Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale: V8s are great!

The Maserati is arguably the most exotic car here, and it's certainly the one that we're least familiar with. There's that Ferrari heritage to the V8 - although with a crossplane crank still, rather than the flat plane used in the Ferraris - plus the only automated manual.

Now THIS is a V8
Now THIS is a V8
It offers a character distinct from all the other cars here, which you could probably identify from the spec sheet: it has cylinder bore of 94mm but a stroke of just 84.5mm, giving those pistons a relatively short distance to move. On the road the Maserati feels like an extremely racy powertrain compared to the other V8s; it thrives on revs, demanding a lot from the driver but rewarding them immensely too. In a turbo dominated world it's an unfamiliar yet very pleasant sensation, the need to have a car up beyond 5,000rpm for its best. From there until 7,500rpm it's fabulous however, a feral race car shriek taking hold and the speed building and building to the limiter. With a lift the upshifts via those big carbon paddles are quick enough too, the driver left craving another fix of this V8 ecstasy.

It's appropriately fast too, if that's not a ludicrous phrase for a 460hp car. Without a trough of turbo torque from idle, you only find yourself at speed at the Maserati because you've worked for it; it hasn't crept up on you through a flurry of gearchanges and a lightly depressed throttle. The MC Stradale is fast, certainly, but not terrifyingly so.

Moreover, such accurate and faithful responses from the throttle put you at ease with the chassis too. Because it's not going to be unsettled by a sudden spike of 450lb ft, you feel more confident. The Stradale is a big car, no doubt, but it feels extremely well balanced; and again, it will only begin to move if you're driving quicker. The torque delivery, power delivery and chassis balance feel entirely natural, traditional but in a relevant and refreshing way. What a lovely, lovely car.

 4,691cc V8
Transmission: 6-speed automated manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 460@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 383@4,750rpm
0-62mph: 4.5sec
Top speed: 189mph
Weight: 1,700kg (dry), 1,800kg (kerb)
MPG: 19.6mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 337g/km
Price: £110,110

Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Maserati MC Stradale
Lexus RC F
Ford Mustang GT
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

[Huge thanks to HR Owen for helping us out and loaning PH the MC Stradale you see here. It's currently for sale at the St Albans dealership]