Gratuitous (and we admit, totally cliché) Joe Walsh reference aside, this Maserati really does do 185 mph, making it the fastest road car in the current range. And it gets there with help from all of 444 hp, giving it the best power-to-weight ratio as well.

The MC (MC standing for Maserati Corse) is the latest variation of Maserati’s sleek grand touring machine. Essentially, it takes cues from Maserati’s track-ready GranTurismo MC Trofeo and packages them in a streetgoing vehicle.

Power comes from the standard Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V8 as seen in the GranTurismo S Automatic and the four-door Quattroporte variations. Here, the engine’s back end has been uncorked with a new lightweight exhaust system. The 444 horses give the MC an 11-hp advantage over the GranTurismo S. Torque has also increased by 15 lb-ft to a peak of 376, most of which (supposedly 80 percent) is available as early in the rev range as 2500 rpm. And to help your green side rest easy at night—if you have a green side—emissions and overall fuel consumption have actually been reduced.

The transmission, called MC Auto Shift in this application, has been programmed to offer quicker shift times—according to the company, a claimed 50 percent improvement in Automatic mode while the Sport button is engaged. There’s also a full Manual mode available that allows the driver complete control over gear selection. With Manual mode selected and the Sport program activated—the latter of which also modulates exhaust bypass valves according to increasing rpm to let the engine note out to full volume—the gearbox will tenaciously hold gears even as engine speeds approach the rev limiter.

“If you want to, you can even bang the engine off the rev limiter,” one of the product communications guys told us. And then quickly added: “I’m not saying I want you to do it, but you could if you wanted to.” We resisted repeated, insistent urges to try that out, but it quickly became clear that full Manual mode was indeed entirely willing to hold your chosen gear and wind the engine out all the way to its upper reaches. And with the exhaust opened up at full throttle thanks to the Sport function, it sounds fantastic doing it.

In MC guise, the shark-like GranTurismo also gets a roundly improved aerodynamics package, which includes a vented hood, a new front bumper with an integrated splitter, a redesigned rear bumper, flared front fenders with integrated air outlets, and a rear lip spoiler. According to Maserati’s own testing, downforce has reportedly been increased by 25 and 50 percent at 125 mph, front and rear, respectively.

The MC also gets unique 20-inch flow-formed wheels that shave 10 pounds off the unsprung rotating mass. The chassis is suspended by what’s known as the MC Single-Rate Suspension.Basically, the springs have been stiffened by 8 percent and the front antiroll bar has been enlarged to 25mm. Adaptive suspension damping, what Maserati calls its Skyhook system, is available as an option.

On the road the GT MC makes for a pretty exciting ride—not least because of its slippery good looks and the suitably awesome exhaust note, which flips from a smooth burble to a raucous shriek depending on how you treat the gas pedal. Before the drive Maserati PR was quick to point out that this is above all things a grand touring machine. This car likes high-speed sweeping bends better than it likes twisted and kinked sections of road. You never quite forget about its size—it has a 116-inch wheelbase after all. It’s a big car, sure, but then again it’s also a four-seater. A real honest-to-God four-seater, not a two-plus-two. Which means the back seats are actually not a totally bad place for your knees to reside.

2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC

Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive

4.7-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve

Six-speed automatic

Length/Width/Height (in.): 194.2/75.4/52.9
Wheelbase: 115.8 in.
Curb Weight: 4,145 lb

MSRP: $139,900

Peak Power: 444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Peak Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm
0-60 mph: 4.8 sec.
Top Speed: 185 mph

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