On the 100th anniversary of the Maserati brothers opening their shop, the Ghibli arrived in Minneapolis. As the exclusive distributor for Maserati in Minnesota, Morrie’s Luxury Auto witnessed record sales during the last month of 2013. Customers are coming en masse to experience what is sure to be the car of the year.
Ghibli: A fiercely hot wind of Northern Africa. While the Ghibli name has been used to define such things as an AMX fighter jet, ultra-light bicycle wheel sets, and even a Japanese animation studio, one thing is evident… the Maserati Ghibli is an exotic sports sedan that truly embodies the fleeting wind and fiery temperament.
Not only is the Ghibli a magnificent example of beautiful Italian design, it has been rated as a top safety pick from the IIHS. The European equivalent, the Euro NCAP, claims that “Maserati’s level of protection would be available to occupants of different sizes and to those sat in different positions.”
With the Ghibli being the first Maserati under $100,000, earning top safety picks, and featuring an elegant design; Maserati is set to take market share from the cookie cutter designs from the usual luxury manufacturers. Please browse these links to read more about recent crash testing.
This week marked the celebration of the 25th Annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit and we were there getting coverage on some of the luxury brands!
We made sure to get a good spot for the Bentley press conference where they unveiled the all-new 2015 Continental GT V8S! This new model will have a 4.0 liter-twin-turbocharged V-8 producing 521 horsepower and 502 lb/ft. of torque! This is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that includes a Sport mode with sharper throttle response.
A higher-output 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 will give the vehicle 521 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. This will be mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that includes an S mode with sharper throttle response and a more aggressive shift logic. The vehicle is said to reach 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds and hits top speeds of 192 mph!
This entire Continental lineup includes electronic climate control, Bluetooth, a DVD nav system, Google maps and an 8-inch LCD touchscreen, and the Naim audio system for an addition $7,000. You can also purchase the Mulliner package, which offers quilted leather interior, knurled chrome, and turned aluminum trim and lambs wool rugs as an option. Stay tuned for more information of the latest Bentley model revealed just this week!
We couldn’t attend the International Auto Show without making a stop at Porsche for the unveiling of the 2015 Porsche911 Targa! The all-new Targa is Porsche’s latest in a long line of Targa models. This model is known for having a lower, wider body and rear track. The Targa 4 will start around $102,595 and with that you can expect a 350-horsepower 3.4 liter flat-6 cylinder engine. You can also choose between a 7-speed manual and Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch transmission. The Targa S on the other hand is equipped with 400 horsepower and the same flat-6 motor. But don’t forget the top, it was the talk of the show! The beautiful automatic Targa takes the top off and stores in away in the center with the push of a button. We hope to see the Targa 4 and 4s both on sale next summer.
While at Porsche we also spotted the 2014 918 Spyder again, but this time it was in Pearl We saw this beautiful vehicle for the first time at the LA Auto Show a few months back, but we sure were happy to lay our eyes on it again! The 918 Spyder is powered by a 4.6 Liter V8 engine which is backed by two electric motors that can achieve up to 62 mph in just 2.6 seconds.
Make sure to check out all of our photo’s below in the gallery and head over to YouTube for a playlist of all our Auto Show videos!
As long as I can remember I’ve been a huge motorsports fan, but nothing could prepare me for my first Formula 1 race. Nothing.
I started attending auto races when I was in the womb. At three years old I battled chicken pox watching IMSA GT racers zoom by at Brainerd International Raceway. At the ripe age of eleven I had the good fortune to bump into Mario and Michael Andretti in paddock at Road America. I’ve attended many of other races ranging from amateur club level races to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, yet I never had the chance to attend a Formula 1 race. That all changed just over a week ago when I attended the 2013 US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas
If you’re not familiar, Formula 1 is the pinnacle of auto racing. Weighing in at just 1,415 pounds and delivering nearly 750 horsepower, a contemporary Formula 1 car can sprint from 0-60 mpg in under two seconds. Read this last sentence again. A short seven seconds later a Formula 1 car will hit 190mph. The same cars will decelerate from 190 mph to 0 in just over three seconds. It has to be the equivalent of being shot out of a cannon and into a brick wall.
To say these cars can move is an understatement and their handling is equally impressive. Much like in aerospace, Formula 1 teams use the same wind tunnels to maximize aerodynamic forces. Whereas planes rely on lift, Formula 1 cars thrive on down force. This force allows a modern F1 car to grip the road like an insect to fly paper. To put this down force into perspective, a Formula 1 car could drive upside down in a tunnel. Myth busters proved it, so it must be true…but enough about the cars, let’s talk about the Formula 1 experience.
