Maserati has always been about sight and sound, favouring the sensual over the technical. There are plenty of reasons for this as over time the Italian company has battled its demons through a series of owners, living on its brand appeal and Italian feel.
The sixth-generation Quattroporte has consolidated on the successes of the fifth while adding plenty of new goodies. It’s no technological match for the Germans, so it needs to deliver on the Modenese company’s best traits.
The headline figure of $331,000 is extraordinarily difficult to ignore, soaring above the German V8s from BMW (750Li, $312,700), Audi (S8, $280,610) and Mercedes (S500, $319,000).
For the price of a small studio on the outskirts of Sydney (with shared bathroom, obviously), you get a ten speaker stereo, twenty-inch alloys, three zone climate control, blinds on the rear windows and rear windscreen, keyless entry and start, adaptive damping, auto headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera, electric front seats (heated and cooled), heated rear seats, satnav, auto active bi-xenon headlights, leather everywhere, electric everything, sunroof, telematics and wood trim.
There is, of course, a plethora of options, mostly related to the trim (later this year you can specify silk covering on the seats) and you can spend a hell of a lot more there, with your dealer configuring the car on a big screen in a dedicated room at the dealership.
The Quattroporte is a product of Centro Stile under the guiding hand of ex-Pininfarina stylist Lorenzo Ramaciotti. The sixth-generation launched in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and still looks great, with cues from evergreen Gran Turismo.
Proportionally it’s all about that crouching big cat look, with strong haunches and long, muscular bonnet. The cab is a long way back meaning it leans on the short rear, the result being a smallish boot.
As with the lower models in the range, the Quattroporte is refreshingly free of bling and chrome. The GTS rolls on twenty-inch alloys that fill the arches perfectly.
Inside is quite genuinely beautiful. The shapes aren’t daring but the workmanship and detailing is stunning. This is where the Quattroporte – and Maserati – pulls ahead of its German rivals. The big comfortable seats manage to be supportive for all sizes. The seats are low to maximise headroom and that sports car feeling.
The rear seats are a work of art. They’re quietly stylish and wonderfully put together and handcrafted. Your feet, should you have the foresight to remove your shoes, sink into deep carpets that feel amazing.
Leather covers most surfaces and the quality is clear from the touch.
So it’s pretty nice. The only letdown is the disappointing penny-pinching of the UConnect screen and some of the chrome pieces are plasticky.
Six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, brake assist, brake force distribution, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
There is no ANCAP or EuroNCAP safety rating for the Quattroporte.
The seven-inch UConnect touchscreen is two of the very few bad things in the Maserati cabin. It’s two bad things because it is lifted straight from an older Fiat Chrysler group car and it’s not very nice to look at.
Once you’re past those two problems (and few of us will recognise the first), you will cheerfully work your way through the odd menus. It’s still a damn sight better than Lexus or Infiniti units, though which are basically unusable.
Sound from the ten speaker stereo is powerful and clear, with enough oomph to fill the huge cabin.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
The GTS scores an upgrade to the Ferrari-derived 3.8-litre V8. Aided by twin turbos, the engine produces 390kW and 650Nm, hauling the QP’s 1951kg to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds.
Power hits the road via the rear wheels and is sent that way via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Maserati claims 10.7 L/100km on combined cycle and, bizarrely, we only missed by about fifteen percent, using just over 12 L/100km, admittedly with a long run up to the Blue Mountains on a sunny Saturday.
For about 99.9 percent of the time, the GTS is, fundamentally, fantastic. Whether you’re cruising around or leaning hard on the throttle, the QP responds in just the way you might expect from a Maserati but less an almost two-tonne sedan. It rides beautifully on most surfaces, the tyres biting when you really want them to.
A recent refresh has calmed the ride in standard mode and added a bit more aggro in sport mode. You control the suspension mode separately from the powertrain’s sport mode, meaning you can cruise down the boulevards of Bondi or Bacchus Marsh with a lovely V8 burble as accompaniment.
Sadly, you won’t hear much because the double-glazed acoustic glass keeps all the good stuff out of the cabin. Despite being Ferrari’s handiwork, it’s not the bonkers high-revving V8 from the Gran Turismo. That probably wouldn’t suit this car one little bit.
The twin turbos bring all that torque on smoothly and without fuss, the weight of the car falling away as you sink the accelerator. It’s always going to feel its 5.3 metres and almost two metre width, though, but the steering masks much of that.
The electric steering is, again, for the most part excellent but it gets a strange shimmer when going over transverse ridging. It’s not constant or even annoying, just odd.
SUMMING UP 4/5
The Quattroporte GTS takes all the strengths of V6-powered cars and adds the V8 punch and (quiet) soundtrack. The huge wheels fail to ruin the ride – a complaint of the earlier iteration – and you’re not buying a Maserati for the high-tech toys.
It’s old-fashioned in the sense that you relax into the leather and enjoy the ride, whether you’re steering or lounging about. It’s a cliché, but every time you step into a Maserati it’s an event and that’s where your money goes.
LIKES: terrific engine, great handling, beautiful interior…
DISLIKES: …except for the UConnect system, weird steering feedback, missing some luxo-tech