In modern America, age seems to be respected in politics. We don't mind septuagenarians in positions of power, i.e. President Donald Trump (73 years old), Mitch McConnell (77), Bernie Sanders (77) and Nancy Pelosi (79 years old). But everywhere else, age is not respected; it's obliterated.
Catering to youth or the illusion of youth has consumed American life. It's why we dress in fitness gear or jeans rather than something nicer regardless of the occasion. It's why we listen to pop music we can barely tolerate. Like children, we constantly strive to be entertained every waking moment, whether waiting somewhere, commuting or relaxing at home. It's why we spent $16.5 billion on plastic surgery in 2018, a 4 percent increase from the prior year, according to American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
As we constantly search for the latest and greatest in everything, gimmickry is mistaken for modernism. We no longer have the emotional bandwidth to simply age gracefully and appreciate what we already have as the moment overtakes the millennia.
And it's why the 2019 Maserati GranTurismo MC (Maserati Corsa) convertible goes criminally overlooked. Playing the part of classicist rather well, it's captivatingly modern yet enthrallingly timeless – something too many of us no longer appreciate. This is a nice way of saying it's been around a while. The coupe version of this model arrived in 2008, the convertible two years later. Two years after that, the MC arrived with a lightweight exhaust and wheels, a firmer suspension and a revised version of its 4.7-liter V8.
But age has treated this old steed fairly well, for the Maserati GranTurismo MC convertible maintains its ability to make consumers weak in the knees. Maybe it's the classically curvaceous lines, accentuating its classic long hood, and short rear deck proportions, which look good with the top up or down. It's accentuated by visual jewelry that speaks to its heritage, such as the fender-mounted portholes and concave grille – the latter refreshed for 2018. OK, the GranTurismo MC does cede one bit of tackiness to modern design, having carbon-fiber trimmed door handles and trunk lid spoiler.
But climb inside, and you'll find a classic Italian grand tourer. The test car's attractively updated cabin is awash in deliciously sumptuous Poltrona Frau red leather that overcomes any doubts about the classic Italian driving position that places the pedals too close to the driver. Forget about it. Instead, check out the new infotainment system with its 8.4-inch touchscreen. It's very intuitive to operate. Added in 2018, it includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a new Harman Kardon premium audio system. The center console has also been revised, featuring a USB port inside the console bin. However, its shape renders it useless for holding any modern smartphone, and there's no provision for snaking a cord out of the bin with the lid shut.
Nevertheless, you'll notice the car's true age when you go to start it. It still uses a key; how charming. What happens when you turn it is another story. The Ferrari-built 4.7-liter V-8 comes alive, generating 454 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Thankfully, the gearbox can be shifted manually through two enormous fixed paddles behind the steering wheel.
And it's here where age trumps youth.
In an era where every performance car has a small turbocharged engine, it's easy to forget how effortlessly relaxed a large V-8 always feels. The GranTrusimo's V-8 releases a fluid surge power accentuated by a high-pitched wail and underpinned by a deep animalistic growl much like a race car. It serves notice to other motorists to move out of your way; an Italian thoroughbred is baring down upon them.
You'll want to drive with the automatic transmission in manual mode. Unlike many similar transmissions, this one is a true manual mode, staying in gear and not upshifting or downshifting on its own. Shifts are lightning quick, so much so you'll wonder if it isn't really a dual-clutch transmission. And six gears are more than enough to extract this engine's juice. The flip side is that with only six speeds and a heavy right foot, you'll be lucky to break 13 mpg. But some things in life are worth paying for.
Cornering behavior reveals the GranTurismo to be a grand touring car. The hydraulic power steering feels wonderfully weighted, something you rarely get from new electric power steering units. While remains fairly flat, there's bump compliance to keep things comfy, thanks to the suspension's two-mode active dampers. And braking remains up to par, thanks to Brembo brakes and Pirelli PZero tires. The overall feel is not as precise as a German car, but with the same amount of speed and a far better sense of grace.
It's heightened by a fabric roof that opens the cabin to the elements. Yes, it takes a while to lower, but the windows lower at the same time – most of the time. Wind management is excellent, allowing for conversations to be held without shouting. And with the top raised, the cabin becomes remarkably hushed for a cloth droptop of any price.
That said, there's not much trunk space. Packing for a trip will take some planning.
So while the GranTurismo has been updated, it retains enough classic Italian touring character to remind you of its lineage. And while the MC falls victim to a modicum of racer boy cliche, it retains its essential classic character, paying only minor heed to the whims of fashion while remaining an essential style statement.
The 2019 Maserati GranTurismo MC delivers speed, sound and style in with classic Italian flair. It's a refreshing alternative to a segment overrun by fierce German and overwrought Asian competitors.
Consider it an old soul, albeit one that likes to party.
2019 MASERATI GRANTURISMO MC CONVERTIBLE
Engine: 4.7-liter V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 456/384 pound-feet
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 13/20 mpg
Fuel required: Premium
Wheelbase/Length/Width: 115/171.9/75.4 inches
Cargo capacity: 00 cubic feet
Curb weight: 4,365 pounds
ABOUT THE WRITER
Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. Readers may send him email at TheDrivingPrintz@gmail.com.