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Maserati GranCabrio arrives earlier, cheaper

Stretch out: The four-seater Maserati GranCabrio offers room to move.

Lower than expected pricetag for GranCabrio – the car Maserati made despite the GFC

5 Feb 2010

MASERATI’S first four-seater convertible has landed in Australia with a pricetag of $338,000 plus on-road costs – less than $20,000 more expensive than the car on which it is based, the GranTurismo S coupe.

With about 20 of the 45 cars destined for Australia already spoken for, Maserati SpA commercial director Raffaele Fusilli says markets such as Australia will help to keep the Italian luxury marque profitable in 2010.

“Australia is one of the countries in the world that we see great opportunity for the convertible,” he said at this week’s official opening of the new $32 million Ferrari Maserati Sydney dealership, where the GranCabrio made its debut Australian appearance.

First deliveries of the GranCabrio, a mocked-up left-hand drive display version of which was shipped in especially for the event hosted by local Ferrari and Maserati importer Ateco Automotive, will start earlier than expected, in April.

“We find that in Australia we are in touch with the customer more so than in other countries in the world,” said Mr Fusilli at what he described as “the best showroom in the world for Maserati”.

“Our customers in Australia in a very short time, thanks to the efforts of (Ateco), understand the DNA of Maserati – sportiness and exclusivity.

“Australia is considered all over the world for its open air, the environment, the weather itself … the perception is that the kind of buyer here will fit very well with the DNA of the car. We are very confident the car will succeed.”

32 center imageMr Fusilli said the existence of the GranCabrio, which is already in production for Australia, represented a vote of confidence in the born-again brand from the chief of its parent company Fiat (and Chrysler), Sergio Marchionne.

“The convertible project was finalised in the last quarter of 2008,” he said. “So in the full crisis with the Lehman brothers Marchionne said ‘go ahead with the convertible because I believe in the brand, I trust in Maserati, I trust in the ability to make money – you and the network’.”

Ferrari Maserati Sydney dealer principal and head of Maserati in Australia, Edward Butler, said he expected the GranCabrio would grow Maserati’s business locally, but sales of the brands other two models – the Quattroporte sedan and GranTurismo coupe – would remain static.

“We’re expecting to sell about 165 cars in 2010, of which 45 would be convertibles, so we expect that (sales of existing models) to be consistent,” he said.

“On the GranTurismo we’re taking a lot of customers from Porsche, a little bit from BMW and some from Mercedes convertible customers.

“I think Maserati has actually brought down the average age of its customers considerably. The Quattroporte is the best selling ‘Maser’ of all time, but the GranTurismo has brought it (the brand’s average customer age) down quite a lot.”

Mr Butler said the GranCabrio, which is known as the GranTurismo Convertible in the US, would come to Australia fully equipped for $338,000 with options limited to cosmetic additions including different wheels, luggage accessories and interior trim choices.

That makes the four-seater Maserati soft-top considerably more affordable than Ferrari’s new California coupe-convertible, the price of which was reduced from $472,000 to $459,650 in October.

The GranCabrio will also be more affordable than the original price of the GranTurismo S Coupe, which donates its underpinnings and its Ferrari-derived 323kW/490Nm 4.7-litre V8. The GT S Coupe price was reduced from $345,900 to $328,500 last August, making the GranCabrio just $9500 pricier than the model on which it is based.

Riding on the longest wheelbase in its class, the GranCabrio is claimed to be the only premium cabriolet with four full-size seats.

GoAuto sampled the sumptuously leather-clad interior of the ex-Frankfurt show display model, the soft-top and boot of which were inoperable, and can attest the GranCabrio’s twin rear bucket seats offer legroom on par with the Quattroporte sedan.

Mr Fusilli confirmed ahead of its launch in Europe this week that the GranCabrio would offer a top speed of 284km/h and a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.4 seconds.

That makes it half a second slower than the 1880kg GranTurismo S (which also offers a superior – 295km/h – top speed), thanks to significant weight gains wrought by extensive body reinforcements for the open-top model.

However, the GranCabrio – the first Maserati convertible available in Australia since the 3200 GT Coupe-based Spyder disappeared in 2006 – remains quicker than the standard (298kW/460Nm) GranTurismo coupe.

As we’ve previously reported, the Grancabrio was originally designed as a two-seat model with a folding hard-top, but this architecture later became the basis for sister company Ferrari’s new California.

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