Speaking of the interior, probably the most striking thing about Maserati interior space is the very high quality of the surface appointments: smooth leather, slightly rubberized facing on the center dash and stereo section rather than mere plebian plastic. And tons of gleaming carbon-fiber trim, which all happens to be standard on the MC as part of what they call the M Design interior. Aside from the side mirror adjustment knob that tended to dig into my knee as while attempting to brace for spirited cornering, the GranTurismo is completely and totally ergonomically sound. The steering wheel is a particularly nice piece, with a substantial diameter and well-sculpted circumference. The transmission shift paddles are column mounted, so they don’t turn with the wheel, but they’re freakin’ huge. In a good way. The company calls them “Trofeo-style” and they’re long enough to allow access to your shift points pretty much regardless of where you have your hands on the wheel. A little over-the-top maybe, but they’re probably the best paddles going, and on the MC they’re sculpted from real carbon.

Overall, a drive in the Maserati GT MC makes for a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon—even if you’re just out for a cruise. And if the $143,850 starting price (which includes gas guzzler tax, destination and dealer prep) makes you balk, consider that a similarly equipped non-MC GT is only about $3,500 less—sans aero work and added downforce, the M Design interior appointments, lightweight wheels and the additional V8 power.

I’ll take mine in white with black wheels and a red leather interior, thanks.

Maserati Granturismo Convertible Sport

A good argument for leaving the top down—permanently

With the MC launch, Maserati also released a new version of the drop-top GranTurismo. The Convertible Sport follows a grand tradition of Maserati convertibles and bumps performance to MC-like levels, with the upgraded 444-hp engine, quickened MC Auto Shift mode and design cues unique to this model. It runs to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds up to a top speed of 177 mph.

Exterior cues include blacked-out bits and pieces like the grille, headlamps and tailpipes. It gets a new wheel design, “Astro,” body-colored door handles, “shadow line” trim, and MC side skirts. Interior accoutrements include drilled aluminum pedals, optional carbon-fiber trim, and the elongated Trofeo shift paddles.

In pushing the performance package, special attention was paid to improving overall structural rigidity. In fact, the company claims rigidity is the best in its class, and goes hand in hand with upgraded suspension components that include stiffer springs and modified damping, stiffer antiroll bars and recalibrated Skyhook software.

But the convertible’s best selling point is that with the top down it puts you that much closer to the 4.7-liter V8’s exhaust note. It may just make the most compelling argument out there for top-down motoring. If it actually did come down to choosing between this car and the MC… well, not that it will anytime soon. But if it did, we’d have to think long and hard about it. —

2012 Maserati GT Convertible Sport

Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive

4.7-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve

Six-speed automatic

MSRP: $142,800

Peak Power: 444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Peak Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm
0-60 mph: 5.2 sec.
Top Speed: 177 mph

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