Love at first sight

| C Hung 17 Nov 2017

Maserati Hong Kong organized an invitation-only event in association with abstract specialist Parkview Art recently at the brand's flagship showroom in Kowloon Bay.

It was a great networking opportunity as guests had at least one hobby in common: art or luxury automobiles.

In addition to executives from Auto Italia, the brand's official importer, the new management of Maserati South- East Asia Pacific was also present, including general manager Amaury La Fonta, a modern art lover.

"I've spent some great times in art galleries in Wong Chuk Hang," he said, although he was quick to admit that he was just trying to know more about the local art scene.

La Fonta joined Maserati in 2012, when it was about to introduce the sixth- generation Quattroporte and the brand started a significant turnaround with a generation of new models in the pipeline. He assumed his Hong Kong-based position in July.

"The GranTurismo was one of the reasons I'm with Maserati today," he said, calling it "love at first sight" of the four-seater while glancing over at the newly updated GranTurismo on display that evening.

The snappy dresser, who was with Cartier and several jewelry and accessories brands before joining the Trident family, referred to the latest GranTurismo (HK$2.088 million for the red version) as "reloaded" versions with new electronics and infotainment system.

The duo's wheels and body parts has also undergone "quite a change."

Paris-born La Fonta said he could only pretend to be Italian, but he knows the merits of Maserati, a brand that insists on 100 percent production in the country.

"Maserati has this style, edge and creativity. They are cars with soul, not computers on wheels," he stressed. "Our customers like the car control, refinement and the fact that they can enjoy the driving pleasure through the connection with engine sound."

Maserati is built on several pillars, he said, referring to heritage, craftsmanship, performance, distinctiveness, engine sound, and above all seductive Italian design.

Many Maserati automobiles use engines built in Maranello by Ferrari. "Not many brands have this luxury," he said.

Guests were also greeted by the new Levante S GranSport, equipped with a three-liter twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine capable of producing 430hp. Made in a dedicated production section in FCA Group's Mirafiori plant outside Turin, the Levante SUV first made its public debut in the SAR last year, when only a diesel engine version was available at launch.

The car importer confirmed that all diesel Levantes have been delivered to customers long before the arrival of the new, more powerful Levante S GranSport (HK$1.488 million). La Fonta believes the SUV will account for half of the brand's sales.

The GranSport trim signifies a more dynamic set up and a new level of equipment.

The MY18 Levante has adopted a new electric power steering, along with an updated multimedia system, an enhanced advanced driver assistance system and an impressive range of features.

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