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IS IT REAL? Feel free to bring your checkbook to the Detroit auto show. Maserati representatives told us that the Quattroporte Sport GT S is officially on sale.

WHAT THEY SAID “The Quattroporte Sport GT S is one of Maserati’s answers to the tough times facing the world,” said Harald J. Wester, chief executive of Maserati. “Possibly what was suitable in 2008 will not be relevant in 2009.”

WHAT THEY DIDN’T SAY The existing Maserati Quattroporte Sport has a 425-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8 engine and costs $125,750. The new Quattroporte Sport GT S has eight additional horsepower (433), and costs roughly $8,000 more. That averages to nearly $1,000 for each additional horse.

WHAT MAKES IT TICK? The 4.7-liter V-8 engine found in any Quattroporte has an exhaust note so good it should be bottled up and sold. Maserati claims that the Quattroporte Sport GT S is capable of going from 0 to 60 5.1 seconds and can reach a top speed of 177 mile an hour. In addition to the modest power boost over other models, the Sport GT S has sportier (i.e. lowered) suspension, along with an improved 6-speed automatic transmission.

HOW MUCH, HOW SOON? The Quattroporte Sport GT S is priced at $133,700 and is on sale now. Factor in gas-guzzler tax and destination charges — strangely left out of the sticker price of the car in Detroit — and the price jumps to $138,100.

HOW’S IT LOOK? It’s hard being cynical when a car is as come hither as the Quattroporte. The lines of this sleek sports sedan are aging as gracefully as a leggy Italian supermodel.

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