Graypaul of Solihull – August 2021

With a number of the UK’s dealers who had been selling both Ferrari and Maserati deciding to specialise in only one of these brands, including Dick Lovett in Swindon who had supplied and serviced my Ghibli since 2016, I had to travel a little further afield to find someone representing the marque for its potential replacement. The nearest dealer turned out to be Graypaul Solihull, conveniently located just a couple of miles off junction 4 of the M42. They supplied a couple of test cars before I made my final decision and the new car was available for collection at the end of March 2021. Although they have less showroom space than Dick Lovett, there is still enough room for a worthwhile display of lovely cars and dropping by, for whatever reason, is always a pleasure. Following a rather unwelcome wake-up call in the middle of the night caused by the alarm going off, which turned out to be associated with a slightly loose connection in the bonnet catch, I had occasion to make a visit to get them to investigate and rectify it in early August. And then only a day or so after having been on-site, I got an email inviting me to go back, as they would have the spectacular MC20 on site for a couple of days and were holding private viewings to selected customers, by special invitation. Luckily I did not even have to replan my diary, as I was already going to be in the area for other reasons. Even better, they said I was welcome to bring along a guest, and with my good friend and fellow car enthusiast more or less on the doorstep, I nominated him to come with me. As soon as he was given a pass out for the morning, he jumped at the chance and we headed over to look at this latest supercar. And whilst we were there, we had time to look at not just the rest of the Maserati range, but also to visit Graypaul’s other two showroooms on the same site. Here is what we saw.

MASERATI

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I was lucky enough to see an MC20 in the flesh just a few weeks after it was launched, as I had a week’s holiday in Italy in September 2020 and they had one in the Maserati showroom in Modena. I just loved it, but was unable to get that close for a detailed inspection. No such issue this time, with the car sitting there so I could sit in it, and gaze at the engine and just drool over the styling. This is very much a limited production car and it is planned to sell just 40 to the UK, all built to order. Graypaul have sole 8 already and first customer deliveries are expected in a couple of months. They are all likely to be highly personalised. Any of the standard colours – and there are 7 available – look amazing, with this blue perhaps the best of the lot. If only I could afford it, i would be very happy with the spec of the car I saw, as it ticked pretty much every proverbial box. I can confirm that it is much easier to get in and out than is the case for many supercars, and once installed, the driving position is excellent, with a superbly comfortable seat and a driving position that was spot on. Although some of the switchgear looked familiar to me, plenty is bespoke for this car and the overall impressions inside is that this is just special. This is a strict two seater and the front boot is not exactly spacious, at just 50 litres and there is a further 100 litres of space behind the engine but who cares? The engine had been disabled, so we could not hear it in action, but we could look at it. And the relative lack of plastic covers over it means you can actually see a lot of this all-new “Nettuno” 2.9 litre V6 which puts out 621bhp at 7500rpm. Torque peaks at 538lb ft between 3000rpm and 5500rpm. It is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox produced by US firm Tremec – the same unit used by the Chevrolet Corvette, with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Although a pure-electric MC20 is in the pipeline and due to see production in 2023, you don’t find any electrification measures here beyond the operation of the turbocharger wastegates. There are four driving modes: GT, Sport, Corsa and Wet – all accessed via a rotary controller. The basis for the new car is an advanced carbonfibre monocoque. It is designed to underpin both petrol and pure-electric powertrains, with substantial aluminium subframes at either end. The structure is claimed to be the most rigid that Maserati has placed into production so far, exceeding even the high engineering standards of the ultra-low-volume Ferrari Enzo-based MC12 launched in 2004. It’s relatively light, too, helping the MC20 to achieve a kerb weight of 1475kg.

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The body is predominantly carbonfibre and carbonfiibre-reinforced plastic. It’s one of those cars that you have to see up close to fully appreciate the various nuances with its styling, which takes certain cues from Maserati’s past, including its low-set grille and chromed trident symbol. The upper section is quite sculptural. It’s the lower part, though, that more effectively influences the performance. It’s very technical, with various measures aimed at ensuring efficient cooling and downforce without the help of any active aerodynamic devices. There’s a highly functional look to elements such as the turned-up corners of the front splitter, vertical fins integrated within the leading part of the doors, structured nature of the sills, vents with the top of the rear haunches and the full-width diffuser at the rear. It also fully panelled underneath, with vortex generators and vertical fins to manage airflow. It’s not a big car: 4669mm long, 1965mm wide and 1221mm tall, which makes it 58mm longer, 14mm narrower and 15mm taller than the F8 Tributo. It rides on a 2700mm wheelbase, with 1681mm front and 1649mm rear tracks. The butterfly doors hinge forward and high on substantial hinges, revealing quite a large aperture and an easily negotiated sill. Tuck yourself inside, and you find a relatively simple but tremendously effective cabin mostly in dark hues. The design doesn’t aim for glitz. Rather, it’s fittingly minimalist, with two high-resolution displays for the digital instruments and infotainment functions as well as an absolute minimum of switchgear on the narrow centre tunnel. The carbonfibre-backed Sabelt seats get electric adjustment. They’re race grade in purpose, with substantial bolstering and loads of lateral support. The driving position is superb, placing you low and with excellent forward visibility. The rear-view mirror projects real-time video provided by a camera mounted on the bootlid. Prices start from £187,230, which sounds a lot, but when you look at what Ferrari or McLaren charge, it would seem to be pretty decent value to me, and with production volumes likely to be much lower than either of these cars you will be getting something more exclusive as well as – to my eyes, at least – better looking.

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This is the Ghibli Trofeo, a thunderous V8 powered saloon that develops just over 500 bhp which was launched in 2020 along with the facelift to the model. When I went to test the Hybrid version there was one in the showroom, awaiting collection by its new owner. I did not expect to see one again so soon, as these cars, listing for over £100k, are sure to be a very low volume halo model, so I was quite surprised to see this on display. It emerged that its in fact the same car as I had seen in December, swapped over for a Levante Trofeo.

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The Levante is Maserati’s first SUV, and has sold in decent quantities, at roughly the same rate as the Ghibli, with which it shares much under the skin. There were several examples of the model lined up outside and there was also one in the showroom.

