IF you were going to set off from the UK on four wheels for the sun-soaked beaches of St Tropez or some such similar exotic location in the south of France what might your car of choice be for such a trip?
Maserati's GranTurismo would have to be a strong contender, something that delights and delivers in equal measure, at home whizzing around winding mountain roads or eating-up the motorway miles with ease.
Suffice to say it's a proper grand tourer, a car that really has been designed for just such a trip.
The GranTurismo has been given a serious makeover for 2018, the Pininfarina exterior has been restyled, the interior upgraded, there's a new infotainment system and the aerodynamics improved.
Made in Maserati's Ciro Menotti plant in Modena the GranTurismo aims to evoke the spirit of the car maker's first production grand tourer, the Maserati A6 1500 of 1947.
The range has been streamlined for 2018, there are now Sport and MC versions and the 4.2-litre GranTurismo has been discontinued.
Both the Sport and MC are powered by a Maranello-made 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine delivering 460bhp.
The refreshed exterior styling is subtle to some extent but discernibly different too. One might be tempted to use the expression sharpening up the edges but since it's essentially about sultry curves that probably isn't an apt one.
There are new front and rear bumpers, restyled headlights and a larger hexagonal grille with a ‘shark nose' profile.
A new integrated rear parking camera is now a feature too and the lateral air ducts have been redesigned.
Improved aerodynamic efficiency has been delivered as a result of these and other modifications.
The two versions of the GranTurismo have different characters, the MC being designed with an eye on the track while the Sport is the one you would be wanting to do that south of France road trip in.
The central splitter is the element that most clearly distinguishes the two models and the MC also has a carbon-fibre bonnet with downforce-optimizing air-vents.
The Sport's oval exhaust outlets are at the edge of the bumper while the MC, which has a totally different exhaust system, is characterised by round outlets coming through the central, transparent diffuser.
On the inside the GranTurismo has four individual Poltrona Frau leather seats with integrated headrests.
The latest dashboard is characterised by a more sculpted design, the centre point of which is an 8.4-inch touchscreen to control the infotainment system.
It is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone functions.
Both GranTurismo models also now feature a Harman Kardon Premium Sound system as standard.
There are fewer buttons and a new double rotary dial - which is now standard on all Maseratis.
The driving modes button cluster is now in front of the gear lever and there's a new Maserati clock.
As far as driving modes go it can be operated in Auto-Normal, Auto-Sport, Manual-Normal, Manual-Sport and ICE modes.
For 2018, there are eight interior colours and five interior trim options - from Carbon Fibre to Black Piano and Walnut Briarwood.
On winding Rutland roads the GranTurismo Sport excelled, with the kind of combination of agility and comfort that is a very tricky balancing act.
The engine note is delightfully throaty (the MC's is even more extreme) and while it feels suitably swift it is remarkably forgiving too.
On paper the GranTurismo isn't really the ultimate boy racer machine. It's acceleration time (0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and the MC shapes just a tenth of a second off that) is almost sedate compared to cars that set out to deliver thrills first and foremost. Fuel consumption is rated at just 14.3mpg with emissions of 331g/km.
Ultimately though it isn't really about that, though that said the top speed is a blistering 185pph for the Sport and 187mph for the MC.
It's about offering that authentic grand tourer experience in a very stylish, comfortable and opulent package and in that regard the GranTurismo excels.
It costs from £81,735.