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Paris show: Maserati takes GranTurismo to new extreme

Track-focussed: Maserati says its wild new MC Stradale is its direct response to demand for a more hard-core GranTurismo.

MC Stradale emerges as Maserati’s wild new racetrack-ready GranTurismo

Maserati logo20 Sep 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

TEN days before it makes its world debut at next week’ Paris motor show, Maserati has uncovered what will become the quickest, lightest and most powerful - and probably also the most expensive – model in its range.

Due for European release early next year before going on sale in Australia in the third quarter of 2011, the racetrack-ready GranTurismo MC Stradale will be more expensive - and therefore more exclusive - than the $318,500 GranTurismo S coupe upon which it is based.

With an estimated expected price of well over $350,000, the two-seater Stradale should also top the closely related GranCabrio convertible ($338,000) as the highest-priced model in Maserati’s range.

Befitting its station at the top of the Maserati tree, the harder-core MC Stradale will offer a more powerful 336kW (450hp) version of the 323kW/490kg 4.7-litre Ferrari-derived V8 that powers both the GranTurismo S and GranCabrio.

Although few other details have so far been revealed, the track-ready GranTurismo will also be lighter than the 1880kg GranTurismo - let alone the 100kg heavier GranCabrio - eliminating any fuel consumption increase over the heavier GT S.

Unlike other two-door Maseratis, the Italian sportscar brand says the MC Stradale will offer a 300km/h-plus top speed, while delivering “razor-sharp handling” and balancing “on-road driving needs with race-driving desires”.

No acceleration figures have been quoted, but the MC is likely to reduce the S’s standing-start 0-100km/h time from 4.9 to about 4.5 seconds, easily making it the quickest and fastest Maserati production car.

32 center imageThe MC Stradale is also likely to employ the GranTurismo’s ‘MC Shift’ automated manual gearbox, rather than the conventional six-speed automatic transmission from the GranCabrio, which was launched here in July and will be the star of Maserati’s stand at the Sydney motor show on October 15.

According to Maserati, the MC Stradale achieves the seemingly impossible by producing more aerodynamic downforce without producing more aerodynamic drag, allegedly making it “more agile without sacrificing the GranTurismo S’s highly praised ride quality”.

Maserati says the MC Stradale is the direct result of customer demand for a more track-oriented version of its flagship GranTurismo road car.

Said to incorporate handling and aerodynamic lessons learned from Maserati’s three racing programs, it was allegedly inspired by motorsport versions of the GranTurismo, the Trofeo GranTurismo MC and the race-winning GranTurismo GT4.

Muscular new design elements obvious from the three exterior images supplied include a more aggressive front-end comprising a carbon-look lower wing that extends up either side of the deeply recessed Trident grille, lighter alloy wheels and deeper rear bumper with Ferrari 430 Scuderia-style twin central exhaust outlets within a racy black diffuser.

The next all-new Maserati model will appear in 2011 in the shape of the sixth-generation Quattroporte sedan, which as we’ve reported is expected to square off with a host of fresh rivals - including this year’s new Mercedes-Benz CLS, the Aston martin Rapide and Porsche’s Panamera - with all-wheel drive, turbocharged V6 and idle-stop technologies.

Maserati has said it hopes to combine these with an eight-speed ZF automatic and a 15 per cent weight reduction to reduce average fuel consumption by 25 per cent for its next four-door flagship, which won’t arrive Down Under until early 2012.

While the new Quattroporte will ride on a new platform produced under the Fiat-Chrysler alliance, further afield Maserati is planning a smaller, cheaper four-seat coupe or sedan that will become its volume-selling model.

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