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The Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio (Tipo M145) are a series of a grand tourers produced from 2007 to 2019. They succeeded the 2-door V8 grand tourers offered by the company, the Maserati Coupé, and Spyder. The GranTurismo set a record for the most quickly developed car in the auto industry, going from design to production stage in just nine months. The reason being that Ferrari, after selling off Maserati to the Fiat Chrysler Group, took the designs of the proposed replacement of the Maserati Coupé and after some modifications, launched it as the Ferrari California. Unveiled at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, the GranTurismo has a drag coefficient of 0.33. The model was initially equipped with a 4.2-litre V8 engine developed in conjunction with Ferrari. The engine generates a maximum power output of 405 PS and is equipped with a 6-speed ZF automatic transmission. The 2+2 body was derived from the Maserati M139 platform, also shared with the Maserati Quattroporte V, with double-wishbone front suspension and a multilink rear suspension. The grand tourer emphasises comfort in harmony with speed and driver-enjoyment. The better equipped S variant was unveiled at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show and features the enlarged 4.7-litre V8 engine shared with the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, rated at 440 PS at 7,000 rpm and 490 Nm (361 lb/ft) of torque at 4,750 rpm. At the time of its introduction, it was the most powerful road-legal Maserati offered for sale (excluding the homologation special MC12). The engine is mated to the 6-speed automated manual shared with the Ferrari F430. With the transaxle layout weight distribution improved to 47% front and 53% rear. The standard suspension set-up is fixed-setting steel dampers, with the Skyhook adaptive suspension available as an option along with a new exhaust system, and upgraded Brembo brakes. The seats were also offered with various leather and Alcantara trim options. The upgrades were made to make the car more powerful and more appealing to the buyers while increasing performance, with acceleration from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) happening in 4.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 295 km/h (183 mph). Aside from the power upgrades, the car featured new side skirts, unique 20-inch wheels unavailable on the standard car, a small boot lip spoiler, and black headlight clusters in place of the original silver. The variant was available in the North American market only for MY2009 with only 300 units offered for sale. The GranTurismo MC is the racing version of the GranTurismo S developed to compete in the FIA GT4 European Cup and is based on the Maserati MC concept. The car included a 6-point racing harness, 120 litre fuel tank, 380 mm (15.0 in) front and 326 mm (12.8 in) rear brake discs with 6-piston calipers at the front and 4-piston calipers at the rear, 18-inch racing wheels with 305/645/18 front and 305/680/18 rear tyres, carbon fibre bodywork and lexan windows throughout along with a race interior. All the weight-saving measures lower the weight to about 3,000 lb (1,361 kg). The car shares the 4.7-litre V8 engine from the GranTurismo S but is tuned to generate a maximum power output of 450 PS along with the 6-speed automated manual transmission. The GranTurismo MC was unveiled at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France. It went on sale in October, 2009 through the Maserati Corse programme. 15 GranTurismo MC racecars were developed, homologated for the European Cup and National Endurance Series, one of which was taken to be raced by GT motorsport organization Cool Victory in Dubai in January, 2010. Introduced in 2008, the GranTurismo MC Sport Line is a customisation programme based on the GranTurismo MC concept. Changes include front and rear carbon-fibre spoilers, carbon-fibre mirror housings and door handles, 20-inch wheels, carbon-fibre interior (steering wheel rim, paddle shifters, instrument panel, dashboard, door panels), stiffer springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars with custom Maserati Stability Programme software and 10 mm (0.4 in) lower height than GranTurismo S. The programme was initially offered for the GranTurismo S only, with the product line expanded to all GranTurismo variants and eventually all Maserati vehicles in 2009. Replacing both the GranTurismo S and S Automatic, the Granturismo Sport was unveiled in March 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show. The revised 4.7L engine is rated at 460 PS. The Sport features a unique MC Stradale-inspired front fascia, new headlights and new, sportier steering wheel and seats. The ZF six-speed automatic gearbox is now standard, while the six-speed automated manual transaxle is available as an option. The latter has steering column-mounted paddle-shifters, a feature that’s optional with the automatic gearbox. New redesigned front bumper and air splitter lowers drag coefficient from Cd=0.33 to 0.32. In September 2010, Maserati announced plans to unveil a new version of the GranTurismo – the MC Stradale – at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The strictly two-seat MC Stradale is more powerful than the GranTurismo at 450 PS, friction reduction accounts for the increase, says Maserati, due to the strategic use of “diamond-like coating”, an antifriction technology derived from Formula 1, on wear parts such as the cams and followers. It is also 110 kg lighter (1,670 kg dry weight) from the GranTurismo, and more aerodynamic than any previous GranTurismo model – all with the same fuel consumption as the regular GranTurismo. In addition to two air intakes in the bonnet, the MC Stradale also receives a new front splitter and rear air dam for better aerodynamics, downforce, and improved cooling of carbon-ceramic brakes and engine. The body modifications make the car 48 mm (2 in) longer. The MC Race Shift 6-speed robotised manual gearbox (which shares its electronics and some of its hardware from the Ferrari 599 GTO) usually operates in an “auto” mode, but the driver can switch this to ‘sport’ or ‘race’ (shifting happening in 60 milliseconds in ‘race’ mode), which affects gearbox operations, suspension, traction control, and even the sound of the engine. The MC Stradale is the first GranTurismo to break the 300 km/h (186 mph) barrier, with a claimed top speed of 303 km/h (188 mph). The push for the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale came from existing Maserati customers who wanted a road-legal super sports car that looked and felt like the GT4, GTD, and Trofeo race cars. It has been confirmed by the Maserati head office that only 497 units of 2-seater MC Stradales were built in total from 2011 to 2013 in the world, Europe: 225 units, China: 45 units, Hong Kong: 12, Taiwan: 23 units, Japan: 33 units, Oceania: 15 units and 144 units in other countries. US market MC’s do not have the “Stradale” part of the name, and they are sold with a fully automatic six-speed transmission rather than the one available in the rest of the world. US market cars also do not come with carbon fibre lightweight seats like the rest of the world. The MC Stradale’s suspension is 8% stiffer and the car rides slightly lower than the GranTurismo S following feedback from racing drivers who appreciated the better grip and intuitive driving feel of the lower profile. Pirelli has custom-designed extra-wide 20-inch P Zero Corsa tyres to fit new flow-formed alloy wheels. The Brembo braking system with carbon-ceramic discs weighs around 60% less than the traditional system with steel discs. The front is equipped with 380 x 34 mm ventilated discs, operated by a 6 piston caliper. The rear discs measure 360 x 32 mm with four-piston calipers. The stopping distance is 33 m at 100 km/h (62 mph) with an average deceleration of 1.2g. At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, an update to the GranTurismo MC Stradale was unveiled. It features an updated 4.7 litre V8 engine rated at 460 PS at 7,000 rpm and 520 Nm (384 lb/ft) of torque at 4,750 rpm, as well as the MC Race Shift 6-speed robotized manual gearbox which shifts in 60 milliseconds in ‘race’ mode. The top speed is 303 km/h (188 mph). All models were built at the historic factory in viale Ciro Menotti in Modena. A total of 28,805 GranTurismos and 11,715 units of the convertible were produced. The final production example of the GranTurismo, called Zéda, was presented painted in a gradient of blue, black and white colours.

