FLORENCE, Italy - Maserati S.p.A. last had a four-door sedan in the U.S. market in 1991, the year the company retreated to Italy after building a reputation in the Americas for lousy quality and slipshod dealer service.
Maserati wants American luxury-car buyers to forget about that reputation as it prepares to launch its Quattroporte.
The lavishly appointed sedan, introduced at a media event here, is scheduled to hit U.S. dealerships in September at a price of around $90,000.
The fifth generation of a car that first went into production in 1963 is the first Maserati styled by Italian design studio Pininfarina in 50 years. The others were done by either Giorgetto Guigiaro's Italdesign, Bertone or independent designer Marcello Gandini.
The Quattroporte was developed at a cost of $200 million under the wing of Ferrari S.p.A., which has owned its former rival in Modena since 1997.
At nearly 17 feet long and just more than 6 feet wide, the Quattroporte gave Pininfarina's design team, led by Ken Okuyama, a large palette to work on.
The long wheelbase allowed a cab-rear stance, which accents the length of the hood and enhances the car's overall sense of sleekness. At the same time, the wide track and 18-inch wheels (19-inch are optional) convey sure-footedness.
Along the sides, the beltline rises from the inset headlamps and runs back to the taillights, emphasizing the car's overall front-down stance. The face, featuring a wide, seven-bar horizontal grille capped by the Maserati Trident and three road level air intakes, is classically European. The broad C-pillar conveys sturdiness.
Power comes from the same 4.2-liter, 32-valve, four-cam V-8 that drives the Maserati Coupe and Spyder, but it gets an additional 10 hp, producing 400 hp at 7,000 rpm.
Top speed is 170 mph, with a claimed 0 to 60 mph time of 5.2 seconds.
More than 75 percent of maximum torque is delivered at just 2,500 rpm, yielding fast, smooth accelerations. The throttle uses drive-by-wire technology.