If you could ever ride in a Formula 1 car it would surely blow your mind. If you think racecar drivers are not athletes, you’re delusional. I learned this firsthand when I had the opportunity to ride in a legit Formula 1 car that had been converted to a three seater for ride-alongs. At a small private racetrack roughly 30 minutes from the Formula 1 course, our group was treated to two laps around Harris Hill Speedway with one of two highly qualified drivers. The first, Jerome D’Ambrosio, drove previously for the Lotus F1 team. The second, Martin Plowman, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012.
Analogous to a sumo wrestler climbing into a Smart Car, I nearly had to ask for some Crisco to ease the squeeze into cars passenger side pod. Once in, I was sure that I would never make it out. Martin Plowman fired up the car and immediately high octane fumes permeated the cockpit. Heat radiated off my back and I suddenly understood how claustrophobics feel in a crowded elevator. I needed some airflow fast and I certainly got it, in the form of a 750 horsepower jetpack strapped to my back.
As we accelerated out of the pits the sensation was unlike anything I ever felt before. As we approached the first turn, a sweeping right-hander I no longer had to worry about it, as I was experiencing the most extreme g-forces ever. I’m certain my internal organs were struggling to stay in place. As we accelerated out of the turn the wind pulled up on my helmet so much I was sure that like a schoolyard dandelion, my head would pop off. But again, time would not permit it as Plowman put on the clampers and the car slowed down for the next turn and I could see the road again. Another game of rib crunching ensued. Accelerate. Brake. Turn. Brutal acceleration. Rinse and repeat for a couple minutes and we were done. The video below puts it into perspective. That is indeed me shoe horned into the passenger compartment…. fat guy in little suit. Had this been the only thing planned for the Austin trip I would have been happy, but it was just the beginning.
People always say that Formula 1 cars are loud, but they are dead wrong. When I arrived at the Circuit of the Americas that afternoon for Friday practice I found that Formula 1 cars are downright deafening. I’m not talking about rock concert at First Avenue loud or turn it up to eleven loud; I’m talking about shoving multiple M80s down your eardrums loud. With engines revving to 18,000 rpms, the cars emit a high frequency wail that both gives you goose bumps and makes you run for cover. Never have I experienced something so uncomfortable and heavenly at the same time. Without earplugs I was certain my ears would bleed.
Upon arriving I knew that the racing gods were looking down favorably on me during this trip. I had the unique opportunity to call a grandstand suite on the start finish line my home for the three-day weekend. This home base provided spectacular views of turn 20, a great vantage point of the start-finsh straightaway, a bird’s eye view of the pits, and views of the cars as they climb the monstrous hill to turn 1. As we arrived for the second half of afternoon practice, I got just a taste of Formula 1 racing. Saturday I would drink from the Formula 1 big gulp, or in Formula 1 elitist circles, the silver chalice.
Saturday appeared to be a theatrical mind game. As the penultimate race of the season, the US Grand Prix represented a best of the rest opportunity. Sebastian Vettel had already won the driver’s championship in his Red Bull RB9, winning the seven previous races and leaving fans divided. Some love him, some hate him, but in the end his talent cannot be denied. When the morning practice rolled around, part of me was happy to see him running mid-pack. I soon discovered, however, that it was all just a mind game. Through the first 58 minutes of qualifying session 1, someone other than Vettel held the top spot. Would someone else take the glory? Nope. With less than two minutes to go in the session, Vettel snuck up and took a commanding lead.
I’ll spare you the details, but top performers from the first two qualifying session advanced to the third session where the board was wiped clean. Can you guess what happened? Vettel, again, snatched the pole position with minutes to go in session, ruining the hopes of many jaded Formula 1 fans tired of seeing another Vettel parade on race day. Still, attending a Vettel dominated race is much better than not attending at all, right?
We arrived early on Sunday for race day and enjoyed watching two race groups run in support of the Formula 1 big show. Formula Vintage cars took to the track first. An eclectic mix of vintage and historic racecars this group put on a good show, albeit one with a large speed and skill differential. Out front, two Formula Atlantic racecars battled hard for the lead. Towards the middle a couple of stunning Formula B cars provided great photo opportunities harkening back the golden age of open wheel racing. After 8 short laps the race was over.
Shortly following the Formula Vintage race, what seemed like fifty Ferrari Challenge cars grid the main straightaway with much pomp and circumstance. There were scantily clad grid girls. There were more engines revving than in a Fast and Furious movie. There were cars of every color imaginable. This group, consisting of identically prepared Ferrari 458 Challenge cars, showed that wealth and driving talent do not always go hand in hand. The race did, however, make it clear that with enough money you can fix anything.
