Lake Bell Test Drive

Lake Bell grew up the daughter of a racetrack-owning dad and maintains an interest in cars of her own, making her a natural to review the convertible version of Maserati’s swoopy two-door. The actress, who recently appeared in No Strings Attached, is shooting the second season of HBO’s How to Make It in America.

When I was a little girl, my dad always told me I should never settle. But he was referring specifically to high-performance luxury vehicles and not the more sentimental topics that another might address. This, of course, is highly excusable because I am the daughter of Harvey Siegel — passionate owner of Virginia International Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park and a true aficionado of all things four-wheeled.

The 2012 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible connotes, in a word, luxury (British accent). That’s what came to mind when I settled into the plush leather bucket seat of this beautifully crafted yet highly unaffordable machine. The body and guts of this car exude opulence. Sure, it boasts a girthy V8 and 433 horsepower, but what really matters is that whilst driving through the streets of Beverly Hills wearing fat Persol sunglasses, I felt so wealthy I almost unsubscribed from in a fit of feeling fancy.

But I want to get real for a second. Look, I share a lust for Italian sports cars along with the rest of the universe, but I must admit that I’m more a fan of the 1970s breed of Italian motor beasts, such as the Lamborghini Miura, Maserati Bora and De Tomaso Mangusta. That era produced cars that looked like they got an injection of shark testosterone. The 2012 GT does not have that same sex appeal. The GT is a gentleman’s car; elegance and sophistication is the message here. Not to say that the GT is all style and no substance. It’s by no means a small car, but it handles like one, gracefully hugging turns, braking smoothly and offering eager pickup when you punch it. Honestly, it had me questioning my car identity. I drive a 2004 lowered, short-shift Mini Cooper S — a scrappy, tight little renegade of a car with a rigid suspension that’s abused me so much over the years that I may have forgotten what a luxury driving experience is all about.

Of course, I called my dad to brag to him about my date with the GT. Unfortunately, we had a really bad cell connection, so he misunderstood me and thought I was test-driving the Maserati because I was considering a purchase. He was delighted but wondered whether it was wise to have the GT as an everyday car. I tried explaining that I was just reviewing the car and that I didn’t have $145,000 lying around to buy such a machine. Two dropped calls later, I decided to let him think that I was in fact considering trading in my old Mini for a GT. At least for a day, he’d be proud to think that I wasn’t settling.