This is the “Essentials” story from the first ever issue of Maserati Monthly, produced by Intelliga Communications for Maserati North America. Story by Adam Fox, photos by Mark Davidson and Maserati. First published April 2005.
What is Cambiocorsa? To answer the question properly, it might be useful to first explain what Cambiocorsa is not.
Cambiocorsa, which means ‘racing change’, is not an automatic transmission. Nor is it, in the traditional sense, a standard shift. And, although it combines elements of both, it is anything but a compromise. A compromise, by definition, is when two differing entities make certain concessions in order to form a new, third entity. And Cambiocorsa is not a concession of any kind. It is, rather, that rare instance where the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. In this case, the whole that those parts add up to is something entirely different – something engaging, exciting, fun. Think of it as 2+2=!
With an automatic transmission, the car decides when, how, and how quickly it will shift gears. With a traditional standard transmission, you, the driver, make those decisions, but must use your left leg and right hand – and their mechanical extensions, the clutch pedal and the shift stick – to execute them. Cambiocorsa radically streamlines that process, removing those appendages from the equation and bringing mind and machine closer together than ever.
Cambiocorsa makes a clutch pedal superfluous. The driver, however, retains complete control by means of two paddles, situated ahead of the steering wheel at nine o’clock and three o’clock. Driver selectable modes fine tune the experience to suit the mood and situation, and shifts are championship smooth, unerringly accurate, effectively instant. Advanced logic allows Cambiocorsa to learn the driver’s style and adapt to it. Shifts can be made at full or part throttle with no need to lift off. In Sport Mode, current Maseratis can shift in 0.1 seconds, far less than the time it takes you to blink.
To upshift, flick the right paddle; to downshift, the left. The paddles communicate with the clutch instantaneously by means of a state-of-the-art computer system, enabling you to shift at the precise moment of your choosing – and with much greater speed, accuracy, and control than you’ve ever experienced before. And, since you need no longer remove a hand from the steering wheel or your eyes from the road, it’s safer, too.
No doubt that’s why Formula 1 racing cars have employed this technology for years. Maserati makes it an engaging part of your daily driving experience, as well.