Maserati GranTurismo: A Centennial Special Edition

Maserati celebrates a hundred years of making sonorous and stylish sports cars by unleashing a very special version of its GranTurismo MC.

By Ghaith Madadha

The MC Centennial, a victory lap for Maserati’s seductively visceral and indulgently luxurious GranTurismo model line, marks the exotic Italian brand’s 100th anniversary. The MC, which is a special edition version of the most powerful 454 BHP GranTurismo MC Stradale, retains the same track-focused fixed-rate suspension and single-clutch robotized transaxle gearbox in its likely last outing. Also debuting in 2014 was the GranTurismo’s smaller sports car successor, the Alfieri concept, which was named after the brand’s founder. With the 2016 Alfieri expected to feature efficiently powerful twin-turbocharged engines, the MC Centennial is a welcome swan song encore for Maserati’s sonorously charismatic, but soon-to-be-retired, 4.7-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine.

Glamorous, dramatic, and exotic, the GranTurismo’s curves and proportions are seductively stylish. With a low, hungry, shark-like grille with concave vertical slats, evocative trident badge, and sharp air splitter, the moody GranTurismo’s long bonnet rises dramatically and features an intake and two extraction vents. Penned by Pininfarina, the GranTurismo’s slinky silhouette and voluptuous Coke-bottle hips are no less alluring as when introduced in 2008. Lighter by 80 kg in MC guise, owing to carbon-fiber components, the Centennial edition additionally features three-layer Rosso Magma red paint with subtle undertones of blue and purple, and two-tone split five-spoke alloy wheels with three-pronged Trident edges and Centennial hub centers.

The MC’s swooping heavily scalloped bonnet houses its engine deep behind the front axle, and with a rear axle-mounted gearbox, features a low center of gravity, and 52 percent rear biased within-wheelbase weight distribution. Ferrari-derived, the MC Centennial’s 4.7 liter V8 offers clarity and charisma, with precise responsive throttle control allowing one to dial in exact and linear power increments to fluently power out of corners without unsticking the rear tires.

Developing 454 BHP at 7000 rpm and 384 lb/ft at 4750 rpm, the MC’s crackling and howling engine rips through revs with indefatigable intensity. It delivers tractably meaningful low-end pull, muscular mid-range flexibility, and an intense punchy top-end.

Sprinting through the 0-100 km/h benchmark in 4.5 seconds, the MC Centennial is in its element when wrung hard and can potentially attain 303 km/h. Changing tone and nuance with the slightest throttle input, its high-revving, highly-responsive V8 provides clarity, connection, and confidence. Its war song includes a repertoire of staccato crackles, resonant mid-range warbles, and seductive snarls that harden to an intense wail as the needle nears the 7200 rpm rev limit. Meanwhile, standard carbon-ceramic brakes are highly effective and fade-resistant under heavy use.

Riding on lowered firmer fixed rate rather than other GranTurismo’s adaptive skyhook suspension, the MC delivers tautly poised body control, superb high speed stability, and buttoned-down rebound control. Its suspension complements its intuitively direct steering and provides eager and agile turn-in. Well-weighted when loaded through corners, the MC’s steering is intuitive and its handling balanced, neutral, and progressive.

The GranTurismo, a stable, refined, and luxurious high speed continent crunching sports coupe, comfortably seats four adults in its classy cabin. Sat in an attentively ergonomic position with good visibility and clear instrumentation, the GranTurismo seemingly shrinks around the driver and feels lighter than its 1,800 kg. With large fixed metal steering column-mounted paddle shifters, ‘manual’ mode gear shifts are executed with resolute rifle-like concision at full-load, while feathering the throttle smoothes out low rev shifts.

The well-equipped Centennial, which is beautifully appointed with sophisticated Poltrona Frau black leather upholstery, features supportive carbon-fiber spine back sports seats, climate control, satnav and USB/Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system.

Engine: 4.7 liter, 32 valve, V8 cylinders
Gearbox: 6-speed rear-mounted robotized manual
Torque lb/ft (Nm): 384 (520) @4750 rpm
Redline: 7200 rpm
0-100 km/h: 4.5 seconds
Top speed: 303 km/h
Fuel consumption: 14.4l/100 km
Length: 4933 mm
Width: 1903 mm
Height: 1343 mm
Weight: 1800 kg
Suspension: Double wishbones, anti-roll bars
Brakes, F/R: Ventilated carbon-ceramic, 380mm/360mm
Tires, F/R: 255/35ZR20 / 295/35ZR20