Italian automaker Maserati, hoping to expand its appeal in the U.S. and avoid an image as only a fair-weather machine, is setting up winter driving schools at several ski resorts that give well-heeled prospects a chance to pilot a Maserati with all-wheel drive.
You sign up and head out for 20 or 30 minutes driving a Maserati Ghibli S Q4 or Quattroporte S Q4. Of course, you won’t be heading out alone. You’ll have a Maserati wingman who is there to be sure you understand all the features — certainly not to moderate your driving. The rep will guide you to a particularly snowy patch of road where you can get on the gas and feel the AWD Q4 system work.
Upon your return, you can kick back and relax at a luxury hotel or take a ski run or two if you haven’t had enough adrenaline for one day.
Maserati’s hope, of course, is that you’ll become a customer. But the bigger idea is to make sure you don’t get the notion that Maseratis are useful only when the sun’s shining. BMW had a bad snow rep some years ago and it’s taken a very long time, and numerous AWD models, to dampen that criticism. So we’ll see how many Maserati winter driving events it takes to the job, as well. But we have to admit this looks fun to us, and who wouldn’t enjoy a turn on the snow in a twin-turbocharged V6 engine with up to 404 horsepower.
Last year Maserati had a record sales year. In 2014, Maserati sold approximately 36,500 cars worldwide, an increase of 136% compared to 2013 and almost 6 times the sales figure for 2012.