Maserati’s alternative to a Ferrari with four seats is the Quattroporte. A luxurious, super saloon that has that missing “something special” that comes from driving an Italian super car.
The Quattroporte has been around for nearly half a century and the model we are looking at today is the fifth generation where Maserati really have pulled out the stops and got the car “spot on”. An original design investment of £140 million didn’t make this car perfect and it has taken a number of years to get to the quality of the latest generation. Most complaints from customers and reviewers were aimed at the rather clunky “DuoSelect” automated manual gearbox but thankfully this was rectified in 2008 with the launch of a face lifted model that was not beautifully combined with a new six-speed ZF gearbox.
Starting the Quattroporte brings a smile to anyone’s face as the lengthy starter whine ignites that wonderful V8 Engine bringing with it a grumbled exhaust note before settling down into a more subtle tone. There are three V8 units to choose from, a 4.2-litre 400bhp, a 4.7-litre with 425bhp S model or the 4.7-litre 433bhp Sport GT S if you really want to take things to the max. The S model we are looking at today with 425bhp will take the Quattroporte from standstill to sixty miles per hour in just 5.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 174mph.
As well as having an absolutely great engine the Quattroporte can more than deal with its rivals when it comes to handling, it would be very difficult to imagine a BMW 7-series or Mercedes S-Class handling corners like the Quattroporte can. Maserati’s adaptive damping system can sense body movement and react accordingly to keep the car level through bends with demanding turn-in. Traction is fantastic to if you are brave enough to turn off the MPS traction control and stability system and want to throw the car around a track. Obviously this comes with a small price to pay, that being that the ride quality isn’t quite up to Limousine standard but when driving a car like this… who cares?
You can’t really go wrong when choosing which Quattroporte derivative to buy apart from making the mistake of opting for the “DuoSelect” automated manual gearbox which is still available on the entry level model. The main difference between the “DuoSelect” and the new ZF-Gearbox is the change of gear. With the “DuoSelect” it can be quite jerky in automatic mode and this is eliminated with the newer ZF-Gearbox.
The Quattroporte is as close as it gets to having two cars in one. You can drive it relaxed in automatic mode and enjoy the Italian luxury and build quality that has gone into the production or open the windows flick through the gears yourself with the lovely designed paddle shifts, put your foot down and enjoy the growl of that gorgeous V8 engine.
Spec and luxury go hand in hand with the Quattroporte just as you would expect from an Italian supercar. The finest leather, a massage as you drive or maybe sit in the back and watch a DVD in the reclining rear seats and enjoy a chilled drink from the centre storage box resting on a pull-out wooden table.
One thing you might need to consider when buying a Quattroporte is the size of your garage. The Pininfarini designed car is seriously long with a length of over five metres it is longer than a BMW 7-Series, Wider than a Mercedes S-Class and yet lower than a Jaguar XJ.
Inside the cabin is spacious with plenty of room for both front and rear passengers to stretch out in comfort although the car is really better designed for carrying just four occupants.
As mentioned previously there are three different engines to choose from all offering exceptional performance. It can be said that on paper a BMW 750i or Mercedes S500 would match the Quattroporte in straight line speed but on the road the sound and handling of the Maserati is in a league of its own with its rivals coming nowhere close.
Specification is obviously high regardless of the model you choose with the cabin benefiting from the highest quality materials and lovely design touches. Satnav, high-end audio with a 30GB hard disk and USB interface and Bluetooth hands-free for your phone are all standard equipment.
If you are looking for something that will turn heads and spending £80,000 – £90,000 on a luxury saloon isn’t a problem you can’t really go wrong with the Quattroporte. You can enjoy the fantastic performance, be the envy of most in car parks and chill out with the lovely specification and quality of cabin. Its German rivals don’t come close to being quite as ice cool.