Monday, August 24, 2009

Frankfurt 2009 Preview: Maserati GranCabrio unveiled!

After what seems like years of eager anticipation, and with the weeks ticking down until the Frankfurt Motor Show, Maserati has finally unveiled its long-awaited convertible model. With the Maserati GranCabrio, it looks like the Italian automaker has done a beautiful job of translating the Pininfarina-designed GranTurismo into an open-top machine.

The questions on all our minds as we saw an endless stream of heavily-disguised test mules were whether the new convertible would have a fabric or metal roof, retain its four seats or sacrifice the back row (like its predecessor, the Spyder), and which engine would be found under that long hood.

Now we've got our answers. Unlike the Ferrari California, the GranCabrio features a cloth roof that deploys over the four-place passenger compartment, saving both weight and space. In fact, it's the first four-seat convertible in the company's history, and boasts what Maserati says is the longest wheelbase on the market. The Trident marque has also chosen to fit the convertible with the 4.7-liter 433-hp V8 from the GranTurismo S, bypassing the base 4.2-liter unit and mating it to the highly-rated ZF six-speed automatic. The new Maser's public debut is scheduled for the Frankfurt show next month.