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In late January 2008, I stopped by the Ferrari Maserati dealer in Redwood City, California, a few miles from Club Sportiva’s Clubhouse to talk to the service team about our 2006 Ferrari F430 coupe that keeps losing rivets that hold the rear challenge grill in place. It was getting annoying – how hard is it to keep the challenge grill from rattling? They had no answer, by the way. Then, I stopped in to say hello to Charlie Miles, the sales manager from whom Club Sportiva purchased the F430 last year to see what he had in inventory. I wasn’t in heavy search mode that day, but he showed me a couple great Ferrari and Maserati models that were both new and pre-owned.

One vehicle in particular stood out in my mind, a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte in pozzi blue (a custom ordered Ferrari color) over cuoio (saddle brown) leather with 1,900 miles. The car’s color combination really seemed exceptional when compared to the standard and over wrought silver over black or black over black that lack elegance and sophistication. Cars, like Maserati, Aston Martin and Bentley, look best in unique color combinations that accentuate the unique handmade nature of the car’s special heritage and thus, should be specified by the owner who hand selects the bespoke interior layout.

This particular car was essentially brand new and came with the DuoSelect transmission that could allow Members to shift their way through the gears. Since Club Sportiva sold its Bentley sedan in mid 2007, the Club was without a true four door, five seat sedan that can haul friends and family in luxury. In a recent Member survey, we were told it was time for another four door sedan. The Quattroporte was clearly on the short list.

The next day, I called Charlie back and offered to trade a fully loaded 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 with only 13,000 miles that the Club had just voted to retire after a year of service. He was able to strike a very good deal for Club Sportiva and we consummated the trade. I immediately proceeded to drive the Mercedes-Benz to the Ferrari Maserati dealer to trade keys, owner’s manuals and cars!

The Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT is stunning and should be, considering the original window sticker was over $131,000. The rear seats are power while the front seats have adaptive bolsters, massagers, cooling and heating built in for driver and passenger pleasure. The fit and finish could be a bit tighter, but I think a few of the issues on the glove box and rear passenger door can be resolved by the dealer on our next service visit. It is a heavy car, even with the sport mode turned on, but it is set up well for a large, long, luxury sedan. The DuoSelect transmission is the weak link on the car, of course that was changed in the second half of 2007 with a traditional automatic transmission. Because our Member have repeatedly said they enjoy shifting gears, we opted for an early 2007 model with DuoSelect giving drivers more control over the transmission.

With 400 horsepower on tap, you will need to use all of them to motivate the big sedan, but if you use the paddle shift levers and let the rpms rev to 5,000, you reap the benefits of both the power and the sporty Italian engine and exhaust. Under the 5,000 rpm range, the car is a bit sluggish, but then again, when you are hauling a party of five to dinner and the opera, no one wants tossed around in the back seat anyway…

The car is just being pressed into service for a nine month tour of duty. I firmly believe it will be a grand hit to all to have the pleasure of driving it. Take your turn behind the wood and leather steering wheel and give me your personal feedback!