Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Balocco, Italy – Human nature being what it is, we always want more. For most of us that means springing for a foot-long sub, getting that extra cable package or choosing the deluxe wash with wax. For a select few, “more” means not having to settle for the garden variety Maserati GranTurismo Convertible now that the more vigorous MC version is rolling out of the factory in Modena.

Albeit slowly.

And by that, I’m not saying this gorgeous four-place drop-top is anything but swift. It’s just that the number of MCs Maserati can produce is limited by the labour-intensive process of hand beating a few body panels. And the MC, so Maserati tells us, is the only modern production car to get this romantic TLC.

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The body bits in question are the hood and front wings. Taking the steel panels from the base car, craftsmen hammer into them the MC-specific air vents. With such a small production, it’s cheaper to do it this way than create a whole new pressing.

Ah, the romance.

At $161,000 here in Canada, the 2014 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible MC is certainly a car that can make you go all swoony and misty-eyed like a pre-pubescent Belieber. But unlike the object of their affections (we’re talking Justin Bieber here), the Maser’s epic heavy-metal vocalization will stand the hair up on the back of your knees. Oh baby, baby, baby.

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We must get to the engine first. The GranTurismo Convertible MC shares the same basic layout and specs as last year’s GranTurismo Sport coupe, so the 90-degree Ferrari/Maserati 4.7L V8 is making 454 hp at 7,000 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm. This is a bump of 21 ponies and 22 torques over the non-MC car. It comes from revised engine mapping, changes to the variable valve timing and stronger aluminum pistons.

The Skyhook adaptive damping system is ditched for a sportier fixed-rate setup and the MC rides on lighter 20-inch MC Design alloys that cleverly incorporate the Maserati trident. Keeping you on the road are 245/35ZR20 performance tires in the front and 285/35ZR20s in the rear. Keeping you out of the scenery are six-piston front/four-piston rear Brembo calipers squeezing composite alloy/cast iron discs.

The MC is recognizable by its sinister snout, larger rear spoiler, rear diffuser with more centrally located exhausts and, on this tester, the striking Bianco Birdcage three-layer paint finish with unusual blue tints that seem to change with the light. This is an artistic nod to the white and blue striped trim of the famed ‘61 Tipo Birdcage racer.

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Hop in and the Alcantara-trimmed seats with integrated head restraints hug you in all the right places. Signaling the MC’s intent is the all-black interior featuring lashings of real carbon fibre and more Alcantara on the lower dash, binnacle hood and armrests. Oh, and those huge alloy column-mounted shift paddles that work the six-speed ZF transmission look all business too. This cabin may have been around for a while, but it still feels special – the design and workmanship exuding a timeless elegance. The good-old-fashioned twist key is the only real giveaway to its age.

Twist said key and the MC’s soul erupts in a first-class Maranello bark. Ferrari took full control of Maserati in 1999, and builds all of Maser’s engines at its Maranello factory, so it’s fair to say one of the best reasons for choosing the rag-top Maserati is to get four luxury box seats to this Italian eight-pot symphony.

You’ll find a row of vertical chrome-rimmed buttons on the left side of the console. Press Sport and bypass valves in the exhaust system open up. Mamma mia!

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