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FERRARI

Following the move of Maserati to a showroom dedicated to the brand, across the main road, that leaves the one that they had previously shared with Ferrari with more space for the Maranello product. A modest revamp is underway and when I went in during the week, half of the showroom was empty, with work going on around the walls, and by the weekend, that work was more or less completed and the cars were now on this side of the showroom, whilst refurbishment work went on in another part of the building. Just saying that we had come over from Maserati was enough for us to be welcomed inside and to be offered a cup of freshly brewed coffee. There were plenty of cars to see, and admire.

This SP2 Monza had been on display when I had last been on site in December. The car is sold and simply being stored here for the time being. First seen at the 2018 Paris Show, and inspired by the barchettas of the 1950s, such as the 750 Monza and 860 Monza, the Monza SP1 and SP2 adopt a single- and two-seater configuration, respectively. Both are equipped with Ferrari’s most powerful naturally-aspirated V12 ever made, the 812 Superfast’s 6.5-litre unit. In the SP cars, the 12-cylinder engine makes 810 PS (799 hp) at 8,500 rpm and 719 Nm (530 lb-ft) of torque at 7,000 rpm — 10 PS and 1 Nm more than in the donor car. The Monza SP1 and SP2 make extensive use of carbon fibre, and that contributes to their dry weights of 1,500 kg (3,307 lbs) and 1,520 kg (3,351 lbs), respectively. None of them has a physical windscreen, but Ferrari says owners need not worry about that. The tiny “Virtual Wind Shield” integrated into the fairing ahead of the instrument panel is apparently enough to deflect airflow over the driver’s head. In the SP2, there’s a tiny motorcycle-style physical windshield in front of the passenger seat. Despite the aerodynamic challenges a car with no windshield or roof pose, the Monza SP1 and SP2 are as quick as the 812 Superfast. 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) takes 2.9 seconds and 0-200 km/h (0-124 mph) is dispatched in 7.9 seconds. However, the two barchettas lose a little when it comes to top speed, which is rated at over 300 km/h (186 mph).

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A line of V8 two seaters were presented across the front of the showroom, moved from one side to the other between my two visits.

The latest of the 2-seater V8 cars is the F8 Tributo, a surprise newcomer at the 2019 Geneva Show, and the successor to the 488 GTB and the most powerful mid-engined V8 berlinetta in the history of the brand. The new Ferrari F8 Tributo is powered by the company’s twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8 engine, here tuned to produce 710 bhp and 568lb/ft (770Nm) of peak torque. The numbers are the exact same with the special 488 Pista. Ferrari claims that the new F8 Tributo is capable of a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 2.9 seconds, with 0-124mph (200km/h) in 7.8 seconds before hitting a top speed of 211mph (340km/h). It’s not a secret that the new F8 Tributo is the latest evolution of the aluminium 458 platform, with Ferrari saying that their latest mid-engine berlinetta is “a bridge to a new design language”. The new supercar blends in new design elements with aero features such as an S-Duct at the front, which on its own increases downforce by 15 percent compared to a standard 488 GTB. The rear end of Ferrari’s McLaren 720S rival marks the return of the classic Ferrari twin light clusters, while the engine cover is now made out of Lexan and features louvres to extract hot air and remind us of the iconic F40. The chassis of the new F8 Tributo employs Ferrari’s latest version of the Side Slip Angle Control traction management system, which aims to make sliding the car around manageable even for the less experienced drivers. The changes over the 488 GTB are less prominent once you look inside the cabin; the layout of the redesigned dashboard remains the same as before, only now there are completely new door panels and a centre console, as well as a new steering wheel design. The passenger gets a 7-inch touchscreen display. First deliveries of the new Ferrari F8 Tributo started earlier in 2020.

