The Ferrari 599 is almost the perfect all-around GT car. Fast, elegant and prodigious fun, it's just about the perfect all-around package. Except for the hateful looks of envious strangers, the paint stripper thrown on the car at night and half the population flipping you off at lights. Now the last bastion of Ferrari tuning, Novitec, has the answer with its supercharged version of the Maserati GranTurismo S.
While the Prancing Horse brings a near lethal concoction of love, envy and borderline hatred in our fellow man, the Trident atop the Maserati is immune. Rappers and football stars drive the Ferrari; the GranTurismo marks you as a gentleman who has grown out of traffic light drag races and is happy to spend big money on a sporting GT with class oozing from every vent and pore.
There's just no escaping the fact that GranTurismo is an achingly beautiful, elegant car. The S has the splitter at the front and a few aero tweaks, but it's not about the downforce-oriented buttresses and drag coefficients. This is a car that imagination, craft, and love built.
That long bonnet swoops elegantly past the outrageous wheel arches and wicked, glimmering eyes that pass for lights into that deep and bulbous front end. Then there's that sculpted rear that you could sit and stare at all day. Novitec knew that only a few subtle tweaks like an additional lip spoiler, a carbon rear lip spoiler and side skirts would do. This isn't a car to throw a big wing on.
It's gorgeous, exclusive, elegant and it seats four, properly. And inside it's beautiful, more practical than any Ferrari and more special than anything Germany can offer, with lavish Alcantara trim, a sporting look and a businessman's brain. It's a classy, all-weather, everyday supercar. But it wasn't-a supercar that is, because it was never quite fast enough.
Even the S version that comes with the Alfa Romeo 8C's 4.7-liter V8 has just 440 hp to play with, which is a lot, but then it's still noticeably lacking in the trousers department when you compare it with the 599, and it even falls short of the Aston Martin DB9.
Novitec, though, which has made its name in recent years with monstrously powerful Ferraris and keeps Novitec Tridente as a separate entity from the more well-known Novitec Rosso, saw an opportunity to boost the power with their stock-in-trade supercharger kits. Of course this, like the others, is tailored to the car, and unlike the bi-compressor kits strapped to the engines of the Ferrari 430 and 599, just one was sufficient for this V8. That still gets the requisite 600 hp and 433 lb-ft and keeps the price down to a near-reasonable €23,000 in European money, and just look at the perfect layout of the engine bay. It was destined to be this way.
A new water-to-air intercooler, intake system and larger injectors, as well as new software mapping, is all part of the package. But in a relative rarity in the tuning world, Novitec left the exhaust completely standard, which is explained as soon as you turn the key.
Because the GranTurismo S is one of the finest sounding machines on this Earth, deep, bass-rich, spectacular. There was no aftermarket exhaust that could improve upon perfection. With the Sport button pressed and the valves locked open, this is V8 music at its very best. The rumbling V8 hardens to a soulful flat bark higher in the rev range and you can feel every piston giving its all. The supercharger whine comes in late on, but really this is all about the guttural V8 sound and outside of an Aston Martin V12 it's hard to think of a better sounding engine in this world. It goes too.