Upon cresting the hill into turn one on the first lap, one of the front-runners got nudged, putting into motion an entertaining chain of events. The nudged car spun, creating an obstacle to the dozen of cars yet to navigate the turn. Just to add to the excitement the car that initiated the nudge damaged his radiator. In the heat of the moment he proceeded to drive the next several turns spewing slippery-as-ice coolant out of his car. As the cars pirouetted on the spilled coolant all I could think of was the Ferrari boys back in Maranello enthusiastically adding up new parts sales. After the Ferrari Challenge drivers completed their race and sent half a dozen cars to the wrecking yard it was finally time for the Formula 1 race.
At the start of the Formula 1 race there was a bit of shuffling for position. Vettel got his signature jump on the field, but Red Bull teammate Mark Webber who qualified 2nd, slipped back to fourth when Romain Grosjean snuck by in his Lotus and Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes AMG. Things cleared out a bit out front, but soon enough the mid-pack Force India car of Adrian Sutil careened into the wall after a bump with Esteban Gutierrez. Short of a brief yellow flag period, the remainder of the race was rather uneventful.
While the race was uneventful, the pit stops were truly a sight to see. Whereas it might take you 20 minutes to change a flat tire on your car, these teams can change all four tires in under 3 seconds. The Red Bull team did it in 2.3 seconds. Seriously, if you blink you’ll miss a tire change. The pit crew is a well orchestrated machine that practices their craft over and over and over, probably more than your typical pro athlete practices his swing.
One key to their success is their equipment and having everything in the right place. By a stroke of luck we got the opportunity to tour the pits pre-race and get a firsthand look at the equipment and tools at their disposal. I’m guessing that one tire gun costs more than my car.
As the race wound down Vettel maintained an eight second lead over Grosjean, and Webber couldn’t quite bridge the gap to Grosjean. In the end, they maintained these positions at the end.
As quick as the race started, it was over and fans flooded the front straightaway for the awards presentation. As soon as the presentation was over, logistics workers flooded the pits like worker ants with forklifts and airfreight containers. It was truly a site to see and I can only imagine the planning involved to fly the cars and equipment across the world for all 19 races.
All in all it was an incredible experience, unlike any race I had attended before and I look forward to the opportunity to attend another in the near future.
Morrie’s Luxury Auto was proud to be a part of the Art Sol show that recently took place in our community. Julie Ann Witt, owner of Julian Design Inc, and her husband Bob graciously hosted the exhibition in their Orono home with hors d’oeuvre and wine selections from Lakeside Wine & Spirits. Event sponsors included Pure Insurance, PHH Home Loans, Coldwell Banker/Burnet, and of course, Morrie’s Luxury Auto.
All benefits from this event went to The Newborn Foundation, head over to their website to read more about how they provide support, equipment, and logistics to under-equipped domestic and foreign neonatal care facilities. Annamarie Saarinen is the founder of the charity and provides the motivation to help infant survivability wherever it is needed.
Morrie’s Luxury Auto donated the valet service and provided a product demonstration on the 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8, and 2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 to event attendees.The invitations describe Art & Sol as a “privately held, white glove exhibition of over $1 million in hand curated art flown from across the United States and overseas.” We were happy to be a part of such a beautiful event in our community. Make sure to check out the photos below!
We were thrilled to be able to bring you live coverage from the LA Auto Show where we saw hundreds of new vehicles from a number of different brands. We thought you would want to check out some of the luxury vehicles that made an appearance at the show, as well as the latest from Maserati and Bentley.
This year, Bentley presented the all-new Flying Spur at the L.A. Auto Show and displayed the Continental GTC V8 convertible and the flagship Mulsanne.
It was a big week for Maserati at the L.A. Auto Show with the live debut of their 2014 Maserati Ghibli. Although the Ghibli has already landed here at Morrie’s Luxury Auto, we thought you would love to see a few pictures from the unveiling and official debut. Stay tuned to our YouTube page for live video coverage on this beautiful new affordable Maserati.
We also made a stop at Porsche for all you luxury car fans to check out the beautiful 918 Spyder. This hot new vehicle gets its power from a 4.6 liter naturally aspirated V8gasoline engine backed by two electric motors and can achieve 62 mph in just 2.6 seconds! The 918 equipped with the Weissach package recently set a Nurburgring record for fastest street-legal car with a time of 6:57! Porsche will only be producing 918 of these model and each will be numbered on the back of the vehicle. Check out our picture below where you can tell that the one at the Auto Show was number: 000!
