Used Maserati Coupe (2001 - 2006) Driving & Performance

Review by Simon Harris on
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
3.5
Although outward appearances suggest the Coupé is merely a mildly facelifted version of the older 3200GT, it is quite different beneath the skin. That car, produced between 1998 and 2001 and distinguished by its pretty boomerang rear lights, was powered by a twin turbo V8 and had its gearbox mounted at the front with the engine.

4 out of 5

Performance

With a similar power output to the newer but heavier Granturismo, the Coupé is a far more exciting drive, if less refined. It rockets to 62mph in just five seconds thanks to the 390bhp churned out by its 4.2-litre V8 and will eventually reach 175mph but the 333lb ft of torque peaks at a highish 4500rpm and means you need to wind it close to the red line to get the most from it.

At least you'll enjoy more of the roar from the exhausts. Like the older 3200GT the Coupé came as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox but the more popular alternative transmission switched from a conventional automatic box to a semi-automatic operated by paddles behind the steering wheel. Ferrari still uses a similar system but the old Maserati setup is far clunkier.

It can feel particularly unrefined in trickling urban traffic when you’re constantly coming on and off the power.

3.5 out of 5

Handling

Compared with a proper dedicated sports car such as a Porsche 911, the Maserati is less accomplished, its steering neither as accurate or as communicative. But by locating the gearbox at the back of the car, a layout also used on Ferrari's £170,000 599 GTB, Maserati created a car that is far better balanced and easier to drive quickly than its snappy predecessor.

The body control is good with the standard suspension; cars with the Skyhook adaptive dampers are actually softer in normal mode but can be switched to Sport to regain that control, although again it's no match for the Porsche and the ride can be firm. MSP, Maserati's electronic stability system was standard equipment from 2004 but there's so much grip and traction from the rear-wheel drive chassis is so strong that you shouldn't need it in the dry.

In the wet however it's worth entrusting the delivery of that 390bhp to the electronics.