All-new design, but unmistakably Maserati in its aggressive Italian lines

All-new design, but unmistakably Maserati in its aggressive Italian lines

Though most think of Maserati as a maker of sports coupes, the Italian company is exceptionally strong in the four-door sports-sedan field. Indeed it even names the model under review here quite simply ‘Maserati four-door’ – because that’s what Quattroporte means in Italian, ‘quattro’ is four, ‘porte’ is door.

Such is the musical sound of the Italian language that Quattroporte sounds hot and sporting when applied to a four-door sedan – we love that!

The all-new Maserati Quattroporte was launched in Italy early in 2013 and it had been hoped the first imports would have reached us downunder last June. Such has been the demand for the new model that Australia, and other right-hand drive countries, have been constantly getting pushed down the ‘to-do’ list at the factory. The excuse being that the production line could move faster if left and right drive weren’t mixed together.

Maserati_Quattroporte_rearAnyhow, the new Maser Quattroporte is finally here and we have just spent a great day’s driving on coastal roads south of Sydney then up into the scenic Southern Highlands behind them.

Maserati is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014, having raced cars for many years before getting into building them for the public. As it enters its second century it has ambitions of becoming a major player in the sports sedan, coupe and convertible arenas. Naturally, style is of vital importance.

Maserati_Quattroporte_frontThough this is an all-new design, the latest Quattroporte is instantly recognisable as being a Maserati. The lines are sharper than before, the grille is larger than ever, but the long bonnet and pronounced rear haunches leave no doubt which marque you’re admiring.

Wheels come in a variety of sizes, from 19 to 21 inches and in several styles. There’s even a choice of colours on the brake calipers – very Italian.

Inside, there’s a big emphasis on quality and luxury in material and design. An analogue clock is a central feature, as it has been for many decades. The dash areas, central console and trim are available in a wide selection of materials and colours. Call into your local Maserati dealer to get details on how you can commission your car. Get in quickly because the first shipment of Aussie cars will soon hit the assembly line and is all-but sold out in advance.

Sadly, the big naturally aspirated V8 engine is gone, replaced by a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 putting out 525 horsepower (390 kilowatts in Australian terms) with huge torque of up to 710 Newton metres, the latter on overboost.

MaseratiQuattroporte_GTS_V8_Engine_0002The engine is a Maserati design, by a former Ferrari F1 engine guy. While it’s made by Ferrari, the engine is unique to the Maserati marque.

This powerplant sits in front of a new eight-speed automatic transmission that’s engineered for hard and fast changes with sporting driving in mind. However, it can be toned down electronically for those times when sedate cruising is desired.

The good news is that the engine has huge performance, being able to push this large sedan – it’s longer than a Holden Caprice – from rest to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 307 km/h.

There’s seemingly endless torque after mild turbo lag has passed and overtaking acceleration is particularly impressive.

The bad news is that the new Maserati V8 engine isn’t as raw and raucous as the outgoing naturally-aspirated V8. The sound of that car was our all-time favourite. Turbocharging tends to dull the exhaust note of any engine and the added sophistication built into this upmarket Maserati sedan prevents some of the aural input entering the cabin.

Maserati says it won’t resort to what it calls ‘gimmicks’ being used by other makers to funnel the best sounds into their cars’ cabins, but we’re not sure they will stick with that decision…

MaseratiQuattroporteS_V6_00013Fuel consumption is officially 11.8 litres per hundred kilometres, but during our testing, and that for the 1850 km on the dial before we got into the Quattroporte, it never dropped below 17 litres. Okay it was driven hard, but isn’t that the treatment most Maseratis receive?

Suspension design is extremely impressive. Despite this two-tonne car being able to grip with the sort of ferocity that once required a full-on racing machine it retains comfort and equanimity almost to limo levels. On really harsh roads you could hear the suspension working, but none of the expected lumps and bumps in the surface reached us inside the car.

MaseratiQuattroporte_GTS_V8_Wheel - 21inchSUMMING UP
Maserati sits in an interesting spot in the Australian performance-sedan arena. At $319,800 plus on-road charges, it’s far more expensive than HSV, and a bit pricier than the Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche and Mercedes models. Meaning the Italian machine has quite a sizeable niche to itself. Something else that makes it well worth considering is that the Quattroporte is right out of the ordinary in Australia.

Prices are $240,000 for the 3.0-litre V6 Quattroporte S and $319,800 for the 3.8-litre V8 Quattroprte GTS. Note that these prices do not include dealer and government charges. Contact your nearest Maserati dealer for driveaway prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *