Issue No. 15

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Driving The New GranSport MC Victory

The GranSport MC Victory is the ultimate expression of Maserati's sports car mastery, often regarded as the most desirable Gran Turismo coupe Italy produces. The MC Victory is also a living celebration of Maserati's skill in automotive design and competition. After building the incredible MC12, delivering every example of this $1,000,000 super car to happy customers, and securing the FIA GT manufacturer's and team championships in its first full season of competition, Maserati wanted fans of its production sports cars to bask in the glory. The result is the MC Victory, which retains the panache and practicality of the GranSport, but hones the sporting edge beyond razor sharpness.

The change is not transformative, but evolutionary. Why would Maserati meddle with the basics when a GranSport works so very well? The evolution is apparent from the outside, in subtle, elegant Maserati style. A new front air dam of carbon fiber incorporates a revised splitter to improve airflow at speed. The same deft use of the composite material is seen at the rear where the car's functional, understated spoiler glints in sunlight. In that sparkle is a rare display of Maserati's deep pride: the carbon fiber throughout the MC Victory is laced with Maserati blue, a reminder of the company's admirable 92 year heritage.

On the MC Victory's muscular flanks, placed just where they can be admired each time one gets into the car, sit another example of pride in heritage � a small enameled Italian flag, as displayed by the MC12 GT1 racing cars. Maserati races for itself, and for the global Maseratisti, but it also wins for Italy, the nation whose fine craftsmanship and inimitable sense of style are present throughout every Trident car.

As one steps into the MC Victory it is clear that this is a car focused on performance. Almost every surface is covered in soft, warm, high-grip Alcantara. It feels good and helps hold occupants in their seats during the very aggressive acceleration, braking and cornering of which this car is capable. The seats themselves are also track-derived: they are the same carbon fiber seats that are found in the million-dollar MC12 engineered to maximize support and hold occupants in a comfortably tight embrace. The rear seats, also covered in Alcantara, are deeply scooped buckets familiar to GranSport owners, a design which sets this car apart from any in its class by allowing four adults to ride in comfort.

The seats are like a second skin through which to enjoy and appreciate a car whose actions are as an extension of one's own body. Gripping the thick-rimmed Alcantara-covered steering wheel, the new carbon-fiber shift paddles come readily to hand. Slender and elongated to be even more easily reached when steering lock is applied, just as in the MC12 GT racer and the famed Maserati Trofeo cars. The beautiful, smoothly finished blue-fibered carbon is always at one's fingertips.

One thing that's unchanged in the MC Victory is the raw thrill of pressing the blue starter button and feeling the powerful 4.2l Ferrari-assembled V8 roar to life. Pulling back on the right paddle to engage first gear and softly squeezing the throttle pedal, the MC Victory glides out onto the familiar coastal road. Today's adventure will follow the shoreline only briefly before testing this very limited edition GranSport on some interior roads. The ocean-side pace is kept slow to enjoy the view and the basso profundo rumble of the 400bhp power plant singing through its free-flowing exhaust system. The superbly responsive steering is apparent at low speeds, though the Skyhook adaptive suspension gets no real workout here, but few if any other sports cars simultaneously provide such a high degree of comfort and accurate feedback when one is driving sedately. Still, the car is clearly chomping at the bit.

At the turnoff the hammer is dropped and the MC Victory roars up the valley road, The byway is both twisty and steep, a perfect combination for a private hill climb, and one that demonstrates the superb support of the Alcantara covered racing seats that hold one firmly in place as the car's massive grip is exploited. Here, too, the elegantly long shift paddles' efficacy is proven as the wheel is rarely straight. With all this torque it's not usually necessary to shift very often, but such tight corners and high grades are not usual. Neither is the MC Victory. Its pace is prodigious and enjoyable, with every control firming up to provide yet more feedback as the G-forces increase, much like a track car. The MC Victory is a Maserati Corse for the daily drive; one almost wishes for a Porsche to appear ahead so as to give chase and pass it!

In a climate where energy consumption is on everyone's mind, it is good to be able to note two things about the GranSport MC Victory. Firstly, its engine is both powerful and extremely efficient, producing a class-leading 95bhp per liter. Secondly, the MC Victory is positively invigorating, a car that provides its driver with copious energy. Some sports cars induce fatigue, either mental or physical, and even emotional as they eventually become stale. The MC Victory, with its sophisticated styling and genuinely exploitable performance refreshes with every encounter. With only 180 being made and only 50 sold in North America, the MC Victory will remain novel and exclusive; for the fortunate few owners, that is cause for the daily celebration which is its reason for being.

Your authorized Maserati dealer can secure your invitation to the party with a test drive and more information about the MC Victory.

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