As an automotive journalist, I’m often asked about what to buy, or what I have driven that’s fun. And like ocean front homes, everyone wants a “view” without the investment. Problem solved, sort of…
In Chicago recently, I spent an afternoon with friend Philip Airey and his year round wheels, a 2005 Maserati Gransport. Shod with snow tires for the winter, this car is used year round when Philip’s Lamborghini Balboni is tucked away.
For me, fun cars have to stand out in the endless sea of mass produced crap that hogs the highway. With handsome lines, and even 10 years old, this Maserati still gets admiring glances and questions from strangers.
A smart looking interior greets you inside. Everything about this car seems well made and luxurious in a way only the Italians can do, with snug, race bred seats, and bits of detail (the dashboard clock, high tech cloth) that are truly unique.
A true 4-seater, I climbed in the back just to see and yes, my 5’7” 155 pounds will fit, and even bigger dudes should have no problem on short jaunts.
No matter the press toward efficient electric cars, I need noise, and nothing makes a better sound than an Italian machine. Get in, hit the starter button, and a glorious V-8 Ferrari-derived, 400HP motor growls to life, and I would be happy to sit in the driveway with the Gransport and blip the throttle until I ran out of gas or the neighbors called the cops.
Out on the road, I didn’t expect much with all the wet and cold, but the GranSport didn’t slide or complain once, happy to be exercised. I pushed it a bit and this car just made me smile.
The single clutch paddles shift plenty fast, and for those that complain about outdated technology, kindly remember your first iPhone came out in 2007.
Which is why you really shouldn’t care about 0-60 times in this car. Care about excitement, and Maserati engineered in a bunch of that. All GranSports came with the “Skyhook” suspension, providing a smooth ride that won’t embarrass you, even if you flog it a bit at a track outing.
Now the good bits and some real life numbers:
Purchase price 2012: $40,000
Miles logged since purchase: 25,000
Total maintenance costs: $4,500
Depreciation: nearly ZERO
The verdict: share this car carefully as half the fun of the Gransport has got to be the great conversations you will have on your way somewhere. Whether that somewhere is Starbucks or a tony restaurant really doesn’t matter with the right seat mate.
Your spouse is going to love it, because it’s comfortable and classy. Your buddies are going to all be angling to drive because it’s a blast.
For about the cost of a 2009 6 series BMW, you can get sexy styling, Ferrari derived motor, and zip depreciation. Drive it now and enjoy, and 36 months from now you can sell it for about what you paid for it.
Verdict: the view, without the investment. I can see the ocean from here…