Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Motoring: Italian Beauty an Automatic Choice

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Motoring: Italian Beauty an Automatic Choice

Article excerpt

Byline: By Malcolm Robertshaw

THERE was a time when Italy's automotive creations failed to live up to the words of John Keats.

For, while the 19th century English poet's verse insisted "a thing of beauty is a joy for ever", throughout the 60s and 70s, the bodywork of good-looking transports from Italian car makers tended to waste away almost before your very eyes.

But those days are now long gone and the latest offering from Maserati, an updated version of the Quattroporte luxury sports saloon, is set to continue to challenge the likes of the German triumvirate, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and the S-Class Mercedes, plus the Jaguar XJs. The modern-day Maserati Quattroporte has been in the UK market for around three years now but, in some people's eyes, the absence of a true automatic gearbox has tended to prove off-putting. For the luxury car market does tend to demand that a true autobox, not just semiauto, should be made available as standard issue.

In the event, Maserati listened to offered opinion and has provided for this most recent Quattroporte the option of a fullblown automatic transmission. This model will stand in the showroom alongside the original DuoSelect transmission system model, a car which also includes offering drivers the excitement of a Formula 1 style, clutchless manual gearshift via steering columnmounted paddles.

At more than five metres in length, this Grand Tourer is big, but certainly not barge-like.

Standard equipment is generous, the likes of a Blaupunkt Info Centre with 6.5-inch screen, trip computer, hi-fi with single CD player, a specially developed high end BOSE sound system, multi function steering wheel, cruise control, electronic dual zone climate control, electric rear sun blind, NavTrak vehicle tracking system with Automatic Driver Recognition all standard fit.

The upholstery is tailored in nine different colours by luxury leather specialists Poltrona Frau and, while an attractive Rosewood trim comes as standard, there are more timber inserts to opt for including Walnut, Mahogany and Black Piano. In addition, the front seats are fully electrically adjustable, the rear ones also slide and tilt electrically and while there are six airbags, driver safety aids include traction and stability control plus Brembo state of the art braking systems. …

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