Maserati's new GranCabrio MC has made its public debut at the Paris Motor Show. Based on the top of the range GranTurismo MC Stradale – a car designed to bring Maserati's racing pedigree to the road – the GranCabrio MC is designed to prove soft top GTs can also offer hardcore performance.
Does it succeed? Well it has its work cut out. At its heart is a 4.7-litre V8 that churns out 454bhp and 520Nm of torque. That's a lot, but it's a few horses down on the 460bhp offered by its roof-rocking GranTurismo MC Stradale cousin.
Whereas the Stradale does 0-60mph in a groin-tingling 4.5 seconds and tops out at 188.3mph, this GranCabrio MC takes 4.9 seconds reach 60mph and needs a trailing wind and a downhill road to pass 179mph.
That said, we're sure you won't be complaining too much once you're on the move, particularly when you start having a fiddle with its mode-tastic six-speed MC Auto Shift gearbox.
The transmission offers five modes of use: Auto-normal, auto-sport, manual-normal, manual-sport and Ice. Auto-normal and auto-sport modes are ideal for gentle and not-so-gentle pootling without intervention from the driver. Manual-normal lets you choose when to change gear, although the car's software will intervene if it thinks you're being an idiot, while manual-sport gives you full control. It'll even allow you to maintain your selected gear even if it means there's a possibility of you breaking something.
The auto box includes a launch control setting and automatic blipping – in other words it provides short bursts of throttle when downshifting to help keep the engine speed in the optimal rev range for the next burst of acceleration. It's a bit like heel-and-toeing – except without the tricky heel part. This feature alone should let you convince yourself your'e God's gift to the steering wheel even if you're as cack-handed as the rest of us.
Handling is an unknown quantity, but it should corner well, as downforce at 140kmh is 10 per cent higher at the front and 25 per cent higher at the rear compared to the GranCabrio and GranCabrio Sport. And if not – who the hell cares? Just look at the thing.