A large, stylish, upmarket sports saloon with a fiery Ferrari-inspired engine producing over 400hp to give a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds – what’s not to like? So why are these cars not a commoner sight on the roads – that’s what AutoNews set out to find out……….
On first acquaintance, this is a big car – almost 5.3 metres long, 2.1 metres wide and weighing 1,860kg, almost identical dimensionally to the long wheelbase Jaguar XF. And yet it does not look ungainly in the way that the big cat can from certain angles: the stylists have done an excellent job of disguising the bulk of this Italian stallion. Unusually, the car looks just as good from the rear as the front – it does seem that, for too many cars nowadays, the stylists seem to exhaust all their creative efforts on the front of the car, leaving some rear views to look, well, a bit like the back end of a bus!
Fit & finish, as you would expect from an £80k motor, were impeccable, with tight shut-lines and beautiful detailing abounding. The interior is a model of opulence, with high-quality leather. Interestingly, whilst many manufacturers have moved away from offering wood trim in favour of piano black, faux carbon fibre and the like, Maserati have remained faithful to good old tree-wood trim, and the car is all the better for it, as it gives a veneer (sorry!) of sophistication that the trendy alternatives cannot match, at least in my opinion.
On the road, and given its bulk, you could be forgiven for thinking that it would be more than a bit unwieldy. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and that sumptuous driver’s seat serves to instantly make you feel as one with the car (eat your heart out Mazda, with your “Jinbai Attai” – this is how it’s done!).
As with most supercars nowadays, the Quattroporte was reassuring easy to drive, pulling away smoothly and easily, with gearshifts being all but imperceptible through the superb 8-speed ZF transmission which, although shared with a number of other premium cars these days, felt to have had an extra level of sophistication applied to developing the smooth shifting. Stopping was equally effortless, thanks to the huge Brembo brakes.
Initial driving was carried out, at Maserati’s request, in ICE mode, which stands for Increased Control & Efficiency. This softens the throttle pedal response, smooths out the gearshifts, and keeps the active exhaust closed. Even in this mode, however, the horizon arrived remarkably quickly when the throttle was opened, accompanied by a throaty but subdued growl just to remind the driver of the car’s sporting heritage. Amazingly, for such a big car being driven so enthusiastically, the dashboard computer was doing its best at keeping the fuel consumption above 30 mpg.
Several other driving modes are available, including Sport which as you would expect sharpens up everything softened by ICE, as well stiffening the suspension, and actuating the automatic exhaust flaps. In truth however, dynamically the car seemed little changed from ICE mode, probably because of the need to adhere to speed limits.
In either mode, the ride quality was superb, and easily the equal of the big Jag, whilst the steering was incredibly confidence-inspiring – this is a car you can either drive hard & fast or alternatively waft along in more relaxed mood.
The worst thing about testing such exciting motors is the need to hand them back afterwards, and the Quattoporte was no exception. Even though the model tested was the base model of the range, it still provides exhilarating luxury transport at a price similar to equivalent cars from arguably less exotic brands. That twin-turbo 3 litre V6, shared with and built by Ferrari, is a cracker, indeed probably endows the Quattroporte S with better handling than the higher spec variants with their heavier V8 engines.
In this, Maseratis centenary year, it was a privilege to be given the opportunity to drive it – thank you Maserati.
Interested? Find out more at the Maserati Quattroporte website here.