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With its trackbred credentials and civilised on-road behaviour, the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale shows us how to have our cake and eat it too.

20 Jul 2011

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Short for 'Maserati Corse', the 'MC' prefix is associated with Maserati's sporting models. Long-time fans might recall the GranSport MC Victory, which was produced in a limited run of 180 units to celebrate the occasion of Maserati winning the 2005 FIA GT Manufacturers' Cup (with the MC12 racecar). Most notable for its blue livery both inside and out, the driving feel and aerodynamics were improved over the standard GranSport roadcar, even though the engine remained largely untouched.

Today's MC Stradale may not be limited in the same sense as the MC Victory's 180 units, but it offers the enthusiast a more comprehensive repertoire over the GranTurismo S than the previous GranSport's 'Rhapsody in Blue' (versus the standard GranSport). With this iteration of a 'MC' car, the list is pretty long: apart from losing the rear seats, slapping-on sexy carbon ceramic brakes, improvements to power, transmission, aerodynamics and the subtle racecar-derived styling, the MC Stradale also adds a quick-access 'Race' button to the centre fascia.

Exterior

1770kg still seems rather hefty, but the benefits of the weight-loss regime from GranTurismo S to MC Stradale are not to be sniffed at and we found the effects of the diet noticeably tangible in terms of outright acceleration and dynamics - this transformation sees 110kg shed from the GranTurismo S' near-1.9-tonnes.

Personally, we love the colour combination on the testcar: a virginal white body with only the most discreet styling matched to a gorgeous blue cabin. Without any external emblems, you need to pick-up on the little details that clue you in to its performance credentials.

One of the more distinctive new bits is the 20-inch lightweight wheels, with stylised trident spokes that demonstrate how the devil is in the details - this is the most obvious item we can see owners of the regular GranTurismo variants adopting.

The Pininfarina-penned MC Stradale is derived from the Trofeo racecars and inherits the latter's aero-styling to optimise air-flow, downforce and engine/brake cooling. Although the bonnet-scoop has been left out, the MC Stradale features two nondescript bonnet outlets, which help expel hot air from the engine. Behind, a new lower diffuser positions the tailpipes closer to the middle of the car, while a ducktail spoiler on the bootlid helps generate high-speed downforce.

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