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Maserati has big plans for Ireland with its stunning new range

CarsBy Robbie Farrell
The Maserati Gran Cabrio MC is to die for
The Maserati Gran Cabrio MC is to die for

Maserati – International launch

On Tuesday, December 1, 1914 when three young brothers opened their first garage in Bologna, Italy, an Italian legend was born.

All three brothers had worked their way up through the ranks of the Fiat and Isotta Fraschini car manufacturers, where they had served their time in numerous departments including stints as test drivers and even race drivers.

But they wanted more. They dreamed of establishing a business where they could work together as a family – and with that the family name of Maserati began.

Maserati has, for more than a century now, been producing cars which they say themselves are ‘ultra-luxury performance automobiles with timeless Italian style, accommodating bespoke interiors, and effortless, signature sounding power’.

Its famous trident logo, which is based on the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore, is considered particularly appropriate for the sports-car company due to fact that Neptune represents strength and vigour, and is a characteristic symbol of the company’s original home city before it moved to Modena.

A couple of weeks ago, on the beautiful coastline of Northern Ireland, the Italian company took time out from its busy schedule to tell us its plans for the future, and give us some time behind the wheel of its luxury range.

It hopes to expand its dealer network in the next three years by 50 per cent, and is positive it can expand on the near 40,000 units it sold last year to nearly 75,000 in in 2018 – which is quite a big ask.

Unfortunately, it still has no short-term plans for a dealership in the Republic, and potential buyers will still have to travel north of the border to Charles Hurst Motors to get their hands on one.

This is a problem in itself at the moment. With the strength of the pound against the Euro and our ridiculously-high VRT rates, I am afraid to say that only a few of us will ever be able to afford one.

We will have to leave that to the likes of Bono and Louis Walsh, who are a big Maserati fans.

That said, the Maserati range is absolutely superb. During our test drive we got behind the wheel of the all-new Ghibli, Quattroporte (literally meaning four doors) and the astonishing Gran Cabrio MC.

The Ghibli is smaller, shorter, lighter, more dynamic, less expensive and more economical than the flagship Quattroporte.

Its petrol range provides high performance from both of the power outputs from the twin turbo-charged, 3.0-litre V6 engine.

It also handles much better than the larger Quattroporte and the most powerful model, the Ghibli S, has 410bhp, races to 100kph in 5.0  seconds and can reach a top speed of 285kph.

The Ghibli is also the first Maserati in history to be powered by a diesel engine, with a turbo-diesel V6 producing similar driving pleasure typical of Maserati while delivering a claimed fuel consumption below 6l/100km on a combined cycle.

I did find the Ghibli quite tight for rear legroom and you would have to fork out quite a bit more for the flagship Quattroporte.

Now in its sixth generation, the Quattroporte is not only the fastest four-door Maserati ever built, but also the most powerful and most fuel efficient. 

The direct-injection engine family boasts a 3.8-litre V8 and a 3.0-litre V6, twin turbo charged, designed by Maserati Powertrain and assembled by Ferrari at Maranello.

The 3.8-litre V8 engine delivers 100kph in just 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 307kph. The V6 twin turbo doesn’t lack in performance either, reaching a top speed of 285kph.

However, the highlight for me was getting behind the wheel of the Maserati Gran Cabrio. This little beast comes with a 4.7-litre V8 engine, which delivers a whopping 460bhp.

The sound from the back end would waken the dead, and it attracted as many looks as the BMW i8.

Overall, the Maserati range is superb. The cars are not cheap and I don’t expect to see many pulling up at the lights beside me.

But with the quality build the Italians definitely have something on their hands to take on the premium German brands.