6 Reasons Why Maserati Is Cooler Than Ferrari
Ferrari might have surprised us with its J50 earlier this month, but Maserati will always be the cooler brand. Here’s our reasoning
There’s no denying that Ferrari takes the glory when it comes to the main classes of four-wheeled, circuit-based motorsport, but while it does come up with some amazing designs for aerodynamics and packaging, Maserati is just going about its thing, relatively quietly. It gets less attention, for sure, but here’s why we think it’s cooler.
Ferrari always tries to position itself as the maker of the fastest, most exotic, best to drive, most desirable, most heritage-rich cars in the world. And it tries very hard to maintain that image. The relentless pounding of the PR drum can drive you crazy, like with social media ‘models’ who desperately want your attention to the point at which it gets irritating.
But when it comes to Maserati, when was the last time you saw them trying anywhere near as hard to claim any sort of superiority? Sure, there’s the usual waffle on their website, but they know what their cars are and they’re happy to let customers make their minds up, which is cool in itself.
Compare the 488 with the GranTurismo, or the GTC4Lusso with the Quattroporte. Maserati’s cars are more relaxed, as a rule, with more emphasis on daily usability without abandoning the exotic. Hmmm, actually, let’s discount the Ghibli, which feels a bit ordinary for a Maserati. But the point stands that while most Ferraris constantly want you to use their monumental performance, a Maserati rarely goads you in the same way, making them less stressful if you drive them a lot.
Maserati’s V8s, which admittedly were developed with Ferrari, sound spectacular. The 4.7-litre version is possibly the best-sounding engine of the last 25 years, in my opinion. It sings to the heavens with its own harmonies, bellowing out baleful roars and howls to the sky. One of the greatest days in my life was spent in a GranCabrio, driving around city streets in first and second gears with tall buildings packed close to the kerb on either side. That noise!
The incredible soul in that sound puts it way out ahead of anything else in terms of character. Ferrari’s flat-plane crank V8s sound brilliantly racey, but the cross-plane Maserati 4.7 echoes every ounce of bittersweetness that ever made you fall head-over-heels in love with a movie, a piece of music or a book.
Now I’m not talking about sharp-edged purposefulness. Ferrari wins the day there, of course, with designs penned as much for functional aerodynamics as much as aggressive beauty. Maseratis have genuine Italian stylishness; a generous dollop of what it is that makes the Italian police look so damn suave in their uniforms, and what makes the shores of Lake Como an unrivalled place for fashionistas to be seen.
Maserati styling is genuinely distinctive, with fuller, more graceful curves than you see on the likes of tauter, more focused Ferraris. There’s a sense of the classic in their lines; a glimpse of a bygone age. They’re just more stylish.
The Ferrari ethos is to be the best, the fastest and the most desirable, but you can’t tick all three boxes when it comes to convertibles because of the inherent disadvantages brought on by chopping a roof off. The 488 Spider is close to the GTB in terms of performance, only losing 0.3 seconds over the quarter-mile, but it’s still not quite as fast as the GTB. This compromise already means that by its own rules, it’s sort of a failure. Not quite, obviously, but you get the gist.
Maserati, with its more laid-back approach, is free to develop awesome-sounding, stunning-looking convertibles all year round, if it wants to. It wouldn’t really matter if they flexed like old drop-top Saabs or were a full second slower to 62mph than their hard-top brethren. A Maserati just needs to look and sound fantastic, which means that convertibles are a perfect fit.
If you’re rich, people will probably expect you to get a Ferrari. Look what Bieber did when he’d made his fortune, but there are hundreds of other examples. There are other obvious choices as well, but Maserati isn’t among them. It’s a more reserved choice, a classier choice, a choice that says you don’t want to conform to expectations or sit in wine bars telling your business associates how fast your Ferrari is. At the end of the day Maserati is simply different, and that’s cool.