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A NORMAL ASPIRATION (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 99
Since being acquired by Ferrari, Maserati has had not only a huge injection of cash, but also a hefty boost to build quality. This has helped put cars like the Maserati 4200GT, the successor to the 3200GT, well and truly on the map. Whereas Maseratis were once a real plunge into the unknown, these days buying a new or a used late shape Maserati can be justified on a number of counts. If you're looking for a genuine slice of exotica but don't want to fork out six figures, a lightly used Maserati 4200GT is probably your safest bet.
Modelsword count: 10
Models Covered: (2 dr coupe 4.2 petrol [Coupe, Spyder, Cambiocorsa])
Historyword count: 174
1998 was a key date for Maserati. The 3200GT was launched, the first of the truly modern Maserati models, and it was an instant hit. This car was rapidly developed throughout its four year lifespan and it took many by surprise when Maserati, now operating under the auspices of the Prancing Horse of Ferrari, unveiled the 4.2-litre Coupe in 1998. Although it looked superficially similar, the 4200GT was a radically different car. For a start, the last link to the Biturbo era, the twin-turbo 270bhp 3.2-litre engine, had been given the heave-ho in favour of a big, normally aspirated 390bhp 4.2-litre V8 developed by Ferrari and which Maserati got first dibs on. The silhouette of the Coupe was similar but look a little closer and the changes were manifest. The LED boomerang style lights were replaced by more conventional units and the electronics were a whole lot more sophisticated. Spyder open-topped models and Cambiocorsa semi-automatic options were also offered. The marketers branded fixed and open-topped variants simply as the 'Maserati Coupe' and 'Maserati Spyder'.
What You Getword count: 250
The casual observer may well note the disappearance of the boomerang LED tail lights that were the trademark stylistic signature of the 3200GT, this car's predecessor. Those who are immersed slightly deeper in the lore of Viale Ciro Menotti will also spot the power bulge in the bonnet that hints at something more purposeful lurking beneath. Don't be deceived by the aesthetic nips and tweaks. The 4200GT has been redesigned from the ground up and in recent revisions, it has gained a new steering box, new shocks, bigger anti-roll bars, the Maserati Stability Programme (MSP), Skyhook suspension and the Navtrak GPS security system. The truncated Spyder looks slightly buggy-like, with wheels that can appear too big for it - in many ways like a car designer's sketch made metal. The back seats were the first casualty of this transformation, the Spyder being a pure two-seater roadster in the old tradition. The Spyder's hood is something of a disappointment, being an electrically folding fabric item which takes quite some time (28 seconds) to raise and lower - not something you'd expect in such a pricey car, especially with Mercedes' latest SL model showing how the whole roof thing is done. Still, with the hood down, the Spyder looks a beauty and even with it up, the lines look agreeably smooth. Quite enough, in other words, to persuade potential buyers of convertible versions of the Aston Martin DB7, Porsche 911 and Jaguar XKR to schedule another test drive into their Palm Pilots.
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Category: Sporting Cars
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