The Maserati Quattroporte has character, balance and a wonderful engine, but its ride and gearbox mean it’s ultimately flawed.
What is it?
A more overtly sporting version of the beautiful Quattroporte, designed to get the driver more involved in the action while still providing all the trappings of a luxury saloon.
Maserati hasn’t touched the snarling 4.2-litre V8 (mated to the excellent six-speed ZF auto only); instead, it has directed all of its efforts towards improving feel and creating a car with uncompromising dynamic behaviour.
This has been achieved by ditching the regular Quattroporte’s adjustable Skyhook dampers in favour of sportier fixed-rate Bilsteins, fitting stiffer springs, lowering the ride height and uprating the front brakes to 360mm carbon-ceramic discs and six-piston calipers courtesy of Brembo. The wheels are 20s, fitted with purpose-built tyres.
Inside, the front seats have been reshaped, there’s carbonfibre trim on the console and dash, and the leather upholstery is joined by lashings of Alcantara, including on the steering wheel.
What’s it like?
Don’t let the fact that the GTS has an auto ‘box fool you; this is no wafter. It feels remarkably crisp and agile for a near two-tonne car, with aggressive steering response and a flat cornering stance.
Ride quality is firm but not out of order, and the brake pedal is hard and short in travel, if highly effective. No question, this is a car that responds well to being driven with enthusiasm, although there’s a risk that its slightly highly strung nature might get tiresome when it hits UK roads.
The unchanged Ferrari-built 4.2-litre V8 works so well with the paddle-controlled ZF auto (here with extra-crisp shifts) that you never find yourself wishing for the clunkier DuoSelect ’box. It sounds glorious under acceleration, although it could do with more low-down torque; it’s a bit irritating to have to drop a couple of gears to accelerate briskly at motorway speeds.
Should I buy one?
While the GTS still lacks the poise and polish of an Audi S8, no other saloon offers the level of driver involvement that you get with the Maserati, combined with so much luxurious style.
To most people the idea of a ‘hardcore’ luxury saloon may seem like a contradiction in terms, but the GTS just about pulls it off. It is very desirable and much more rewarding for the driver than most cars of this type.