Local auto sales just shifted into the fast lane with the recent opening of a Maserati dealership at 1026 Post Road East.

The dealer showcases four models by the luxury Italian car maker: the Ghibli, the Quattroporte, the three convertible S-models of which the MC is the top of the line, and the fourth is the GT-coupe that has both hard-top and convertible models.

The Ghibli line starts at a base price of $79,000, the Quattroporte's base price is $107,000, while the convertibles start at $147,000. Maserati sold about 36,500 cars last year, with 12,943 sales in the U.S.

Baily Vanneck, the general manager, is optimistic about the new Westport dealership. "It's such a great town with the Little Barn and Carvel across the street, and we are excited to be here. We saw the Maserati brand as the perfect fit. So far we've met a lot of great people who have test driven cars -- and we've sold four cars in a week and a half."

The local dealership has "a fully operational service facility including two bays for technicians, people can drop their car off and take a loner car," Vanneck added.

Maserati of Westport is owned by Miller Motorcars based in Greenwich, which is the only authorized dealer for such high-end brands in Connecticut as Maserati, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin.

The new location employs seven people, including sales, reception and service personnel.

Early next year, Maserati plans to introduce the Levante SUV full-size crossover in the U.S. market, its fastest-growing segment.

Maserati of Westport's sales manager Tim Coughlin can be reached at 203-395-0069. The dealership web addresses are www.maseratiofwestport.com and www.millermotorcars.com.