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Australia’s fastest ever Maser looms

Imminent arrival: The blistering GranTurismo MC Stradale is the fastest, lightest and most powerful road car in the Maserati line-up - and it will be here soon.

MC Stradale to top Maserati range at $364,900 from June as next Quattroporte looms

3 May 2011

THE quickest, fastest, lightest and most powerful Maserati road car will also be the most expensive, following confirmation that limited numbers of the GranTurismo MC Stradale will arrive in Australia from June with a pricetag of $364,900 plus on-road costs.

Despite the $46,400 premium over the GranTurismo S coupe upon which it is based, making the Stradale almost $27,000 pricier than Maserati’s $338,000 GranCabrio flagship, about half the 18 examples allocated for Australia and New Zealand have already been sold.

The news comes as Maserati prepares to reveal a successor for its super-successful Quattroporte sedan later this year (before it arrives here in early 2012) and develops its first luxury SUV, based on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee platform from the Fiat group’s US ally Chrysler.

To remain competitive with fresh rivals like the new Mercedes-Benz CLS, Aston Martin’s Rapide and Porsche’s Panamera, Maserati has targeted 15 per cent weight and 25 per cent fuel consumption reductions for its sixth-generation four-door flagship, which is expected to bring turbocharged V6, idle-stop, ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive technologies.

As part of its drive for 20,000 annual global sales – well up on its record of almost 8600 in 2008 – Maserati is also working on a smaller sub-$100,000 sedan, codenamed M157, to take on premium versions of large German sedans like the BMW 5 Series.

32 center imageWhile the next Quattroporte will continue to be built alongside the GranTurismo/Cabrio in Modena, Maserati’s all-new E-segment sedan will be produced at the now-idle Officine Automobilistiche Grugliasco (formerly Carrozzeria Bertone) plant in Turin from December 2012.

As GoAuto reported when the MC Stradale was revealed prior to its world debut at last September’s Paris motor show, the raciest GranTurismo derivative is the first production Maserati to break the 300km/h mark.

The racetrack-ready two-seater is propelled by a more powerful 331kW/510Nm version of the 323kW/490kW 4.7-litre Ferrari-built V8 that powers both the GranTurismo S and GranCabrio.

The same engine, which delivers 80 per cent of peak torque from 2500rpm and features diamond-like internal coating to cut friction, will power the new GranCabrio Sport, which debuted at Geneva in March and will arrive Down under early next year.

At 1670kg dry, the MC Stradale is a whole 110kg lighter than the GranTurismo S but retains its 48/52 per cent front/rear weight distribution.

Weight-saving measures include the fitment of Alcantara and leather-trimmed carbon-fibre front seats (saving 26kg), 5kg-lighter flow-formed 20-inch alloy wheel, “wiring optimisation” saving 2kg, a 6kg-lighter exhaust system, 18kg-lighter carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes, 12kg less body sealing and the removal of the rear seats, saving 16kg.

That not only reduces the Stradale’s claimed 0-100km/h acceleration figure from 4.9 to 4.6 seconds and gives it an official top speed of 301km/h – making it the quickest and fastest Maserati production car – but makes it 13 per cent more fuel-efficient than the GranTurismo S, at 14.4L/100km.

More advanced electronics are said to slash the shift times of the GranTurismo’s MC Shift electro-actuated transaxle gearbox to 140 milliseconds in Auto mode and 100ms in Sport mode, while the MC Stradale’s new ‘Race’ mode cuts shift times to just 60ms from within a simplified dash layout.

While the MC makes more power without using more fuel, it is also claimed to produce more down-force without increasing drag. At 200km/h, there is 25 per cent more front down-force and 50 per cent more rear down-force, but no change to the aerodynamic drag coefficient.

Muscular new design elements include a more aggressive front-end comprising an aerodynamic splitter and carbon-look lower wing that extends up either side of the deeply recessed Trident grille, air-intakes for the bonnet, new front guards with vertical trailing-edge air-vents, new side skirts, an integrated boot spoiler and a revised rear bumper with splitter and repositioned exhaust outlets.

Dynamically, the MC Stradale receives a lower ride height (10mm front, 12mm rear), 5mm-larger (25mm) front anti-roll bar and eight per cent stiffer springs all round, while new Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres are fitted, increasing from 245/35 to 255/35 up front and from 285/35 to 295/35 at the rear.

The first Maserati production car to feature carbon-ceramic brakes comes with 380 x 34mm front discs with six-piston callipers and 360 x 32mm rear rotors with four-piston callipers – plus a new brake cooling system and heat extraction vents – reducing stopping distances from 100km/h by six per cent to 33 metres.

“The Maserati MC Stradale meets demands which, for any other car-maker, would appear to be in direct conflict,” said the general manager for Maserati in Australia and NZ, Glen Sealey.

“On one hand it is, as the name suggests, a road-going version of the Maserati Trofeo and GT4 racing cars with the heightened performance, sharpened reflexes and heightened visual presence that this requires.

“Yet, at the same time, it offers exemplary road comfort, refinement and even lower fuel consumption. The Maserati MC Stradale is equally at home on the racetrack, with its owner in a full race suit, as it is taking its owner to the opera in an evening jacket.”

Mr Sealey said the MC Stradale is the result of customer demand for a more track-oriented version of its flagship GranTurismo road car, but did not compromise on-road comfort.

“In the area of the market in which the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale will be sold there are cars that are out-and-out track-day cars, rendering them uncomfortable on our roads that sit alongside grand touring cars that offer strong road performance but with dynamics that cannot meet the needs of the race track.

“The Maserati MC Stradale, drawing on Maserati’s racetrack expertise and long history of exemplary high performance road cars, brings together these two previously conflicting requirements to produce a unique performance car, one that can hold its head high equally on the race track as the high street – and every type of road in between.”

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