As the country battles with economic decline, the Italian government are splashing out on Maseratis.
In what can only be described as a case of bad-timing, the Italian defense ministry has ordered a fleet of armored Maseratis when the country is in the midst of a fierce austerity drive. Opposition MPs are expectedly outraged and raising the matter in parliament Emanuele Fiano said: "At a time when millions of Italians are being affected by a very serious economic crisis, is there good reason for the defense minister to feel it necessary to add 19 armored Maseratis to the ministry's car park?"
In reply, defence minister Ignazio La Russa said: "What's the problem? Maseratis are Italian and they cost less than their German equivalents." Fair comment given the the Danish PM favors an armored Mercedes S-Class, as does the Greek and Dutch governments. Audi fans include the Spanish Prime Minister who uses an Audi A8L and, as you would expect, the German government. True to their roots, British PM David Cameron is chauffeured around in an armored 2010 Jaguar XJ, and President Obama uses the famous custom-built Cadillac One limousine.
The reported Quattroporte Sport GT S models feature a 434hp 4.7-liter V8, sprinting from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds. The armored versions are burdened with extra weight however, with estimates that each unit weighs in at 3,300kg (7,275 lbs) and priced at over 200,000 Euros. Mr. Berlusconi has thus forked out 3.8 million Euros on these state vehicles, which are sure to give him ample protection when travelling to important state meetings and when chaperoning one of his many fresh-faced one-night stands.