Not unlike other exotic Italian marques, Maserati has a tendency to dramatize the offering of any slight variation of its cars just a bit. It's somewhat excusable when you consider that, aside from the MC12 supercar, their line-up consists essentially of two models. But while it'd be all too easy to overlook and dismiss the launch of the Quattroporte Automatic, for Maserati this is more than just a new transmission – the newest offering from the Trident marque represents Maserati's venture into the mainstream. It's a bit sad in a way, that even under the wing of the all-conquering Fiat conglomerate, a brand like Maserati can't remain a niche marque. But in the "real world" even the fabled Trident brand needs to turn a profit to stay afloat, so they saddle that screaming Italian V8 with a torque converter for smoother shifting in the hope of attracting customers who'd otherwise buy a Jaguar or a BMW.
Maserati delivered the first seventy Quattroporte sedans equipped with the ZF-sourced transmission to European dealers just two short weeks after its official unveiling at the Detroit auto show. The ceremony took place in the picturesque courtyard at the military academy in Modena, near the Maserati factory. While we can't quite get our heads around the idea of Cadillac, for example, presenting their latest sedan at West Point, the Italians (with good reason) take real pride in their automobiles – plus it made for a beautiful photo-op, and we've got the shots for you in the gallery (and the release after the jump).