From £70,2707
Full-house Quattroporte is an ambitious, appealing effort, but has a few too many flaws to rank among the class’s best

Our Verdict

Maserati Quattroporte

Maserati hopes this new sixth-generation four-door will boost its sales, but does it offer the necessary blend of performance and comfort?

What is it?

Maserati’s flagship of flagships – the range-topping Quattroporte GTS. A 523bhp Ferrari-made 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine makes this the fastest and most powerful Maserati saloon ever built, and the near-£110k price tag positions it well inside exotic territory.

This is a car of real sporting ambition, from a company with equally ambitious designs on global sales growth. And having driven it in Europe last year, now’s our chance to find out how well it stands up in right-hand drive form, and on British roads.

What's it like?

It’s big. Huge, frankly. Those who’ve taken their eye off the Maserati model range these last couple of years may be quite taken aback at how big the Quattroporte has become.

While the last one bridged medium- and full-sized executive saloon dimensions, the new one has a wheelbase of 3171mm – longer, even, than even the long-wheelbase versions of the Mercedes S-class and Jaguar XJ. There’s certainly no mistaking the stature of this sharp-suited Italian now, nor any way to ignore its dominant presence in the car park.

Based on Maserati’s own aluminium platform and built in a factory formerly owned by Bertone in Turin, the Quattroporte has all-independent suspension, and an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF driving the rear wheels.

‘Skyhook’ adaptive damping is standard, likewise 20in alloy wheels with 285-section tyres at the rear, and iron brake discs measuring 380mm up front. The car bucks the modern trend for fuel-saving electromechanical power steering, though, by featuring a speed-sensitive hydraulic power steering system.

And it looks great. The Quattroporte’s exterior styling mixes visual muscle with elegant refinement effectively enough to easily distinguish the car from the more ordinary premium-branded German options. Frameless doors, combined with Maserati’s characteristically generous use of chrome, lend a particularly classy appearance.

Inside, there is space to stretch out in in both rows – something the old Quattroporte never offered. But the impression of class evident externally wears a bit thin as you interact with the car’s systems, and fiddle with its fixtures and fittings.

Material quality levels are far from poor, but compared to some of the best-constructed saloons in the world – the cars the Quattroporte must directly compete with – they’re disappointing. The leather upholstery is rich and pleasant, the seats large and comfortable, and equipment levels are good.

There’s just not the same painstaking attention-to-detail you find in a Mercedes S-class here, nor even a BMW 7-series. The switchgear looks plain and feels ordinary; there are too many plasticky trims on the fascia than any £100k car can get away with; and the factory-fit sat nav looks and feels like an oversized, overworked aftermarket addition.

Such things, perhaps, can be overlooked in a sporting saloon with more dynamic talents. And the Quattroporte has its charms as a driver’s car, no question. Not just big on performance, it’s also got grip and chassis balance to rival a much smaller sporting four-door, and communicative steering.

But its driving experience has some distracting quirks; flies in the ointment that make the car that telling little bit less intuitive to drive, and less relaxing over long distances, than it ought to be.

Maserati’s turbo V8 issues a subtly mellifluous warble under load. It’s pleasing to listen to, torquey enough through the mid-range to make for easy overtaking cross-country, and powerful enough overall to make the Quattroporte deceptively rapid. A Jaguar XJR is noisier and feels marginally quicker, but neither by much.

What the XJR does much better than the Quattroporte is to juggle smoothness, refinement, stability and consistency of response against the need for directional agility and big-hitting performance. The Maserati corrects one of the old Quattroporte’s big flaws in as much as it rides decently enough.

Leave the dampers in normal mode and the car handles most UK surfaces quite well. It’s compliant enough on the motorway and in town, and taut enough on a backroad – though it does occasionally get caught out by a sharp ridge.

The car’s steering is weighty and offers dependable feedback from the front wheels, and it allows you to tap into a chassis with surprisingly high grip levels for something so large. There’s sporting character here to burn, in other words – but it doesn’t come without compromise.

There’s a non-linear jump in directness to the steering response at just under a quarter turn of lock than can make the car hard to place in a corner, and an intrusive stability control system that overrules any attempt you make to steer the car slightly on the throttle – unless you switch it off completely. Bump-steer can corrupt your line through a fast bend, likewise a change in camber can upset the Quattroporte’s stability slightly at high speed. 

There are some distracting manners about the powertrain, too – little flaws that suggest Maserati’s engineers didn’t pay enough attention to the minutia. Select ‘Sport’ mode and the accelerator pedal becomes hyper-sensitive right at the top of its travel, before going dead towards the bottom of it.

Hit ‘manual’ mode and you’ll find that every paddle-operated downshift is preceded by an annoying interruption in engine braking. They’re mild annoyances in isolation, but do begin to erode your enjoyment of the car over an extended period. And they don’t belong on a car with any credible claim to overarching superiority.

Should I buy one?

The Quattroporte remains an appealing alternative to a full-sized performance saloon, and would be much easier to justify than the car it replaces – but it’s still not sufficiently well-executed or rounded enough to present a serious challenge to a Porsche Panamera Turbo or a Jaguar XJR.

On refinement, performance and practicality, Maserati has narrowed the gap to its competition by a long way; on dynamic charisma, you could argue it has outstripped many rivals.

