There’s only one Italian exotic car practical enough for folks with families, and it’s getting even sexier for 2009.
After unveiling its restyled Quattroporte ("four-door" in Italian) and Quattroporte S sedans at the Paris Motor Show last October, Maserati is showing off an even hotter version for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
It’s called the Quattroporte Sport GT S and features performance and styling enhancements sure to appeal to style-conscious parents looking for the ultimate Italian four-door to stand out from the Bimmers and Benzes at the local PTA meeting.
The engine in the Sport GT S is the same screaming 4.7-liter V8 used in the "S" version, only slightly more powerful — it has 433 horsepower, versus 430 horses. The 6-speed automatic transmission’s management software is also changed to "increase driving enjoyment," Maserati says, and the suspension features single-rate dampers, stiffer springs and a lower ride height.
Maserati also added a special exhaust system with a pneumatic valve that opens under hard acceleration to let out the V8 engine’s full shriek.
Subtle but alluring changes to the exterior include a new black grille with concave vertical fins to match other top-of-the-line Maseratis, new headlights with a metallic titanium finish, black trim accents around the doors, body-color door handles, and black oval exhaust pipes.
The interior gets special leather seats with perforated faux-suede Alcantara inserts and unique titanium-colored trim made of a composite material.
If the past couple of years are any indication, the new Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S will be a hit. During the first eight months of 2008, the Italian automaker sold 5,900 vehicles, almost 40 percent more than in the same period in the previous year.
The challenge will be convincing the wealthy to keep consuming conspicuously in the midst of this global economic downturn.