When someone offers you a chance to drive a brand new Maserati over a weekend, you’d be a fool to say no. From the moment you slide into the supple Italian leather driver’s seat and press the starter button on the left side of the steering wheel, you know you’re in something special. The twin-turbocharged 3-liter V6 whirrs to life with a guttural roar and quickly settles into a frenzied idle. It’s immediately clear that this engine can trace its heritage back to the Ferrari factory where the heart of this car is built alongside the fiercest engines in Maranello.
Speaking of which, the 3-liter V6 comes with a pair of turbochargers which boost power to 404 bhp and 405 lb-ft of peak torque available all the way from 1750 RPM to 5000 RPM. Although this is a 4,200 lb vehicle, it’s actually 150 lbs lighter than the outgoing model while offering similar power. What that means is that with all this power and style, the 2014 Quattroporte is significantly more fuel efficient than the previous generation, offering 15 city and 24 highway MPG. With the 8-speed ZF transmission, this car is definitely a great highway crusier. The huge range of gears allows for effortless high-speed cruising while sipping fuel. Of course, with the available paddle shifters, you’re never more than a few clicks away from flying at warp speed. On top of all that, the Quattroporte S Q4 features a clever all-wheel drive system that seamlessly transfers torque between the front and rear wheels, ranging from a 50/50 split between the front and rear wheels all the way to 100% of the power being sent to the rear of the car. All of this torque shuffling can be watched in real-time on the full-color instrument cluster display. With winter weather quickly approaching, there’s no doubt that this all-wheel drive system will help power the Quattroporte through all sorts of adverse conditions. In warmer, drier conditions, the Quattroporte S Q4 uses its all-wheel drive and wide, sticky summer tires to blast to 60 MPH in just 4.9 seconds.
While opinions vary on the new Quattroporte’s styling, in my eyes, it’s a much more refined and cohesive design compared to the outgoing model. The signature Maserati grille presents a menacing, snarling face which is framed by LED-lined headlights that give the Quattroporte an angry, aggressive look. It’s certainly more fearsome looking from the front than it is on the swoopy sides and contemporary rear end with quad tailpipes accentuating the wide hips. All in all, it’s an elegant design that exudes class and sets itself apart from the sea of BMW’s, Mercedes, and Audi’s out there. My only gripe is that the long, 125-inch wheelbase and curvaceous fenders are begging for some bigger wheels. Although I love the design of the standard 19-inch wheels, something in the 21 or 22-inch range would suit the car better, in my humble opinion. Luckily, there is an optional 21-inch wheel package available from Maserati that looks fantastic as well.
Turning our attention back to the inside of the Quattroporte, nearly everything you touch is beautifully trimmed in either buttery soft Poltrona Frau leather – which is the same supplier for Ferrari and Bugatti, among others – or suede-like alcantara for the headliner, sun visors, and pillars. Along with the Q4 all-wheel drive system there are four heated seats as well as a heated steering wheel, something I definitely appreciated during the chilly weekend I spent with the Quattroporte. Further down on the dash, we see shiny Erable wood trim – which is also integrated as a ring around the outside of the steering wheel – and a real aluminum bezel around the 8.4-inch touchscreen navigation screen. For those wanting a sportier look, real carbon fiber trim is available as well as three other types of wood including a really unique unfinished, open-pore Radica wood trim. It all adds up to a really nice place for passengers to sit back and relax, or hang on for dear life should you choose to set the engine mapping and suspension into Sport mode and let it rip!
Looking at the Maserati’s family tree, there is now a branch connecting parent company Fiat to Chrysler. The Italian giant took control of Chrysler a couple of years ago as they struggled in bankruptcy. As a result of the acquisition, we now see some parts sharing between Maserati and Chrysler, however the Quattroporte is nothing like Chrysler’s TC by Maserati from the early 1990s that was basically just a tarted-up LeBaron. Instead, Maserati has borrowed Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment platform, now called Maserati Touch Control and featuring navigation by Garmin. Now before you cry out against this parts sharing between the famed Maserati and lowly Chrysler, keep in mind that the Uconnect system is one of the most acclaimed infotainment systems on the market today. What this means is that not only is the infotainment system highly capable but it’s also incredibly user friendly. The 600-watt standard stereo sounded really nice but for those looking for a true world-class audio system, consider the 15-speaker, 1280-watt Bowers & Wilkins speaker package. For those who anticipate frequently driving rear seat passengers around, you may also want to consider the sleek rear seat entertainment system, with or without the folding tables built into the front seat backs. On top of that, there’s also an available WiFi hotspot which is a must for heavy tablet or laptop users.