But on overall handling polish, material quality, cabin finish, simple ease-of-operation and more, the Quattroporte leaves enough to be desired that you can’t really consider it the equal of the better cars in its class.

It’s an engaging prospect on the face of things, but like so many of its forebears, the Quattroporte demands you make a few too many compromises in return for its eye-catching styling, exotic Italian badge and lively sporting character.

Maserati Quattroporte GTS

Price £108,185; 0-62mph 4.7sec; Top speed 191mph; Economy 23.9mpg; CO2 274g/km; Kerb weight 1900kg; Engine type, cc V8, 3799cc, twin turbocharged, petrol; Power 523bhp at 6500-6800rpm; Torque 524lb ft at 2250-3500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
16

27 April 2014
Ugh, I'd forgotten how ugly these new quattroportes were. If it was half as beautiful as the last gen GTS most of the flaws could probably be ignored, but now.... I wouldn't look twice at it and go directly to Mercedes.

27 April 2014
Little things not quite sorted, bigger things left at ' that'll do for now, we don't have to be better than the others just nearly as good' and failings in trim quality that reveal cost cutting? As they have started with Alfa Romeo, the pennypinchers at Fiat , who know the price of everything to a fraction of a Euro, but who don't know the value of anything continue with the Lanciaisation of their remaining prestige marques. Until their brand equity is all used up, as with Lancia.

289

27 April 2014
As a big fan of the original Quattroporte, I find this a big disappointment.
Since I can't afford one, I am sure Maserati don't care about this, but I feel they haven't thought this through.....and those wheels! ....not since the Ferrari 412 have I seen such eyesores.
I am sure it is a better steer than the old one, but in this end of the market - aesthetics do matter....a lot, and this just gives the game away to the new S-class.
The Ghibli is now the more attractive car, and should be allowed the option of a proper motor to power it.....a V8!

27 April 2014
I want to like this new Quattroporte, and the up-to-date Ferrari engine should make it very special.

But it doesn't look like a £100k+ car. To some, that may be the appeal, but I can't help but feel that most will turn to the Germans (Mercedes in particular) instead.

27 April 2014
"Hit ‘manual’ mode and you’ll find that every paddle-operated downshift is preceded by an annoying interruption in engine braking".

isnt this normal? or what was meant was a quick and annoying engine mass braking?

27 April 2014
The fact this is classed as an ugly car just goes to show how far the spread of VW/Audi/BMW/Lexus uniformity has thrust down our throats. A large, prestige car has been released with a design capable of actually stirring any emotion which is something I am thankful for.

I whole-heartedly agree that those wheels are awful and I also don't think silver suits the car either. But then I don't think the previous gen car looked it's best in silver. For me, black is THE colour for a Quattroporte. If you Google image "Maserati Quattroporte GTS 2014 black" it offers a much fairer comparison between the two generations.

As for comments that Fiat are penny-pinching and know the price of everything to the exact cent: GOOD!!! There is only one way to run a car company in today's world, and that's with an eye firmly fixated on the bottom line. To believe anything else is to kid yourself.

With Maserati sales expected to jump from 13,000 to 42,000 this year alone (and that's before the release of an SUV), it looks to me like the company has never been stronger...

28 April 2014
The whole quote, originally from Oscar Wilde, is that 'a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing' . Fiat's cynical managers have already sentenced Lancia to death by a thousand cuts. Despite a motorsport legacy unmatched by anyone and the inventor of a class of cars that all other manufacturers are now entering because of profitability, the 4wd turbo small sedan, with the Delta Integrale. And which they subsequently abandoned, because of stupidity. Now they start on Maserati and Alfa Romeo. They persist in trying to emulate VW in sharing platform costs but go too far in their cost sharing. They lose sight of the other things that add value to their marques (not 'brands') and think that the cost of the components is the only cost to consider. They forget the cost of the heritage and history, value it at nothing and then wonder why everyone agrees so quickly when they don't follow though with proper development. This new Quattroporte should be the best car in it's class as it is the newest. But it isn't. It should be a four door Ferrari limousine but instead it's just a bigger Brava. It should be better than a Jaguar or BMW but it's just Italian.

28 April 2014
I don't think people care if a car is ugly do they, the 5-Series, particularly the 2003-2011 model in SE trim is in my view an 'ugly' car but wouldn't stop me buying one, same can be said about the 7-series, presence is more important than attractiveness right? Well that's the German logic anyways. However people buy Maseratis for their aesthetics right? Well this Maserati looks like something out of Beijing, and the interior too looks ghastly, also I always thought Italian car manufactures put a high emphasis on headlight design (humble 2001 Puntos with Xenon etc.) however what exactly is going on here, the headlights look tiny compared to the rest of the car?!? Poor show indeed! If I had a 100k to blow on a car, think I'd be down the Porsche dealership deciding what colour to get my truly hideous Panarama in.... now that's an ugly car too but at least it has a decent interior/mechanics!

29 April 2014
If it is so ugly,why are they selling so well.Maserati has quadrupled sales from last year.I think it looks good and can only get better.

The Alfa Romeo 4C is the better car,and also cheaper to maintain,Screw you VW.

27 April 2014
Is it real chrome ? How on earth can you be longer than a lwb s-class ? Ridiculous. Moving slowly into RR terittory.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

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