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Launched at the 2015 Geneva Show, the 488GTB followed the lead set by the California T in bringing turbocharging into a modern-day, mid-engined V8 Ferrari supercar for the first time. The engine is completely new when compared with its V8 stablemate, not only in components but also in feel and character. It is a twin-turbocharged 3902cc unit whilst that in the California T is 3855cc. In the 488 GTB, it produces 660bhp at 8000rpm and 560lb ft at 3000rpm. Both outputs are significant increases over the normally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 used in the 562 bhp 458 Italia and 597 bhp 458 Speciale, and also greater than the car’s biggest rival, the McLaren 650S. The torque figure of the 488 GTB is such that it also exceeds the 509lb ft at 6000rpm of the normally aspirated V12 used in the range-topping Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. The mighty new engine in the 488 GTB drives the rear wheels through a revised seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox derived from the 458. It features a new ‘Variable Torque Management’ system which, Ferrari says, “unleashes the engine’s massive torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range”. The gear ratios are also tuned to “deliver incredibly progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle”. The 488 GTB can crack 0-62mph in just 3.0sec, 0-124mph in 8.4sec and reach a top speed of 205mph. Its 0-62mph and 0-124mph times match the McLaren 650S’s, but the Woking car’s top speed is slightly higher at 207mph. The engine also accounts for the ‘488’ element of the car’s name, because each of the engine’s eight cylinders is 488cc in capacity when rounded up. The GTB suffix, standing for Gran Turismo Berlinetta, is a hallmark of previous mid-engined V8 Ferraris such as the 308 GTB. Not only is the new turbo engine more potent than the 4.5-litre V8 from the 458 Italia, but it is also more economical. Combined fuel economy is rated at 24.8mpg, compared with 21.2mpg in the 458 Italia, and CO2 emissions are 260g/km – a 47g/km improvement. Ferrari’s HELE engine stop-start system features on the 488 GTB. Developments on the dynamic side include a second generation of the Side Slip Angle Control system, called SSC2. This allows the driver to oversteer without intruding, unless it detects a loss of control. The SSC2 now controls the active dampers, in addition to the F1-Trac traction control system and E-Diff electronic differential. Ferrari says the result is “more precise and less invasive, providing greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners” and flatter, more stable behaviour during “complex manoeuvres”. Learnings from the Ferrari XX programme have also been incorporated into the 488 GTB, something that Ferrari says allows all drivers and not just professionals, to make the most of its electronic and vehicle control systems. It also claims the 488 GTB is “the most responsive production model there is”, with responses comparable to a track car. The 488 GTB has lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 23sec – two seconds faster than the 458 Italia, and half a second quicker than the 458 Speciale. The dimensions of the 488 GTB – it is 4568mm in length, 1952mm in width and 1213mm in height – closely match the 458 Italia from which it has evolved. Its dry weight is 1370kg when equipped with lightweight options – 40kg more than the McLaren 650S. The new look, styled at the Ferrari Styling Centre, features several new aerodynamic features that improve downforce and reduce drag. Most notable is the addition of active aerodynamics at the rear through a ‘blown’ rear spoiler, where air is channelled from the base of the glass engine cover under the spoiler. This contributes to the 50% increase in downforce over the 458 Italia. Also new is a double front spoiler, an aerodynamic underbody, a large air intake at the front that references the 308 GTB, a diffuser with active flaps, new positioning for the exhaust flaps and new-look lights. The interior has been redesigned to be made more usable, including new switchgear, air vents and instrument panel. The multi-function steering wheel remains, while the infotainment system gets a new interface and graphics. The Spider followed the closed coupe model six months later, and it soon became the bigger seller of the pair, as was the case with the 458 models.

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Latest in the line of special versions of Ferrari’s V8 models, the 488 Pista was launched at the 2018 Geneva Show but it has taken until now before UK customers have got their hands on the cars they ordered all that time ago. Compared to the regular Ferrari 488 GTB, the 488 Pista is 90 kg lighter at 1280kg dry, features a 20 percent improved aerodynamic efficiency and makes 49hp more from its twin-turbo V8 that now produces 711hp (720PS). These are some stunning specs to be honest, especially when you consider just how good the car it’s based upon is. Ferrari claims a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 2.85 seconds, 0-124mph (200km/h) in 7.6 seconds and a top speed of over 211mph (340km/h). Ferrari has opted to call the new special series sports car “Pista”, which is Italian for ‘track’, joining a celebrated lineup of hardcore models that includes the Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia and the 458 Speciale. The whole bodywork has been reshaped, with the designers using innovations such as the S-Duct at the front and the unique edges of the front bumper and side sills that guide the air flow in -apparently- all the right places. The 3.9-litre V8 engine is essentially the same unit found in the Challenge race car and features specific valves and springs, a new cam profile, strengthened pistons and cylinder heads shorter inlet ducts, radiators with an inverted rake, a larger intercooler and more. It’s also 18kg lighter than the standard engine. For the first time ever in a Ferrari, the new 488 Pista can be fitted with a set of optional single-piece carbon-fibre wheels that are around 40 percent lighter than the GTB’s standard rims. A new generation of Ferrari’s Side Slip Control System is also present (SSC 6.0) because who doesn’t like to slide around a Ferrari with some help from the gods of Maranello. The 488 Pista was not a limited production model and was offered along the regular 488 GTB until it went out of production.

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Completing the 488 family is this, the 488 Challenge, a replacement for the 458 Challenge Evoluzione, and the sixth car to participate in the one-make series. It boasts the same 3.9 litre V8 engine as the road car but with tuning, improved aerodynamics and shorter gear ratios it has better performance. The DCT transmission gas a new shifts enabling the car to accelerate from a standstill to maximum revs in 4th gear in just 6 seconds. The car has lapped the Fiorano circuit one second quicker than its predecessor.

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There was also a 550 Barchetta here. This roadster version of the 550 was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2000 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pininfarina. The 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was a true barchetta with no real convertible top provided, as you could see here, as the “roof” was in place during part of the day. The factory did provide a cloth soft top, but it was intended only for temporary use to protect the interior from rain as using the top above 70 mph was not deemed safe. Aesthetically, the barchetta featured a more deeply raked windshield than the coupé for improved aero dynamics, roll-over hoops behind the seats for the driver’s safety and a longer rear section than the coupé to complete the smooth overall design resulting in more cargo space than the coupé, even when it was less practical. Other changes included new 19-inch alloy wheels specially made for the barchetta. A total of 448 cars were produced, four more than initially planned 444 cars due to concerns of superstition in the Japanese market about the number 4. The 448 cars were preceded by 12 prototypes numbered P01–P12 on their interior plaques. To an observer the prototypes and production cars are indistinguishable. The mechanical underpinnings of the car remained the same as its coupé counterpart but the engine was given the F133C code mainly for differentiation. Performance figures differed significantly as compared to the 550 Maranello due to the loss of a roof, with 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) acceleration time increasing to 4.4 seconds and top speed reduced to 186 mph (300 km/h). All the 448 cars had a numbered plaque (i.e. x of 448) on the dashboard with Sergio Pininfarina’s signature.

