that much more purposeful and aggressive, while also being more attractive. Look at a Jaguar XK of this era for some extra context of how well done the Maserati was...

At some point soon, surely, the Gransport will be remembered more fondly that is currently is. Maybe if Maserati gives up on sports cars - with the GranTurismo replacement indefinitely delayed because of the SUV rush, and the Ferrari engines going, it's not impossible - then the Gransport will receive a fair share of the limelight. For now it offers a valid, desirable, exciting alternative to the obvious sports car choice at this money, one brimming with all the drama you'd hope for in a Maserati - and a useful chunk of ability as well. For £20k, that makes it sound like a bit of a bargain.


SPECIFICATION - MASERATI GRANSPORT
Engine: 4,244cc, V8
Transmission: 6-speed CambioCorsa automated manual
Power (hp): 400@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 334@4,500rpm
MPG: 16.1
CO2: 430g/km
First registered: 2004
Recorded mileage: 54,000
Price new: £66,900
Yours for: £20,990

See the original advert here

Inspired? Search for a Maserati Gransport here

Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

969 posts

161 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
These have aged surprisingly gracefully - this one's a particularly nice example, I even like the light blue bits in the interior!

F355GTS

3,457 posts

198 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
I loved mine, seriously quick car that had more power than claimed, the only bad thing was the ride was seriously hard in sport mode which was needed for throttle response and faster changes

BlueEyedBoy

1,770 posts

139 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
Test drove one before settling on a z4m. Interior felt cheap, even after owing a TVR. Acceleration nothing to write home about and I got 11 mpg on the test drive. Sounded amazing and beautiful car though, just not worth it in my opinion.

PeterGadsby

1,059 posts

106 months

Wednesday 26th June
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I had an MC Victory #129 absolutely loved it, but my wife hated driving it so it had to go :-( It's now in Australia.

Fantastic cars, some foibles such as dash lights coming on, but the noise is amazing.

- Pete

Mike335i

2,412 posts

45 months

Wednesday 26th June
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I'm really interested in a manual 4200gt as the gearbox on these just don't seem durable or responsive enough for me, from what I have heard. It seems at this age, the manual might be a better bet but not exactly an amazing box either.

If the tweaks are so limited in scope, surely they can be retrofitted / recreated with aftermarket parts?
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cerb4.5lee

11,898 posts

123 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
A manual version of these really appeals to me and its a lovely looking thing to my eyes.

Mike 83

24 posts

3 months

Wednesday 26th June
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Every week for the past few years this is one of 4 cars I look at in the classifieds I think there really stunning I really should buy one.

Funkstar De Luxe

381 posts

126 months

Wednesday 26th June
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I love these things, and I can just about squeeze one into my budget. However, after owning a lot of Italian cars, I was tired of worrying about them. I could never enjoy driving them or giving them a good thrashing because they are 98% chocolate.

The Maserati really epitomizes that for me. It would sit in the garage, I'd take it out a spin and worry that every sound was indicative of terminal failure. I would hope that something as 'premium' as a Maserati would be better built than most, but my gut really doubts it.

This looks like a fine example though - wonderful colour.

edit - just see the 'new list price' of £66,900. Feels like a bit of a bargain that does

Edited by Funkstar De Luxe on Wednesday 26th June 08:19

burpface

46 posts

98 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
A manual version of these really appeals to me and its a lovely looking thing to my eyes.
I am biased, but I agree. A 2004 or later (so has the revised suspension geometry) 4200 with a manual gearbox- perfect. You get a Ferrari derived NA V8 that is so characterfull coupled with manual box. (so I bought one!!) Not regretted it for a moment in 2.5 years and 13000 miles !

cerb4.5lee

11,898 posts

123 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
burpface said:
cerb4.5lee said:
A manual version of these really appeals to me and its a lovely looking thing to my eyes.
I am biased, but I agree. A 2004 or later (so has the revised suspension geometry) 4200 with a manual gearbox- perfect. You get a Ferrari derived NA V8 that is so characterfull coupled with manual box. (so I bought one!!) Not regretted it for a moment in 2.5 years and 13000 miles !
A great choice for me! Enjoy it. drivingthumbup

big_rob_sydney

2,350 posts

137 months

Wednesday 26th June
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What are these like for reliability? Cost of ownership (consumables, etc)?

Pereldh

147 posts

55 months

Wednesday 26th June
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Giugiaro has quite a few lemons on his consience and this is clearly one of them.
The ungainly proportions we saw at the premiere just hasn't gone away. The boomerang rearlamps was the nice touch that they had to dismiss (due to the US market).

ZX10R NIN

14,544 posts

68 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
I have a soft spot for these they drive well & feel special my friend still has his & it was this that inspired me to buy mt GT Sportline which I still miss, but I jump in his it still feels special, he does around 10k a year & his running cost have averaged out to £1400 per annum over the last 11 years.


lewisf182

1,795 posts

131 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
Just love how these things look, stunning.
Have wanted one since I had it on my desktop screensaver as a teen.
Now iv sold my car I should really look at getting one for a weekend driver, what a steal at £21k

Guvernator

10,299 posts

108 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
Lovely looking thing, especially in that colour but I agree it would have to be a late manual rather than the Gransport which only came with the auto box IIRC. I don't like those boxes at the best of times, let alone the earlier iterations which were even more rubbish.

