Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Maserati only extracted an extra 10bhp from the Coupé's 4.2-litre V8 but the resulting 400bhp is more than most rivals muster and enough to take the Gran Sport to 62mph in 4.9sec and on to a heady 181mph. And while its on paper performance is barely better than the standard car's, it certainly feels faster thanks to the mighty roar from the sports exhaust which can be made to sing even louder by pressing a button on the dash.

You'll be making it sing frequently because despite having 333lb ft of torque this engine does its best work with a few revs on the dial. Unlike the regular Coupé and Spyder which came standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, the Gran Sport is only available with the Cambiocorsa six-speed automated manual operated by paddles behind the steering wheel.

It's a bit jerky by modern standards but really slams home the next gear when you nail the throttle in sport mode.

The relatively minor changes wrought on the Coupé have had a dramatically positive effect, the Gran Sport being superior in every area. Most improved is the steering which is as quick to respond as before but provides genuine feel for the first time, if still not quite 911 quality communication. The Gran Sport turns in to corners more keenly too and the body control is better on its 10mm lower suspension and grip even stronger on the bigger 19-inch wheels.

Switch the 'Skyhook' dampers to Sport though and things really improve with noticeably tighter body control keeping the Maserati flat and composed through corners with little loss of ride comfort. The big brakes pull the car up quickly and offer useful feel while an electronic stability system is standard should you get caught out. But with the rear-mounted gearbox helping the rear tyres sucker themselves to the tarmac, the warning light stays mostly unlit.