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The next V12 engined Ferrari was the 599 GTB (internal code F141) a new flagship, replacing the 575M Maranello. Styled by Pininfarina under the direction of Ferrari’s Frank Stephenson, the 599 GTB debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2006. It is named for its total engine displacement (5999 cc), Gran Turismo Berlinetta nature, and the Fiorano Circuit test track used by Ferrari. The Tipo F140 C 5999 cc V12 engine produced a maximum 620 PS (612 hp), making it the most powerful series production Ferrari road car of the time. At the time of its introduction, this was one of the few engines whose output exceeded 100 hp per litre of displacement without any sort of forced-induction mechanism such as supercharging or turbocharging. Its 448 ft·lb of torque was also a record for Ferrari’s GT cars. Most of the modifications to the engine were done to allow it to fit in the Fiorano’s engine bay (the original Enzo version could be taller as it would not block forward vision due to its mid-mounted position). A traditional 6-speed manual transmission as well as Ferrari’s 6-speed called “F1 SuperFast” was offered. The Fiorano also saw the debut of Ferrari’s new traction control system, F1-Trac. The vast majority of the 599 GTB’s were equipped with the semi-automatic gearbox, with just 30 examples produced with a manual gearbox of which 20 were destined for the United States and 10 remained in Europe. The car changed little during its 6 year production, though the range did gain additional versions, with the HGTE model being the first, with a number of chassis and suspension changes aimed at making the car even sharper to drive, and then the more potent 599GTO came in 2010. With 670 bhp, this was the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made. Just 599 were made. The model was superceded by the F12 Berlinetta in 2012. The car seen here was a 599 GTB 60F1, also known as the Alonso Edition. This was launched to celebrate Ferrari’s 60th anniversary of winning an F1 race. 60 years later, it was Fernando Alonso who won the race for the Scuderia in 2011. This special car was finished in a two-tone exterior inspired by the F1 livery of its time. It was limited to 40 units, each one boasting mods that were part of the Italian company’s Tailor-Made program. Special colors, 20-inch forged alloy wheels, satin-finish aluminium fuel caps and interior upgrades, as well as the signatures of Gonzalez and Alonso, made this exotic model even more appealing to collectors, who bought them all in no time.

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The 458 Speciale is part of a now long line of specially engineered cars added to complement the “regular” V8 models that started with the 100 units of the 348 Speciale produced in 1992, and followed up by the 360 Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia and the 16M. In essence they are all about adding power and shedding weight. In simplistic terms, the road to the Speciale can be summed up in four words: more power, less weight. There are other, more detailed changes, too, obviously, but those are the cornerstones around which everything else is shaped. The normally aspirated, flat-plane crank V8 retains its 4497cc swept capacity but receives new cam geometry with higher valve lift, shorter inlet manifolds and different pistons providing a higher compression ratio. Internal friction is reduced, through the use of uprated materials and the upshot is 597bhp (up from 562bhp) generated at the engine’s 9000rpm limit. Torque is the same, at 398lb ft, still delivered at 6000rpm. The engine is mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox whose upshifts, we were told at the launch of such gearboxes, are all but instant. That’s still true, but Ferrari has improved the response time to a pull on the lever and made the engine rev-match more quickly on downshifts to reduce the time that those take. The engine’s changes shave 8kg from the car’s overall weight – the exhaust is all aluminium and the intake is carbonfibre. Those 8kg form part of a claimed 90kg total saving at 1395kg now, versus 1485kg for a 458 Italia. Of this 90kg, 12kg is contributed by lighter, forged wheels, 13kg comes from bodywork and window changes (lighter glass all round and Lexan for the engine cover), and 20kg comes from the cabin. There are two flaps on the Speciale’s front valance, one either side of the prancing horse badge in its centre. Below 106mph these flaps remain closed, which diverts air towards the radiators. Above that speed, the radiators get quite enough cool air, thanks very much, so the flaps open, which reduces drag. Then, above 137mph, they move again, lowering to shift downforce to the rear of the car, in turn adjusting the balance 20 per cent rearward in order to promote high-speed cornering stability. At the rear, meanwhile, there is a new diffuser (the exhausts have been rerouted to make the most of its central section). Movable flaps in the diffuser adjust, but this time they are dependent not only on speed but also on steering angle and throttle or brake position. When lowered, the flaps stall the path of air into the diffuser and improve the Cd by 0.03. When raised, the diffuser adds downforce as it should. Bodywork changes, though, also bring some aerodynamic improvements, you’ll not be surprised to hear, with lessons applied from the LaFerrari and FXX programmes. In the front valance and under the rear diffuser, there are flaps that open at speed to reduce drag and improve downforce. Finally, there are new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres in a unique compound – rather a sticky one, we suspect – plus new calibration for the adaptive dampers. The carbon-ceramic brake discs also use a new compound. 499 of them were built and they sold out very quickly.

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The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta (Type F152) is a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive grand tourer which debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, and replaces the 599 grand tourer. The naturally aspirated 6.3 litre Ferrari V12 engine used in the F12 Berlinetta has won the 2013 International Engine of the Year Award in the Best Performance category and Best Engine above 4.0 litres. The F12 Berlinetta was named “The Supercar of the Year 2012” by car magazine Top Gear. The F12 Berlinetta was replaced by the 812 Superfast in 2017.

