Maserati is back. With a tumultuous history filled with uniquely designed cars, race champions, production lapses and a multitude of owners, the Modena firm is now on a sound foundation, 100% Italian and backed by the FIAT/Ferrari group. And since there is a continuous demand for luxury goods of all sorts these days, Maserati fits in nicely with other Italian fashion powerhouses. Is a Trident-adorned top model in your garage a must just like that Armani suit recently added to your wardrobe or the Prada sunglasses you will use to protect your baby blues during your driving experience? We say: si.
That is, if you want to join the over $100,000 car club. About 1,800 fellow Americans annually have been added to that exclusive club lately with the Quattroporte. The 2007 model brings along everything that previous models brought, but this time with a silky-smooth ZF-made six-speed automatic transmission. Coupled with a normally aspirated 4.2-liter, 400 horsepower V8 engine that revs up to 7000 RPM and two electronic modes, this transmission will make the true driver come out in you. You can still get the trickier Duo-Select version, but we think this one is a winner. Respecting the radar-checked 35 MPH posted speed limit on Mulholland Highway became a challenge. As the speedometer entered the octogenarian zone, our tester was stable, smooth and kept the original line input via the wood and leather designer steering wheel. With a near 50/50 front to rear weight distribution, a great balance is achieved. And speaking of design, the Quattroporte is all about style, from its distinctive exterior to an astounding four million ways to personalize the interior. In the options department, you may opt for shift paddles on the base car and the wood-adorned executive derivative. The top-end Sport GT models, however, have these as standard equipment.
There is room for four and if you cruise, it will be a comfortable ride. The trunk is not super large. The take-away is a solid feel and just like a top model on the cat walk, everyone will look.
Warranty/Service: Three-year/unlimited mileage warranty; three-year Maserati Assistance Service; full roadside assistance service.