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Maserati’s Coupe d’etat

No more 3200 GT: The Maserati Coupe GT has been re-engineered and renamed for 2003.

High-tech new models give Maserati a new lease on supercar life

23 Jul 2003

MASERATI is back on the supercar map. A boutique nameplate with two ageing models just five years ago, Maserati has quadrupled its sales volumes from a virtual trickle to 40 cars in the first six months of this year.

The first-half result for 2003 breaks all previous Maserati records Down Under and makes Australia one of the world’s leading markets for the Ferrari-owned brand.

Instrumental in Maserati’s resurgence is the Coupe GT, first released here as the 3200 GT in March, 1999, before being renamed and re-engineered in January, 2003.

From this year, the extensively redesigned coupe has been available here with a wild new Ferrari-sourced 4.2-litre V8 to replace the 3200 GT’s turbocharged 3.2-litre V8.

To go with it, there’s a new drivetrain featuring a racing-style rear transaxle and optional paddle-shifting sequential manual transmission dubbed Cambiocorsa – just like that found on the $370,000 Ferrari 360 Modena.

While the significant new drivetrain formed just part of a coupe facelift in January this year (from when the renamed Coupe GT also featured a new interior and different tail-lights to comply with US design laws), Maserati’s other new model – the Spyder GT – was actually the first Maser to receive the new powertrain when it was launched here in November, 2001.

Both the coupe and convertible models have since formed the backbone of Maserati’s new model line-up but now, following the release of the 2003 model year Coupe GT and Spyder GT in May this year, Maserati’s sleek two-door duo has been further improved.

All MY2003 Maseratis feature as standard equipment an advanced stability control system known as Maserati Stability Program. Developed in conjunction with Bosch, MSP integrates ABS, ASR, MSR and EBD functions to deliver greater levels of road holding.

The optional Cambiocorsa self-shifting manual gearbox has also been improved via a new generation of software that’s said to offer both more performance and comfort, while the optional Skyhook active suspension system – which links the dampers, springs and torque bar – has also been recalibrated.

Both models now feature less than subtle “V8” badges on their front quarters, most of which are being removed at the request of customers.

At $208,500 for the six-speed manual Coupe GT and $218,000 for the six-speed manual Spyder GT (plus $12,000 for the F1-style Cambiocorsa transmission), both models are now an obvious choice as either a Porsche 911 alternative or a cut-price Ferrari.

Either way, both GTs will continue to play an important role in Maserati’s Australian future, which will play host to a third new model when the four-door Quattroporte flagship makes its debut here just weeks after the sedan’s world premiere at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

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