The Maserati Quattroporte has character, balance and a wonderful engine, but its ride and gearbox mean it’s ultimately flawed.
What is it?
After five years on sale, the Quattroporte has been given a mild facelift and the option of a new range-topping model, equipped with a 424bhp 4.7-litre engine.
External changes include new bumpers front and rear, new sill covers and new front and rear light clusters which have been updated with LED indicators and (at the rear) LED brake and fog lights. New ‘V-style’ 19in alloys and new rear view mirrors complete the exterior package.
The standard equipment list is extensive and includes leather, sat-nav, Bose surround sound and a 30Gb hard drive, double-glazing and Bi-Xenon lights.
What’s it like?
The core of the new Quattroporte S is the new 424bhp 4.7-litre V8 motor. Compared to the 4.2-litre V8, this delivers a handy extra amount of power across the rev range from 2300rpm and there’s an even greater improvement in torque delivery.
This is a fantastically well-balanced car. In normal conditions it’s very stable and well planted on the motorway and delivers huge confidence during high-speed overtaking on normal roads.
But on the tight and winding roads of the Bavarian Alps, the Quattroporte stands out for its superb balance. The chassis is exceptionally neutral and manages to hold off hints of over- and under-steer, and body roll is well-restrained. The steering impresses because it is so easy to accurately place this big, wide car on the road.
The Maserati is also very easy to drive quickly - and it does enjoy blistering overtaking performance. With ‘Sport’ mode selected there’s not much need for manually shifting the six-speed auto ‘box, and in truth it’s a joy to wind along on a flowing back road.
Faults? The ride is not great on broken road surfaces, and even on better roads the chassis can set up a shimmering, choppy motion, which might also betray a lack of stiffness in the body. Some interior fittings are too plastic-intensive and I found the seats pretty uncomfortable.
Should I buy one?
Overall, this car is quick, handsome and beautifully balanced. The few rough edges are likely to be forgiven by owners. The Quattroporte might still benefit from a final polish, but it has the feel of a genuinely exotic machine.