"Wouldn't you really rather have a ... Maserati???"
There was an interesting comment the other day at the website of Professor Glenn Reynolds, who is better known on the Internet as "the Instapundit":
"Today, coming out from lunch, the Insta-Daughter and I saw a Maserati Quattroporte parked next to my Mazda. I thought it looked very nice, especially the interior, but the Insta-Daughter pronounced it 'ugly' and added 'I thought it was a Buick until you pointed it out.' "
Could this possibly be true? Let's look at the evidence.
Exhibit A is a current-production Buick LaCrosse in an official Buick advertising image:
It's a four-door sedan in the low-drag aerodynamic style that's all the rage these days. Note the rounded "landscape" grille faired in to the bumper, with a Buick badge in the center, and the "exhaust port" trim on the front fenders. The LaCrosse is 198 inches long, seats five, and can be had with a 300-horsepower V-8.
Now, on to Exhibit B--the Maserati Quattroporte's official photo:
Like the Buick, it's a low-drag, aerodynamic-style four-door sedan that seats five. Note the rounded "landscape" grille faired in to the bumper, with the Maserati badge in the center and the "exhaust port" trim on the front fenders--very similar to the Buick. The Quattroporte's overall length is 190.98 inches--less than an inch different than the LaCrosse. The Maser comes with a 400-horsepower V-8.
From ten yards away, there's not a whole lot of difference. "Ugly" is a subjective judgment on which reasonable people can disagree, but young Miss Reynolds is absolutely right about one thing: the Maserati looks like a Buick.
That's not to say that the two are Interchangeable. Far from it:
- The Maserati's interior is a lot plusher.
- The Maserati will go way faster, and is probably a lot more fun to drive.
- The Buick gets better gas mileage.
- Saying "I just got a new Maserati" to cocktail party guests is more impressive than saying "I just got a new Buick."
- You're unlikely to see a Maserati in the parking lot at Target.
- Ted Nugent doesn't mention Buicks in "Wango Tango."
- You can get parts for the Buick from your local auto parts store and from the fine folks who sponsor Car Lust. Parts for the Maserati ... not so available.
- You can actually afford the Buick.
In fact, for the sticker price of a single Maserati Quattroporte, you could get three top-of-the-line Buick LaCrosses and have enough left over to widen the driveway so you can park them all off-street.
For the people in the Maserati's target demographic, price is not a major consideration. Still, if you were a Maserati customer, would it not bother you a bit to pull into the parking deck and find that the rare and distinctive Italian supercar you just put down six figures for is only barely distinguishable from your office manager's Buick?
--Cookie the Dog's Owner