Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar In This Special Letter from Europe

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by Andrew Frankl
European Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

Special dear readers because in all the years of driving automobiles I have never ever had a summer like this.

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This year, because of a rather wonderful wedding in the family I had no time to stop in London, it was a matter of a mad dash to catch the last plane to Nice and on to Monaco for the 47th consecutive time.

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There, waiting for me was Maserati’s latest Quattroporte, an amazing car with a huge Ferrari engine under the hood. Getting past slower traffic was not a problem and I am stating the obvious. The car is a direct rival to Jaguar XF with an equally powerful V8 engine. The Jag looks sweet and innocent until you get going and then you are in Supercar territory. Beats the BMW M5 hands down. Loved it, in fact loved both cars.

The exotica-two Lambos and a brand new Ferrari F12 were something else. The Aventadors-spider and coupe -are for people of a certain age who can climb into the cockpit. Once in both are amazing, very very quick, dare I say insanely quick. Not for the faint hearted. V 12 engine, best part of 700 (yes) horsepower, all wheel drive, amazing. Just don’t look for creature comforts beyond the very comfortable seats and as for luggage-forget it. But on a sunny afternoon in Tuscany with the top off it would be impossible to beat except maybe in a Ferrari 458 spider. There are automobiles only the folks in and around Modena and Bologna can build. Long may it continue.

When we drove into one of the tunnels side by side with 1400 horses at our disposal the sound was something else. A Ferrari F12 and a Lamborghini Aventador emerging from the darkness at something like 130 miles per hour, huge fun. Of course both cars were as steady as a rock as you would expect.

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The “other “ Jaguar” was an XJ diesel and a very fine car that was too except that for me it was one size too big. Logic dictates the XF with the diesel engine, the consumption is nothing short of miraculous but it will never replace a V8 with 500 horses for a true enthusiast, especially one who can afford the gas bill.

So coming back to Marin County in a Nissan Quest might seem like a disappointment but truth be told it is a great deal more sensible at a fraction of the cost of all the Italian exotica. Although the sticker price did come as a bit of a shock at over 42 thousand dollars the truth of the matter is that literally everything is included so it isn’t a question of an extra 3 thousand for this or another 2000 for that, something owners of German cars are very familiar with.

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Actually the Quest was more Infinity than Nissan with first class finish and a very attractive interior. If I were Nissan I would seriously consider a diesel which would dramatically improve the fuel consumption. Modern diesels are so good that most people wouldn’t even notice the difference. It was certainly hard to tell in the Jaguar.

It’s good to be back. I am currently working flat out on my latest book entitled Frankly Frankl-the life and times of an automotive journalist. If you would like to be posted drop me an e mail to Without any obligation of course.

See you next month. AF

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