NYIAS object of envy number one: Maserati GranTurismo

There was plenty of drool to mop up in the high-end carmaker booths at this week’s auto show in New York. Ferrari showcased its aggressive 599 GTB Fiorano, Lamborghini presented its breathtaking Gallardo Superleggerra, and Bentley pulled the white cloth off its soon-to-be-released Brooklands coupe. But on the floor and in the press room, most critics were in agreement: the six-figure car to take home was the Maserati GranTurismo.

Debuted in Geneva and making its first appearance on U.S. shores, the GranTurismo is a high-design update to the Quattroporte. The touch of legendary designer Pinanfarina is evident in the rounder, more flamboyant curves in the front and rear. A wider grille seems to smile out at you in beaming pride. And inside, luxurious hand-crafted Italian leather as far as the eye can see.

Balance is the big performance factor for this car. The revised 4.2 V8 engine, producing 405 hp at 7,100 rpm, sits low behind the front axle. That gives the GranTurismo a weight distribution of 49% front and 51% rear, suited to the racing heritage its name implies.

Maserati hasn’t set a price, but says the GranTurismo will go for just more than the Quattroporte – which has a $115,900 base. In a marketing tie-in that suggests an appeal to female drivers, the company is throwing in a set of luggage from luxury designer Ferragamo. The car hits showrooms in the fourth quarter this year.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.