By Ken Willimott (Club Maserati Australia Member)
The first impression was the colour; not a colour that I usually associate with Maserati, but it grew on me the more I looked at it. The outside appearance is certainly stunning and a real move forward. I think Maserati is on a winner, appearance wise. Being a two seater with a rear mounted engine, the inside seating position was snug and the internal fittings were quite sparse, a lean toward the racing intention and away from the luxury motor vehicle.
Inside the colour and seating reminded me of the old recaro race seats and basic setups that you used to find in the saloon car racers of the 1970's. Again a lean toward the race intention, but if you were to take this car on a tour, you might not want to be sitting for long periods.
The vehicle sits low to the ground, as you would expect, so not so easy to get into and out of, but the gull wing doors provide for plenty of opening to assist. As the gull wings open out about as wide as my Gran Tourismo as well as going up, I don't think I would be able to park this vehicle in my garage, which only gives me room to squeeze out the partially open doors on my car.
The low clearance (about 100mm off the ground) may give problems with getting over the occasional speed hump and a trip down a somewhat uneven country driveway could also be exciting, but I was assured that the underside was all a big tray panel anyway.
I was surprised by the storage space in the vehicle, which was situated at the front due to the rear mounted engine and would fit a good sized soft duffel bag; however you could put another one and small hand carry bag in an additional rear compartment located behind the engine. I didn't see a spare wheel anywhere.
Overall it is a beautiful car, but its practicalities are definitely aimed at the race track. However, I suspect not many will end up as racers and most will probably be locked away in private collections. Its claimed 2.9 seconds from 0 to 100 kph may rely on how much you are prepared to spend on carbon fibre options to keep weight to a minimum, with the fully optioned carbon price apparently being in the $700k's. Given that the performance without the carbon extras still promises to be spectacular and way more than you could use on the road, the basic starting price comes in around $450k.
Would I buy one? Possibly, but I would have to look for a new garage first. However, given that the 6 allocated to Australia next year are already sold-out and there is already a waiting list for the 2022 allocation, I don't think that is a problem I will have to grapple with. I might wait and see what the new Gran Turismo looks.