Maserati rejoined the U.S. market in 2002 with the Spyder convertible after a decade’s absence. As the 2003 model year began, the Italian automaker sent a second, closed-roof model to dealerships. The Coupé is considered a distinctively separate vehicle. Little change is evident on the 2004 model.
With an illustrious heritage that dates back to 1926, Maserati was one of the premier Italian sports-car makers of the 1950s, 1960s and beyond. When Ferrari took control of Maserati in 1997, one of the objectives was to resume exporting Maserati vehicles, according to Luca di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari S.p.A.
Styling of both the Coupé and Spyder is credited to the Italdesign-Giugiaro organization in Italy. In addition to offering lush designs and strong performance, the new Maseratis had to be easy to drive in everyday use, yet promise exclusivity. The Ferrari organization handles the marketing aspect of Maseratis in the United States.
Maserati anticipates that North America will absorb 40 percent of the company’s output. A modern version of the company’s Quattroporte — which means four doors — sedan will be ready for sale in summer 2004.
Even though the styling of the new Coupé is similar to the Spyder’s, the convertible is definitely not merely a coupe with its metal roof snipped off. Measuring 178.1 inches long overall and 51.4 inches tall on a 104.7-inch wheelbase, the closed coupe is significantly larger. In addition, the Coupé offers four-passenger seating, while the Spyder is a two-seater.
Styling touches on the curved coupe body include a historic oval-shaped Maserati shield on the hood, which sits above a trident on the wide mesh grille. The Coupé rides on 15-spoke 18-inch wheels.
The Coupé features a Skyhook automatic suspension control system that was developed with Mannesmann-Sachs. Sensors monitor movement in the wheels and body, and a computer changes damping according to driving and road-surface conditions.
For both of its models, Maserati promises “lavish equipment levels for life onboard.” In the handcrafted interior, many shades of leather upholstery are offered. An information center in the console holds a 5.8-inch color display for the music system, trip computer and climate controls. Options include a navigation system, xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, rear parking sensors and a five-CD changer in the trunk.
Assembled by Ferrari, Maserati’s 4.2-liter V-8 engine develops 390 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. It teams with either a conventional six-speed-manual gearbox or a six-speed Cambiocorsa paddle-shift transmission similar to units used in Formula One racing.
The electronically actuated Cambiocorsa transmission has four modes — Normal, Sport, Automatic and Low Grip — and the driver can operate the car in fully automatic mode or by manipulating up and down paddles behind the steering wheel for gear changes. Maserati claims the Coup� can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.
All-disc antilock Brembo brakes and side-impact airbags are standard.