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The Ferrari SF90 Stradale (Type F173) is a mid-engine PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) sports car produced by the Italian automobile manufacturer Ferrari. The car shares its name with the SF90 Formula One car with SF90 standing for the 90th anniversary of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team and “Stradale” meaning “made for the road”. The car has a 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery for regenerative braking, giving the car 26 km (16 mi) of electric range. The car comes with four driving modes depending on road conditions. The modes are changed by the eManettino knob present on the steering wheel. The eDrive mode runs the car only on the electric motors. The Hybrid mode runs the car on both the internal combustion engine and the electric motors and is the car’s default mode. In this mode, the car’s onboard computer (called control logic) also turns off the engine if the conditions are ideal in order to save fuel while allowing the driver to start the engine again. The Performance mode keeps the engine running in order to charge the batteries and keeps the car responsive in order for optimum performance. The Qualify mode uses the powertrain to its full potential. The control logic system makes use of three primary areas: the high-voltage controls of the car (including the batteries), the RAC-e (Rotation Axis Control-electric) torque vectoring system, and the MGUK along with the engine and gearbox. The SF90 Stradale is equipped with three electric motors, adding a combined output of 220 PS to a twin-turbocharged V8 engine rated at a power output of 780 PS at 7,500 rpm. The car is rated at a total output of 1,000 PS at 8,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 800 Nm (590 lb/ft) at 6,000 rpm. The engine is an evolution of the unit found in the 488 Pista and the upcoming F8 Tributo models. The engine’s capacity is now 3,990 cc by increasing each cylinder bore to 88 mm. The intake and exhaust of the engine have been completely modified. The cylinder heads of the engine are now narrower and the all-new central fuel injectors run at a pressure of 350 bar (5,100 psi). The assembly for the turbochargers is lower than that of the exhaust system and the engine sits 50 mm (2.0 in) lower in the chassis than the other mid-engine V8 models in order to maintain a lower centre of gravity. The engine utilises a smaller flywheel and an inconel exhaust manifold. The front wheels are powered by two electric motors (one for each wheel), providing torque vectoring. They also function as the reversing gear, as the main transmission (eight-speed dual-clutch) does not have a reversing gear. The engine of the SF90 Stradale is mated to a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. The new transmission is 10 kg (22 lb) lighter and more compact than the existing 7-speed transmission used by the other offerings of the manufacturer partly due to the absence of a dedicated reverse gear since reversing is provided by the electric motors mounted on the front axle. The new transmission also has a 30% faster shift time (200 milliseconds). A 16-inch curved display located behind the steering wheel displays various vital statistics of the car to the driver. The car also employs a new head-up display that would reconfigure itself according to the selected driving mode. The steering wheel is carried over from the 488 but now features multiple capacitive touch interfaces to control the various functions of the car. Other conventional levers and buttons are retained. The interior will also channel sound of the engine to the driver according to the manufacturer. The SF90 Stradale employs eSSC (electric Side Slip Control) which controls the torque distribution to all four wheels of the car. The eSSC is combined with eTC (electric Tractional Control), a new brake-by-wire system which combines the traditional hydraulic braking system and electric motors to provide optimal regenerative braking and torque vectoring. The car’s all-new chassis combines aluminium and carbon fibre to improve structural rigidity and provide a suitable platform for the car’s hybrid system. The car has a total dry weight of 1,570 kg (3,461 lb) after combining the 270 kg (595 lb) weight of the electric system. Ferrari states that the SF90 Stradale is capable of accelerating from a standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.5 seconds, 0–200 km/h (124 mph) in 6.7 seconds and can attain a top speed of 340 km/h (211 mph). It is the fastest Ferrari road car on their Fiorano Circuit as of 2020, seven tenths of a second faster than the LaFerrari. The manufacturer claims that the SF90 Stradale can generate 390 kg (860 lb) of downforce at 250 km/h (155 mph) due to new findings in aero and thermal dynamics. The main feature of the design is the twin-part rear wing which is an application of the drag reduction system (DRS) used in Formula One. A fixed element in the wing incorporates the rear light, the mobile parts of the wing (called “shut off Gurney” by the manufacturer) integrate into the body by using electric actuators in order to maximise downforce. The SF90 Stradale uses an evolution of Ferrari’s vortex generators mounted at the front of the car. The car employs a cab-forward design in order to utilise the new aerodynamic parts of the car more effectively and in order to incorporate radiators or the cooling requirements of the hybrid system of the car. The design is a close collaboration between Ferrari Styling Centre and Ferrari engineers. The rear-end of the car carries over many iconic Ferrari Styling elements such as the flying buttresses. The engine cover has been kept as low as possible in order to maximise airflow. According to the car’s lead designer, Flavio Manzoni, the car’s design lies in between that of a spaceship and of a race car. The rear side-profile harkens back to the 1960s 330 P3/4. Deliveries in the UK started in late 2020 and so numbers here are gradually building up.

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Parked up outside was this Roma, the latest addition to the range, and a very elegant indeed 2 + 2 Coupe.

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Further cars were to be found surrounding all side of the building. The large gate to one side was open, so we did head through to see a number of cars which were in for service or repair. Most of these were recent models, with a mix of V8 and V12 cars, as you might expect.

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Perhaps the most unusual of the cars we spotted was this 599GTO. The 599 GTB (internal code F141), a new flagship, replacing the 575M Maranello, styled by Pininfarina under the direction of Ferrari’s Frank Stephenson, debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2006. It is named for its total engine displacement (5999 cc), Gran Turismo Berlinetta nature, and the Fiorano Circuit test track used by Ferrari. The Tipo F140 C 5999 cc V12 engine produced a maximum 620 PS (612 hp), making it the most powerful series production Ferrari road car of the time. At the time of its introduction, this was one of the few engines whose output exceeded 100 hp per litre of displacement without any sort of forced-induction mechanism such as supercharging or turbocharging. Its 448 ft·lb of torque was also a record for Ferrari’s GT cars. Most of the modifications to the engine were done to allow it to fit in the Fiorano’s engine bay (the original Enzo version could be taller as it would not block forward vision due to its mid-mounted position). A traditional 6-speed manual transmission as well as Ferrari’s 6-speed called “F1 SuperFast” was offered. The Fiorano also saw the debut of Ferrari’s new traction control system, F1-Trac. The vast majority of the 599 GTB’s were equipped with the semi-automatic gearbox, with just 30 examples produced with a manual gearbox of which 20 were destined for the United States and 10 remained in Europe. The car changed little during its 6 year production, though the range did gain additional versions, with the HGTE model being the first, with a number of chassis and suspension changes aimed at making the car even sharper to drive, and then the more potent 599GTO came in 2010. With 670 bhp, this was the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made. Just 599 were made. The model was superceded by the F12 Berlinetta in 2012.

