Vol. 2 No.5  

Italian stallions

Possessing more horsepower than the Kentucky Derby and an invasion by Genghis Khan, this pair of Maseratis took Mihai Alexandrescu on a steeplechase

     In the past, Maseratis were the cars for the wealthy connoisseurs, who demanded the best from a set of wheels and wished to express their individuality.
     The car’s racing heritage and Italian breeding demanded a new era of automobiles that would keep this legacy alive and deliver to sports car enthusiasts a new and attractive product. With the aid of Ferrari, Maserati took on a Phoenix-like rise. The result of the collaboration between the two car brands are two of the most distinctive cars in their sector: the Maserati Coupe and Maserati Quattroporte.
     As a kid, my only contact with the brand was in posters of cars and on pictures wrapped around packets of chewing gum. The opportunity to drive these cars was as exciting a prospect as hitching on the back of a rodeo bull.
     The test drive was organised by Maserati’s importer in Romania, Auto Italia, on the strips of Baneasa airport. This location gave the drivers the space to floor the Maseratis and test the efficiency of the brakes and handling. An important aspect of the test drive was that the cars were introduced and driven first by Andrea Piccini, a FIA GT driver and Mihai Leu, the Romanian Rally champion.
     Seeing the Maserati Coupe made me feel like a five year-old looking at toys through a shop window. Everything is perfectly combined to create a slim and aerodynamic body. The design is developed by Italdesign-Giugiaro and you can see its quality signature in the discreet bumpers, side skirts and air intakes. The front grill is very imposing with the large trident logo in the centre, giving the Coupe an aristocratic pose.
     The inside of the Coupe is one of the best in its class. The two tone dashboard, leather seats and aluminium inserts combine to create a light and pleasant atmosphere. When you step into the car everything is where it should be. The controls and the seat layout are destined to meet the needs of even the most pretentious of clients. The materials are very luxurious and the attention to detail is great. The driver’s position is meant to keep you in touch with every part of the car. This way the feedback you get from the steering wheel, pedals and even from the seats is maximum.
     The Maserati Coupe is powered by a 4.2 litre V8, mounted in the front, the same engine found in a Ferrari 360 Modena, but with ten less horsepower. Other features include Transaxle transmission layout with a rear mounted gearbox in unit with the differential for optimal weight distribution, the Cambiocorsa F1-style shift and the special Skyhook automatic suspension control.
     Anyway, it was time to tackle this monster along with my youthful enthusiasm. It was a similar sensation to powering through a video game. The engine’s immediate response to the acceleration mounted me in the seat and the revs started rising higher and higher. At 7,000 rpm the Maserati simply throws all of its 390 bhp onto the road. The grip is fantastic and the exhaust howls a powerful and metallic sound that pumps up the goosebumps. The gear changes very smoothly, even in the manual mode.
     You can change gears with your pedal to the floor, but that will give only a small delay in the gearbox’s response. The brakes are brutal but in a fun way. You can really feel them working when you push them harder. The precise direction makes the Coupe corner with no hesitation and discomfort. Overall the car is great to drive, great to look at, and must also be great to own.


     The other Maserati present for test driving was the luxurious saloon, Quattroporte. With competitors like the Audi A8, BMW 7 series and the Mercedes S class, Quattroporte had to come up with something special. In a beauty contest the Quattroporte would be wearing the biggest tiara. Designed by Pininfarina, this car redefines the concept of style. You want to accessorise with the car, rather than drive the thing, combine it with your Armani suit, Gucci shoes and Rolex. It oozes envy. Its simple presence on the road can only be compared to a supermodel taking to the catwalk.
     But don’t be fooled - this beauty has a beastly engine. It is powered by the same motor of a Ferrari origin as the Coupe and it has even more power to handle the extra weight. The 400 bhp V8 is still giving you its V8 rumble but with less noise to disturb you.
     The suspensions are set to give you the maximum comfort you could expect from a luxury saloon and the built quality of the interior will surprise even the perfectionists. It is sumptuous, sophisticated and elegant.
     The Quattroporte has a natural power of attraction, which derives from its blend of muscularity and beauty. A vivid demonstration of this power was the sale organised by Neiman Marcus of a batch of 60 Quattroportes. The entirity sold out within 36 minutes.
     A Sport GT version will also become available with an aerodynamic body-kit, a stiffer suspension and quicker gearbox.
     Overall, these gigolos are two of the most impressive and surprising cars available to buy in Romania. The sporty Coupe and the luxurious Quattroporte team up to create a civilized and classy entity.
     For an owner who wants to make a statement, these two offer a whole book of quotations.