Posted by Joseph DeMatio, Automobile Magazine
Forgive us if we did not recognize the Italian gentleman who presided over the Maserati press conference this morning at Cobo Hall in Detroit: Fiat, Maserati's parent company, has shuffled so many executives in and out of the CEO chair at Maserati Spa, you'd think they were running a hair salon.
Roberto Ronchi, the current man in the CEO's chair, has the requisite Italian suit and the requisite Italian accent, adding "ah" to the end of many of his words: "The new automatic is very important in the United States, because you make-ah very long journeys."
The Quattroporte Automatic, which is now on sale for about $120,000, finally addresses complaints about the car's semi-manual paddle-shift transmission that have dogged the car since its introduction three years ago. That gearbox, called DuoSelect, will continue to be available, but most Americans will, we suspect, prefer the smooth new six-speed automatic to the DuoSelect's herky-jerky gearshifting, which really only worked when you drove the car very fast and aggressively.