The Frua-styled 260bhp quad-cam V8 Maserati Quattroporte 1 was 1963’s fastest four-door. With a heavy Bertone body and 190bhp V6, its 1975 successor attracted just five buyers in two years.

A year on and the Quattroporte 3 revived V8 power and rear drive. With a new name – Royale – the ItalDesign-penned car soldiered on until 1987. There followed a seven-year wait for the Quattroporte 4 designed by Gandini, whose turbocharged V6 and V8 engines kept it alive until 2001.

So hopes were high when the Quattroporte 5 was launched in 2004 as a rival to the likes of the Mercedes E63 and S63 AMG, Jaguar XJR and the breathtaking BMW M5.

To truly take them on, however, the Quattroporte needs to combine sports car handling and limousine luxury, while retaining the unique character of Maserati.

The range now comprises four variants: the standard 4.2-litre Quattroporte, the 4.7-litre S, the Sport GT and Sport GT S – the latter is the most powerful saloon the company has ever built.

Top 5 Luxury

  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    'Sporty' Mercedes have a three-pointed badge in the grille. Luxury Benzes get a three-pointed star atop the grille

    Mercedes-Benz S-Class

  • Range Rover has a maximum wading depth of 900mm

    Range Rover

  • Tesla Model S
    The Tesla Model S is an upmarket rear-wheel-drive electric saloon

    Tesla Model S

  • The latest XJ is a big departure from its predecessor, stylistically

    Jaguar XJ

  • Audi A8
    The third generation Audi A8 is the best yet - and by some margin

    Audi A8


First drives


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    27 November 2015
    We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45
    First Drive
    27 November 2015
    Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Alpina’s D3 saloon and estate benefit from the latest BMW 3 Series updates. We've always loved it, but is it still as beguiling as ever in this latest form?