Four doors of per­cep­tion

Maser­atis are in dan­ger of be­com­ing al­most com­mon­place

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - NEIL DOWLING neil.dowling@cars­

GET an eye­ful of Maserati’s new Qu­at­tro­porte, the spear­head of three new mod­els en route from the tri­dent badge.

The pro­saically named ul­tra-lux­ury sedan (it means ‘‘four door’’) leads the three­p­ronged at­tack that will in­volve Maserati open­ing a new $1.5 bil­lion fac­tory and in­creas­ing sales by no less than ten­fold.

The new Qu­at­tro­porte was re­vealed this week.

Maserati Aus­tralia boss Glen Sealey says the Qu­at­tro­porte, in com­pany with the mid­size Ghi­bli sedan and Le­vante SUV, will be the big­gest step in the com­pany’s 98 years.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing about (the Qu­at­tro­porte) is new,’’ he says. ‘‘We are fore­cast­ing up to 1500 sales a year in Aus­tralia by 2015-16. That’s enor­mous growth but still leaves us as an ex­clu­sive mar­que.’’ Maserati sold 140 cars here last year, no mean feat for a brand whose least ex­pen­sive model starts from $290,000. Sealey says the new Qu­at­tro­porte — here next Septem­ber — moves fur­ther up­mar­ket, while the Ghi­bli (early 2014) and Le­vante (2015) bring Maserati in at a new price level.

‘‘If you look at Porsche’s line-up, then that’s a good ex­am­ple of how Maserati is go­ing to mar­ket its mod­els,’’ he says. ‘‘The Qu­at­tro­porte will come first with a high

per­for­mance V8 engine that in price and per­for­mance would com­pete around the level of the Porsche Panam­era and Panam­era Turbo. Like the Panam­era, we will have a V6 petrol and a diesel.’’

Sealey dis­misses sug­ges­tions the Ghi­bli will take on BMW’s 5 Se­ries or Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class, and says the new Maserati is more up­mar­ket.

The Ghi­bli will be pow­ered by a V6 petrol or diesel engine and — like the new Qu­at­tro­porte — drive the rear wheels via a Maserati-spec­i­fied ZF eight-speed auto trans­mis­sion.

Maserati as yet has no V6 or diesel but Sealey in­sists these en­gines will be made by the com­pany, not out­sourced.

‘‘Maserati will not have an out­side engine in its cars,’’ he says.

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