Maserati's charismatic chief executive, Roberto Ronchi, admits to the misstep. ``It is a luxury sedan that competes with cars like the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 series and the Audi A8 -- not a Ferrari.'' He shrugs. ``This car was not able to fully satisfy all customers, especially in the U.S. market. They found that the gearbox needed a certain level of awareness, and not all were comfortable with that.''
"When asked if he [Pininfarina's former design chief Lorenzo Ramaciotti] was pleased with the last piece of work [Maser GranTurismo] he oversaw at Pininfarina before retiring, he simply smiled and said, 'When it comes out, I will sell my Ferrari F430 Spider to buy one.'"
"I then wandered back outside the stand to analyze the silver GranTurismo from a distance. No sooner had I begun to stare at the form than Jason Castriota, Pininfarina's rising-star designer who penned not only the GranTurismo but also the Maserati Birdcage show car, Ferrari's 599 and Pininfarina's P4/5 one-off, walked up to say hello...So how would he sum up Maserati's newest? After pausing, he simply stated, 'I'm very proud of the 599, but that car challenges you a bit. The GranTurismo, on the other hand, is a classic beauty.'"