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Introduced at the 1985 Frankfurt Show alongside the Mondial 3.2 series, the Ferrari 328 GTB and GTS (Type F106) were the successors to the Ferrari 308 GTB and GTS which had first been seen in October 1975. While mechanically still based on the 308 GTB and GTS respectively, small modifications were made to the body style and engine, most notably an increase in engine displacement to 3185 cc for increased power and torque output. As had been the case for a generation of the smaller Ferraris, the model name referred to the total cubic capacity of the engine, 3.2 litres, and 8 for the number of cylinders. Essentially the new model was a revised and updated version of the 308 GTS, which had survived for eight years without any radical change to the overall shape, albeit with various changes to the 3-litre engine. The 328 model presented a softening of the wedge profile of its predecessor, with a redesigned nose that had a more rounded shape, which was complemented by similar treatment to the tail valance panel. The revised nose and tail sections featured body colour bumpers integral with the valance panels, which reflected the work done concurrently to present the Mondial 3.2 models, with which they also shared a similar radiator grille and front light assembly layout. Thus all the eight-cylinder cars in the range shared fairly unified front and rear aspects, providing a homogeneous family image. The exhaust air louvres behind the retractable headlight pods on the 308 series disappeared, coupled with an increase in the size of the front lid radiator exhaust air louvre, which had been introduced on the 308 Quattrovalvole models, whilst a new style and position of exterior door catch was also provided. The interior trim also had a thorough overhaul, with new designs for the seat panel upholstery and stitching, revised door panels and pulls, together with more modern switchgear, which complemented the external updating details. Optional equipment available was air conditioning, metallic paint, Pirelli P7 tyres, a leather dashboard, leather headlining to the removable roof panel plus rear window surround, and a rear aerofoil (standard on Japanese market models). In the middle of 1988 ABS brakes were made available as an option, which necessitated a redesign of the suspension geometry to provide negative offset. This in turn meant that the road wheel design was changed to accommodate this feature. The original flat spoke “star” wheels became a convex design, in the style as fitted to the 3.2 Mondial models, whether ABS was fitted or not. The main European market 328 GTS models had a tubular chassis with a factory type reference F 106 MS 100. Disc brakes, with independent suspension via wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, were provided all round, with front and rear anti roll bars. There were various world market models, each having slight differences, with right and left hand drive available. The V8 engine was essentially of the same design as that used in the 308 Quattrovalvole model, with an increase in capacity to 3185 cc. The engine retained the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system of its predecessor, but was fitted with a Marelli MED 806 A electronic ignition system, to produce a claimed power output of 270 bhp at 7000 rpm. As with the preceding 308 models the engine was mounted in unit with the all synchromesh five-speed manual transmission assembly, which was below, and to the rear of the engine’s sump. The 328 GTS continued in production for four years, until replaced by the 348 ts model in the autumn of 1989, during which time 6068 examples were produced, GTS production outnumbering the GTB (1344 produced) version almost five to one.

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PORSCHE

Across the road from the Ferrari showroom and next to the Maserati one is where you will find the Porsche. In the interests of completeness, we decided to pop in here as well. This rather busier than the Italian brands had been, which was not entirely a surprise. The receptionist was happy for us to come in and wander around, taking the photos we wanted to, so that is exactly what we did.

This is the new Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design, the first of four classic-led special editions and marks broader expansion plans for Porsche’s bespoke arm, Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur. The four special editions will be revealed over the course of the 992-generation 911’s lifetime, appearing on different 911 variants and celebrating different decades in the 911’s history. They are intended to blend the technology of modern-day 911s with design elements from the past. The idea was first launched last year on the limited-edition 911 Speedster Heritage Design. Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur director Boris Apenbrink said: “The Speedster Heritage Design concept was a prequel which tested out how the design features work on Porsche fans and customers.” As the first Heritage Design production model, the Targa 4S was chosen because it is “the most emotional derivative in the 911 range”, said Apenbrink. “Everyone recognises a Targa at first glance, so we decided this was the best basis for the first Heritage Design model.” Limited to 992 units – reflecting the eighth-generation 911’s internal designation – the Heritage Design model costs £136,643 – £26,918 more than a standard Targa 4S. Order books open today, with first deliveries in the autumn. Technical specifications, including a 0-62mph time of 3.6sec, remain unchanged. The model harks back to details of the 1950s and 1960s, led by exclusive Cherry Red paint, which was inspired by the early shades of the 356. The Porsche logo returns the word ‘Porsche’ to its old font, while the brake calipers are black. “In the ’50s, we didn’t have red or yellow ones,” says Apenbrink. There is historical white livery, including lollipop stickers on the doors on which customers can specify numbers, and gold trim parts as they once were. Porsche has also reintroduced a badge on the rear lid, inspired by those given to 356 owners who reached 100,000km in their cars. “We took that design and made it a bit more modern but easily recognisable for fans,” said Apenbrink. Inside, the Heritage Design’s stand-out details are red leather and corduroy seats, both of which were used in the 356, as well as the white indicators and sport chronograph known from classic Porsches. Talking about the rollout of more models from the bespoke division, Apenbrink said: “It will be up to two years before you can expect the next car. We don’t want to overdo it. Porsche Exclusive stands for passion and craftsmanship. We want enthusiasts to say: ‘They’ve nailed it, that car has everything that is truly iconic for the ’50s’. “This first one reflects the ’50s and ’60s, while upcoming ones will cover the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. We started on the Targa, and the other three limited editions will be based on other 911 variants.” Talking about potential buyers for the cars, Apenbrink said: “These special editions are not in competition with electrification or connectivity features but an addition. We have a lot of customers who are fascinated by classic design features and want to see them in modern cars. We are known for our rich heritage. But it might also inspire people who have not considered Porsche before to think: ‘This is a cool style that brings back something from the past’.” North America is expected to account for a third of sales, Europe half of sales and the rest spread worldwide. Apenbrink explained: “There’s not much interest from the Chinese market, because people are more focused on modern times than knowing the past of Porsches. It’s for those countries where we have many fans that know Porsche heritage.” He also acknowledged the business sense of the bespoke arm. “Our investment in the future with electrification is very expensive, so it makes sense that everything Porsche does needs to be profitable, such as projects like these. From a business standpoint, these are very attractive, so it’s a clear win-win: it attracts customers and helps keep the business alive.” Alongside the special editions, an unlimited Heritage Design pack, which adds some of the design features of the fully fledged versions, will be available across the 911 range. “The strategy will always consist of limited-edition models and packages available for other 911 model types. That means we can strengthen exclusivity of the [Exclusive] brand but still get exposure to it on the roads,” said Apenbrink. The division will also look beyond heritage-inspired models in future. “We can grow far beyond the heritage area. It makes sense to start on the 911, but we are looking into our other model lines,” added Apenbrink. He also hinted that a future limited edition might be offered as manual only. “We are great supporters of manual transmissions, because we think it is where you have the most involvement as a driver. Times are changing, because many people are not used to operating manual transmissions any more. From the heart, the [manual] is still something that no one wants to miss, especially in a Porsche. Maybe there will be another Heritage Design car that will only be offered as a manual transmission. That decision is not made yet, but there would surely be many big fans.”

