This Is The Cheap Ferrari-Powered Maserati You Forgot About
Photography by Davide Cironi
We’ve all met that person who was completely out of control, but infinitely elegant and sensual. Never predictable, always sideways…even when not necessary. Often, annoying as hell.
The Maserati 4200 GT Coupé gives me the same sensations of hidden desire and, maybe, hate. She is a beautiful sleeper, with that pretty face you could never imagine what lurks just below the surface.
Underhood, a Ferrari 4.2-liter V8 engine, (mostly) shared with the F430 and Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. Guess which one was slower and softer? It’s the same reason the 8C Competizione was beautiful as a goddess and soft as Venus’ hips. The Ferrari is the fast, athletic one.
That said, there’s still that V8 underhood. In the Maserati, this means tons of fun—because it’ll still go as sideways as your hooligan self will want to.
Why not a GranSport then, the final edition with more power and some good improvements? Because this rare model has a manual gearbox…that’s the only reason. The GranSport was available with a paddle gearbox and, in my opinion, it’s less fun. This particular unicorn traveled to Abruzzo from Switzerland, 1,250 miles under the wheels, just to be driven by this tall Italian guy.
Here’s what it’s like: the V8 engine sound is screaming differently from the Ferrari unit, because of the different shaft that’s not flat as on 360 and 430, so ultimately a less acid note in my ears. Amazing, but in a classy way. Its manual gearbox is way more soft and confident, and so is the clutch.
You can drive it as a Porsche 911, almost as a daily driving—and when it was new, it was priced in that ballpark. You probably can’t—or wouldn’t want to—do that daily driver routine with a manual transmission-equipped Ferrari.
But who cares about daily driving when you’re in Italy on a perfectly sunny morning? Let’s go sideways…
It has a light steering feel, and not the one I expect from an Italian V8 pure GT car, but it’s easy to use while slipping away through tight and wide corners. The more I drive it fast, the more I think the Coupé could be a honestly crazy companion for a true enthusiast. For ultimate pace, it should have a better suspension set up, better brakes, and very good tyres. This reminds me of another undervalued coupé, the Jaguar XKR. I’ll find one to drive, someday…
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying this unexpectedly fun ride and, what can I say, this car is probably wrong for so many different reasons that I keep on smiling…and flattening the accelerator. I think that on this one, Maserati missed a trick: a “Nuts / Elegant” switch to change its two characters.
It’s both the perfect car to have during a slow and classy sunset drive with a beautiful soundtrack on, or to wake up to in the morning, leave your family at the mall, aim the mountains, and drive…