On the Road

The return of the Italians

In most Italian sports cars, the backseat is an afterthought. But finally two of the country's most innovative manufacturers have incorporated a little largesse into their new four-seaters. The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and Maserati Quattroporte are as cool as any coupes coming from Rome or Milan, only they're a lot less cramped. Of course, no one buys slick machines like these for the legroom alone. These paesans have plenty of bravura under the hood.


INSIDE AND OUT V-12 engine with 540 hp; aluminum body with all-leather interior in a range of 12 colors, including smoke, light blue, navy, red, cream, and black
PERFORMANCE Top speed of 196 mph; goes from zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds
TELLING DETAILS The 612 echoes the one-off Ferrari 375-MM, which film director Roberto Rossellini bought for Ingrid Bergman in 1954. Look for the side scoops, or "cove" door panels, popular on racers and Corvettes of that time.
PRICE $254,000


INSIDE AND OUT V-8 engine with 400 hp; steel-and-aluminum body with mahogany, rosewood, briarwood, or titanium detailing inside; seat leather in a choice of 10 colors
PERFORMANCE Top speed of 171 mph; goes from zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds
TELLING DETAILS The Quattroporte, an update of a design introduced in 1963, is a sedan that thinks it's a sports car, thanks to clever suspension and weight distribution by the engineers at the design house Pininfarina (also responsible for the Scaglietti).
PRICE $95,500