In less straitened times, it may have been a romantic dalliance at somewhere swish in the Blue Mountains, South Coast, Hunter Valley or Central Coast.
But with the little man on my shoulder urging the need for fiscal prudence, the slightly cheaper alternative was a leisurely sunny Saturday drive along the coast to Palm Beach, lunch at a recommended new coffee shop in Newport, and then home via those snaky roads behind Terrey Hills.
The idea of a dirty weekend away was a good one and the suggestion of the Maserati PR man. But it was my credit card and my lady mate, even if Maserati tossed in an enticing GranTurismo S automatic, dark blue in colour with a sandy interior.
Things began badly.
As I drove away from the Maserati base and searching to fine-tune the driver's seat positioning, I pressed a button which I thought may have been the lumbar adjustment. With my whole body moving forward into a fast-shrinking space between seatback and wheel, I realised that some joker had preset the seat/mirror settings for someone the size of a six-month old infant...
To more positive matters...
The GranTurismo is a glorious shape, and in the current iteration has the benefit of more space and comfort - it will take two compact humans in the rear seat.
There is a $300K base version available with the 298kW 4.2-litre V8.
The bigger capacity 4.7-litre V8 in the S belts out 323kW/490Nm.
The extra power and torque over the base GT is due to the higher capacity and the exhaust valves controlled by the driver. To explaiin: when on the move and at over 3000 rpm, pressing the 'Sport' button on the dashboard opens the valves to allow the exhaust gases to escape more quickly; the lower back-pressure means the engine reaches a peak power output of 323 kW. And the orchestra plays with greater volume...
But frankly the automatic coupe doesn't feel like a rocket ship, not with around 1900kg to push about. Zero to 100km/h is just a little slower than the manual version's 4.9secs.
This new automatic S which replaces the MC Supershift sequential manual gearbox with a six-speed automatic with paddles, still climbs all the way to top whack of 295km/h, a potential we didn't quite explore among the morning shoppers on the northern beaches.
Away from the built-up areas though and there was the occasional need to wilt in the face of temptation. In sporty manual mode the gears can be held right to the 7250 rpm red line.
Let's now make a claim. If the Maserati GranTurismo S isn't the best sounding production car on the planet, the only one to possible out bark it in the aural stakes is the Aston Martin Vanquish.
At start up it burbles with the urgency of the V8 racing car. But then it lays low until you tap the Sport button. Oh Lordy...
Opting for the 'Sport' setting results in a stiffer ride, less roll, more contained load transfer, greater agility and stability and livelier performance. Gear shift times are reduced by 40 per cent and the Skyhook suspension switches from controlling the ride to focusing on the set up (body control), making the GranTurismo S Automatic easier to handle and proving more grip. Together, the two systems combine to offer more precise, livelier gear changes.
But surely we should be talking here about the exhilaration of its brutal acceleration. And we're not.
Looks and sounds magnificent. But where's the show?
Sure, as a dirty weekend tool, it's rather imposing. Shifting in auto mode is smooth and effortless.
When stirred along, the balance is good, reflecting the 49-51 per cent weight distribution.
Riding on 20-inch alloys and low-profile rubber, the ride could be harsh but it isn't too bad.
Like the exterior shape, the cabin with its abundant appointments won't pass unnoticed. There is a sumptuous feel to the interior. Poltrona Frau leather is all refinement, and there's also Bose Surround Sound with 11 speakers, Bluetooth Technology, offered as standard, and the Ipod interface, available upon request.
A mix of trundling about the beaches just short of posing, and selectively giving the S its wings, returned fuel figures of 6.0 km/litre (as the Italians like to present it). My maths (dodgy at best) suggests this is 16.6 litres/100km.
The recommended price not including statutory charges and delivery is $328,500. This is quite a lot more than the cost of my substitute dirty weekend.
Maserati GranTurismo S Automatic - Technical Information
Maximum power output:
323 kW (440 bhp)
RPM at maximum power:
490 Nm (50 kgm)
RPM at maximum torque:
Max engine speed:
SIZE AND WEIGHT
Width (with side mirrors):
Fuel tank capacity:
49% front / 51% rear
CONSUMPTION AND EMISSIONS
Fuel Consumption (urban cycle)
23.2 l/100 Km
Fuel Consumption (extra urban cycle)
10.6 l/100 Km
Fuel Consumption (combined cycle)
15.2 l/100 Km
CO2 emissions (combined cycle)
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