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Porsche unveiled the facelifted 991.2 GT3 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Extensive changes were made to the engine allowing for a 9,000 rpm redline from the 4.0 litre flat-six engine derived from Porsche 911 GT3 R and Cup racing cars. The engine has a power output of 500 PS (493 bhp) and 460 Nm (339 lb/ft) of torque. Porsche’s focus was on reducing internal friction to improve throttle response. Compared to the 991.1, the rear spoiler is 0.8 inch taller and located farther back to be more effective resulting in a 20% increase in downforce. There is a new front spoiler and changes to the rear suspension along with larger ram air ducts. The car generates 154 kg (340 lb) of downforce at top speed. The 991.2 GT3 brought back the choice between a manual transmission or a PDK dual clutch transmission. Performance figures include a 0-97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time of 3.8 seconds (3.2 seconds for the PDK version) and a quarter mile time of 11.6 seconds. The GT3 can attain a top speed of 319 km/h (198 mph).

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The RS version of the 991 GT3 was launched at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, and featured in first drive articles in the press a few weeks later, with cars reaching the UK in the summer and another series of universally positive articles duly appearing. It had very big shoes to fill, as the 997 GT3 RS model was rated by everyone lucky enough to get behind the wheel, where the combination of extra power and reduced weight made it even better to drive than the standard non-RS version of the car. A slightly different approach was taken here, with the result weighing just 10kg less than the GT3. It is based on the extra wide body of the 991 Turbo. Compared to the 991 GT3, the front wings are now equipped with louvres above the wheels and the rear wings now include Turbo-like intakes, rather than an intake below the rear wing. The roof is made from magnesium a bonnet, whilst the front wings, rear deck and rear spoiler all in carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), the rear apron is in a new polyurethane-carbonfibre polymer and polycarbonate glazing is used for the side and rear windows. The wider body allows the RS’s axle tracks to grow, to the point where the rear track is some 72mm wider than that of a standard 3.4-litre Carrera and the tyres are the widest yet to be fitted to a road-going 911. A long-throw crankshaft made of extra-pure tempered steel delivers the 4mm of added piston stroke necessary to take the GT3’s 3.8-litre flat six out to 3996cc . The engine also uses a new induction system, breathing through the lateral air intakes of the Turbo’s body rather than through the rear deck cover like every other 911. This gives more ram-air effect for the engine and makes more power available at high speeds. It results in an output of 500 bhp and 339 lb/ft of torque. A titanium exhaust also saves weight. The suspension has been updated and retuned, with more rigid ball-jointed mountings and helper springs fitted at the rear, while Porsche’s optional carbon-ceramic brakes get a new outer friction layer. Which is to say nothing of the RS’s biggest advancement over any other 911: downforce. The rear wing makes up to 220kg of it, while the front spoiler and body profile generates up to 110kg. In both respects, that’s double the downforce of the old 997 GT3 RS 4.0. The transmission is PDK only. The result is a 0-62 mph time of just 3.3 seconds, some 0.6 seconds quicker than the 997 GT3 RS 4.0 and 0-124 mph (0-200kmh) in 10.9 seconds. The 991 GT3 RS also comes with functions such as declutching by “paddle neutral” — comparable to pressing the clutch with a conventional manual gearbox –- and Pit Speed limiter button. As with the 991 GT3, there is rear-axle steering and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus with fully variable rear axle differential lock. The Nürburgring Nordschleife time is 7 minutes and 20 seconds. The interior includes full bucket seats (based on the carbon seats of the 918 Spyder), carbon-fibre inserts, lightweight door handles and the Club Sport Package as standard (a bolted-on roll cage behind the front seats, preparation for a battery master switch, and a six-point safety harness for the driver and fire extinguisher with mounting bracket). Needless to say, the car was an instant sell out, even at a starting price of £131,296.

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As well as the all-electric Taycan that was launched in the UK in Spring 2020, the latest version, called Sport Turismo was also here. This was first revealed this year and after some launch coverage has not really been mentioned since, and I certainly did not realise that the car had reached the UK. But here it was.

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Also here were examples from the rest of the range. Porsche has a huge number of different versions of quite a sizeable number of separate model ranges on offer now, so there is only space for a representative sample here. The smaller sports cars were well represented with a number of examples of the 718 Boxster and Cayman here.

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There were also the 992 Cabrio, Macan. and outside the Cayenne Coupe.

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AND FINALLY

Wandering back over to the Maserati showroom to collect my car, we spotted this Rolls Royce Cullinan had pulled up. You don’t see these cars very often, and familiarity is not helping me to like any more, I am afraid. Get over the looks, though, and I am sure it is a splendid car to ride in, as long as someone else is coping with its bulk when manoeuvering and parking, and paying for the fuel.

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This was a most agreeable way to spend the morning. There were lots of lovely cars, and given the hypothetical lottery win, I could easily choose quite a few of them for the stable I would then be able to afford. Asked to select just one, the MC20 would be the car I would pick. It really is spectacular to look at, and by all accounts it is equally awesome on the road. Those 40 UK buyers are going to have something very special indeed. I will have to content myself with looking and drooling at whatever is in the showrooms on my visits for a service.

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