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by Tim Beissmann

More than 60 percent of the 2010 Maserati GranCabrio convertibles allocated for Australia and New Zealand have already been sold despite the $338,000 Italian not officially going on sale until July 1.

The four-seater GranCabrio – the first four-seat convertible offered by Maserati in Australia – is based on the GranTurismo coupe, but Maserati says it is effectively an all-new model.

The roof is the most obvious feature setting the two apart, and five cross bars and three protective layers keep it stiff and flap free at speed. Lowering the hood can be achieved in 20 seconds without having to get in the car, while at speeds of up to 30km/h it can be lowered or raised in 28secs.

The cold and wet weather testing for the GranCabrio’s roof was conducted on New Zealand’s South Island, as was the snow and ice calibration of its stability control system.

Other features unique to the GranCabrio include an adaptive ventilation system and audio system, both which alter their balance depending on the position of the roof. An enhanced security system and fitted luggage compartments for the boot and rear seats round out the bulk of the changes.

Like the GranTurismo S, the GranCabrio is powered by a 4.7-litre V8 which develops 323kW and 490Nm of torque. The sprint from 0-100km/h takes an extra four-tenths in the GranCabrio (4.9secs vs 5.3secs), but the top speed is still a more than handy 283km/h.

With more than nine million combinations of colour and trim on offer including six different hood colours, two new leather interiors and three new dashboard trims, Maserati Australia general manager, Glen Sealey, said the GranCabrio had all bases covered.

“Four people car travel in comfort, across the city or a continent, under conditions that demand the roof be down, or with security and peace of mind when conditions mean roof down motoring could not be further from consideration.

“It can be flung up a mountain pass or cruise down a freeway with equal aplomb, but wherever and however it is being driven; the Maserati GranCabrio is always a car that is equally captivating to drive or to see on the road,” Mr Sealey said.

Mr Sealey said he expected Australian sales to be predominantly to people new to the brand and said the GranCabrio would “substantially” boost Maserati’s total sales across Australia and New Zealand.




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