So what is it actually like to drive a Maserati Quattroporte? Well, despite its size, this thing is built to hustle. Although the sport mode for the exhaust and suspension help contribute to the dynamic feel, I typically found myself driving in the default mode, enjoying the supple suspension and quiet, luxurious cabin. Regardless of the settings, dipping your right foot into the throttle will exude a sonorous crescendo of sound as the punchy V6 winds out to its redline. Although the power delivery is smooth and seamless, this is one car that will definitely push you back into the seat. After posting a few quick cellphone pictures of the Quattroporte on Facebook I suddenly found myself with a lot of friends that inexplicably needed rides and everywhere I went – from the gas stations, to restaurants, and even a simple beer run to the Four Firkins – the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte granted me VIP treatment at every stop. Now try to imagine that happening in your run of the mill BMW 7-Series, Audi A8 or Mercedes S-Class. From the moment you arrive, the Maserati exudes class and exclusivity that is unrivaled in its price range. Speaking of which, the 2014 Quattroporte S features a base price of $102,500. Add in the all-wheel drive and heating package for $4,710 and $1,500 for delivery from Italy and you’ve got a beautifully crafted, exotic sedan for $109,010.
Guest blog post written by: Alex Bellus – a well-known automotive photographer in the Twin Cities area and a frequent attendee of MN C&C at the Automotorplex. He is an Automotive Analyst for IHS Automotive and has a wide range of automotive knowledge. Keep your eye out for his next Blog Post where he will highlight another popular new vehicle!
This weekend Morrie’s Luxury Auto held an exclusive screening of the Formula One Documentary, “1″. This exclusive screening included never before seen archive race footage, the most impressive list of F1 Interviewees ever assembled, and an in depth look at the life of an F1 racer.
We had over 50 attendees that showed up on Friday to enjoy this exclusive showing in an a-typical movie theatre setting. A few historical racers even made an appearance at the event including a 1960 Lotus 19 and a 1969 Brabham BT-29, make sure you check out the photos below.
Guests enjoyed catered appetizers and drinks before the screening began at 7:00pm and then eventually took their seats before the lights dimmed and the movie began. By 8:30 the crowd was applauding and the documentary had finished. Following the screening of the documentary, a Q&A session with “1″ Producer, Michael Schevloff, was held. Fans had the oppertunity to get up close and personal with the man who created the documentary that highlighted the golden era of Grand Prix Racing
The sound system was enough to make attendees feel like they were at a real live F1 race. A projector, Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Series tower speakers & an Amplifier brought this screening to life, adding that movie theatre atmosphere to the show floor. Thanks to everyone who came out and helped to make this event such a great success!
This past weekend Wayzata community members gathered downtown for the 39th annual James J. Hill Days celebration. Since 1975 James J. Hill Days has been celebrated in honor of Mr. Hill himself, owner of the Great Northern Railroad Company and well-known historical figure. Wayzata’s James J. Hill Days is an annual celebration of the town’s history, which thanks to Mr. Hill, is a thriving Lake Minnetonka community.
This was the 5th Annual Wayzata Rotary Charity Motorsports show at James J. Hill days and we were excited to be in attendance once again. There were hundreds of classic, exotic and vintage cars at this year’s show, which by the way was free to the public. From 10am to 4pm attendees walked down Lake St. to enjoy checking out some of the most beautiful vehicles in the Twin Cities Metro.
Money was raised to benefit local and international humanitarian projects by collecting $20 per vehicle displayed at the event. We were proud to be a Platinum Presenting Sponsor once again. Check out some of the photos we captured at this year’s event and make sure to share them with your friends and family! We look forward to seeing you all next year for another successful show!
It was another beautiful Saturday morning at the Automotorplex this weekend for MN C&C! The turnout was great and we saw a lot of great vehicles make it out bright and early for the event. We saw everything from a gorgeous black McLaren to a few Lamborghini’s and of course some timeless classic’s. If you haven’t made it out to this event yet this summer you should definitely mark next month’s date off on your calendar. October is the last event of the season and it is bound to be a busy day at the Automotorplex. Bring out your vehicle or just come as a spectator, either way your sure to have a great time. Stop by the Morrie’s booth to grab your free pair of sunglasses, a cup of coffee, or bottle of water. We have had a great time as usual this summer and look forward to the last event of the season next month. Thanks to all the attendee’s for helping to make MN C&C a success. For more information on the MN C&C event head over to their website.