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2002 Maserati Coupe

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From 2001 to 2007, Maserati built a series of grand tourers known as the Maserati Coupe and the Maserati Spyder (Tipo M138). These names were confusing, which led to the coupe and spyder both commonly referred to as the 4200 GT, in reference to the 4.2-liter engine. The coupe was a four-seater and the convertible had seating for two. The designs for both Coupe and Spyder were based on the preceding 3200 GT, which was not sold in the United States. These '4200 GT' models were important for Maserati, as they signaled a return to the North American market after being absent for eleven years.

The Maserati Spyder was introduced in 2001 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, followed by the Coupe's debut in 2002 at the Detroit Auto Show. The United States market received the Spyder in March 2002 and the Coupe in May.

The Coupe had a wheelbase of 104.7 inches while the Spyder measured 96.1 inches. The Spyder had a soft-top convertible that was electronically operated by a push-button located on the center console. when lowered, the top stowed beneath a hardcover that was flush with the body, located in front of the trunk and behind the seats. An arch-type roll bar was located behind each seat to provide roll-over production.

Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign, who had created several designs for previous Maseratis including the Merak, Bora, Ghibli, 3200 GT, and Quattroporte III, was tasked with designing the Coupe and Spyder. Enrico Fumia was tasked with designing the interior. The exterior satisfied all the usual requirements of aerodynamics, safety, passenger accommodation, and performance while being recognizable as a Maserati. It incorporated the firm's Trident emblem into the radiator grille and the front end treatment was reminiscent of the company's racing sports cars of the 1960s.

Engine
The front-mounted engine was the F136 R V8 of the Ferrari/Maserati F136 engine family. The cylinder bore of the 3200 GT was enlarged to 92 mm (stroke of 80mm), resulting in a 4,244cc displacement and a power rating of 385 horsepower at 7,000 RPM and 332 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 RPM. The prior twin-turbocharged induction system that had been in use by Maserati for the previous two decades, was replaced in favor of a naturally aspirated intake system. It 32-valve dual overhead camshaft provided valve actuation in less than 0.15 seconds, with the intake cams controlled by variable valve timing. It used a dry-sump lubrication system, four valves per cylinder, and aluminum and silicon alloy for the cylinder heads and crankcase. The transmission was located at the rear of the vehicle and integrated with the differential.

Transmission
Two versions of the six-manual transmission were offered, including a GT or CC (Cambiocorsa) using paddle shifters. The GT version had a traditional foot-operated clutch, while the Cambiocorsa was an automated manual transmission with hydraulic operation and electronic management operated by F1-style paddles behind the steering wheel. With the CC, four operating models were available including Low Grip, Auto, Normal, and Sport. The Normal mode was oriented towards comfort while the Sport mode stiffened up the suspension and increase gear shifts by approximately a quarter of a second. The Low Grip was for snow and ice conditions, where smooth starts and gear changes are paramount. The Automatic model electronically handled gear shifts, but drivers could still rever to manual using the F1-style paddles.

Suspension
The suspension incorporated light alloy double wishbones with anti-roll bars, and the front having an 'anti-drive' feature that prevented nose-diving under heavy braking. A computer-controlled suspension damping system called 'Skyhook' was optional and used coil-over shock absorbers and six accelerometers to monitor wheel and body movements and transmit this information to a control unit. The data is analyzed by the vehicle's computer and worked in tandem with the various safety systems and Cambiocorsa transmission. The data were analyzed at least forty times per second and adjusted each shock absorber accordingly.

The Maserati Stability Program (MSP), a feature that became standard on the 2004 models, controlled the brakes and engine to assist the driver in extreme driving situations. It integrated an anti-slip regulation traction control (ASR), an anti-lock braking system (ABS), the motor spin regulation (MSR), and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). Braking was handled by a Brembo braking system with light-alloy four-piston calipers and cross-drilled large ventilating brake discs.

Interior
The interior was functional, comfortable, and modern with an optional GPS navigation system and hands-free GSM phone that could be integrated into the infotainment system. The infotainment system was located on the center console and controlled the climate and audio controls. An upgraded audio system and CD changer were optional, along with seat heaters, cruise control, xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, and electrochromic rearview mirror.

Custom Maserati luggage was another option, tailor-made to match the car's interior. The interior was offered in various trim packages, including a leather headliner with a grosgrain pattern, and either a Briar wood kit or a carbon fiber kit.

Production
Production continued through 2007 with a total of 13,423 examples produced before being replaced by the Grand Turismo. A total of 3,889 examples of the Spyder were built with 574 fitted with the GT option and 3,134 with the Cambiocorsa. 180 examples of the Spyder were 90th Anniversary edition with 90 examples earmarked for North American and another 90 for the rest of the world. 15 of these had a right-hand drive configuration for Britain. These 90th Anniversary edition cars had body kits similar to the GranSport with oval Maserati badges on the front fenders, grey headlamp housings, limited edition place, a special blue and grey interior, and titanium-colored brake calipers. The headrests had aerodynamic fairings behind the rollover bars.

The Coupe, produced from 2002 to 2007, had 1,078 with the manual (GT) transmission and 5,371 with the Cambiocorsa. The total coupe production was 6,449 units.

In 2004, Maserati introduced the GranSport, and 2,432 (all Cambiocorsa) were fitted with this option. An additional 181 were MC Victory.

Maserati GranSport
Maserati first introduced the GranSport in 2004 at the Geneva Motor Show. Frank Stephenson, director of Ferrari-Maserati Concept Design and Development, improved the aerodynamics and redesigned the interior. 19-inch wheels with a 'Trofeo' design and trident-shaped spokes were placed at all four corners, and a chrome mesh grille was added to the front and rear bumpers. It wore new side skirts, bumpers, underbody panels, and a rear lip spoiler that lowered the drag coefficient by 0.02 to 0.33.

Paint colors included metallic Nero Carbonio, Blu Mediterraneo, Grigio Alfieri and Grigio Touring, solid Giallo Granturismo and Rosso Mondiale, and special triple-layer white Bianco Fuji.

The suspension, engine, and transmission were re-tuned, and the ride height was lowered by 10mm, resulting in greater performance. It used the same 4,244cc, dry-sump V8 but with a different exhaust system, modified valve seats and intake manifolds, resulting in nearly 400 horsepower at 7,000 RPM. The six-speed Cambiocorsa paddle-shift transmission, with a taller sixth gear ratio, was the sole transmission option and was modified for quicker shifts. The Skyhood active suspension system was standard equipment.

The Maserati GranSport was capable of racing from zero-to-sixty mph in 4.85 seconds and had a top speed of 180 mph.

The wide, highly contoured sports seats required a slimmer center console, which had been constructed from carbon fiber. Lightweight carbon fiber was also used on the new steering wheel and for the dashboard trim. Spyders were done in all leather while the coupe used leather and technical cloth on the seat centers, backs and dashboard fascia.

The MC Victory continued the use of carbon fiber, reducing weight even further. The seats, rear nolder, and front splitter were all formed from this exotic material. Most examples were finished in exclusive Blu Victory paint and a limited edition plaque was placed on the center console.

Maserati Trofeo
In 2003, a racing version of the coupe was introduced, dubbed the Maserati Trofeo, and came with a 414 horsepower engine with a modified free-flow exhaust system and revised engine mapping. Non-essential materials, such as air conditioning and soundproofing, were removed, resulting in a weight reduction of 550 pounds. Racing seats replaced the standard seats, and carbon fiber was used to form the hood and doors, and plexiglass replaced the side window glass.

The Trofeo racing series was created for enthusiasts, with a per-race rental charge of approximatley $20,000 USD.


by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2013

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