I suspect the potential bork factor is pretty high on these though, I seem to recall something about actuators in the engine being an issue an clutches being rather expensive to replace as it's an engine out job. In fact I'm surprised this wasn't featured as this weeks brave pill.

Biggles111

402 posts

206 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
Lovely car that does so many things well; mine (photo below) hit 174 at vmax and then did the school run the next day. No major issues in my ownership. Expensive brakes if you go OEM, and clutch wear needs checking but arguably less financial risk in these then a 911 at a similar price point - engine is basically robust.

I sold mine (was actually quite hard to find a buyer for due to the small market) and bought a cheap 964 for £11k. 964 values have rocketed, whereas these remain largely unrecognised - at today's prices the GS is probably the smarter buy if you are after a car to drive rather than long term capital appreciation....


BRR

1,556 posts

115 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
I had one for 5 years and absolutely loved it, I removed the secondary cats and replaced the central resonator with an X-pipe (I still have the original bits from the car in my garage if anyone is interested in buying them) and it sounded amazing.

it averaged about 15 mpg, easily into single figures if being pushed and the best I ever achieved was about 25

The performance was decent, about the same as a 997 C2s or a later 4.7 Granturismo S, i never felt like I needed more on the road

The cambiocorsa (flappy paddles, single clutch) gearbox was alright in sport mode and utterly useless when in normal or auto. the problem being that putting it in sport also made the suspension rock hard, ideally you'd want the normal suspension but with the exhaust and gearbox in sport, I'm sure someone could map this in

cost me on average about £2k per year to run and considering I only lost £2k between buying and selling it a total of £12k (excl fuel, tax & insurance) to run a Maserati for 5 years seems a bit of a bargain

Edited by BRR on Wednesday 26th June 11:55

burpface

46 posts

98 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
big_rob_sydney said:
What are these like for reliability? Cost of ownership (consumables, etc)?
In my experience nothing like the internet rumour mill suggests.
Some consumables eg discs and pads are expensive if you go OEM (Ferrari parts) but there are alternatives for most.

There are some absolute dog st examples out there tho, when I was shopping for mine it became very obvious - cars fell either into the category that had been owned and loved and looked after, and ones that hadn't. The former cars drove and felt great and where in good condition but the latter where very very poor, drove badly and felt fragile. I think some unsuspecting owners get caught buying at the bottom end of the market and have subsequent poor and expensive ownerships. I think it is this that can lead to some of the internet rumours associated with running costs (that and previous generation maseratis from before Ferrari's stewardship)

I suppose the same could be said of 997s and 996s, M3s etc. But the difference between good and bad felt very pronounced on these cars

MAF260

29 posts

92 months

Wednesday 26th June
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My very rare (1 of 3) Giallo Granturismo GranSport is going to be for sale soon. Very well-known car with excellent provenance, magazine featured etc.


Gransport

18 posts

65 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
21k miles on my GS over five years - still love it to bits and can't think of anything this side of £50k I'd trade it for.

The negatives aren't trivial: it drinks a lot. Spares are expensive and as per earlier posts, the suspension is rubbish - too hard on the road, too soft on the track. Hit a sizeable bump and it feels like a grenade has gone off under the car. If you're surrounded by crumbly tarmac where you live, you will hate it. Build quality is flaky and all that lovely leather squeaks. The bits that don't squeak tend to rattle. None of this should simply be dismissed under the heading 'character' - these things can really test your patience.

Unless you're commuting in stop start traffic, the flappy paddle gearbox isn't the issue people sometimes make it out to be. In fact...I quite like it. There is a knack to getting the best from it which is very satisfying.

The upsides, however, are many.

The excitement of driving it doesn't fade. It never feels ordinary, which a 911 driven sedately all too easily can do. Design-wise I think it is ageing really well too. In all leather the interior also looks and feels great and is a lovely place to be. The control weights are light compared to Germans and take some getting used to - one reason, perhaps, why people think they are more fragile than they are (mine has been bullet-proof). The steering is a joy and the engine fantastic - so much so that I have barely used the hi-fi.

It feels like a compact two seater when you're alone, but you can fit proper sized humans in the back - for reasonable distances too. Compared to modern 400bhp+ cars, it feels narrow and easy to place. It is epically good fun down a tight twisty road and superb on smooth A roads and motorways. I just did 850 miles to Spa for the classic race and it was a joy - keeping my friends R8 and 911 honest and - in their words - feeling much more special too. It also gets a pleasant reaction from people, car nerds and civilians alike. Being rare helps, I'm sure.

As an everyday car....its not so good. But that's why god gave us Audis and other things with dual clutches and digital radios. But as a weekend and special drives car that can do sensible if you need to - definitely. As a classic to cherish and savour - I think GSs are a pretty special proposition.