The Quattroporte Trofeo handles every inch like a big, heavy, luxury saloon car with lots of power, and often not as much grip and composure as it would need to fully deploy it. And it doesn’t offend particularly in doing so, because if you want to make a performance limousine, after all, first you have to make a limousine. The Maserati’s preference for ride compliance and a bit of dynamic gentility always makes it at least broadly comfortable and easy to drive.

On smooth surfaces, you can accrue and maintain high speeds easily enough, but vertical body movement builds quite voluminously when the suspension is given some medium- and long-wave inputs to deal with. While the car’s firmer damping modes stop its body from heaving as far as it might on quicker A-and B-roads, they obviously can’t adjust its spring rate or ride height; and ultimately they don’t maintain the sort of outright composure at speed that we’ve come to expect of a performance four-door.

There’s not the composure, incisiveness or agility that you’ll find in some rivals but its preference instead for greater pliancy in its ride does make it generally comfortable

During cornering, the Trofeo rolls noticeably but not alarmingly, and only in a fashion that seems well matched to the medium pacing of its steering, but it has the languid chassis response you would expect of a car with such a long wheelbase. That means it really takes its time to settle when you’re guiding it through a faster corner, and it can often feel as though you’re still turning in to that corner, and managing the front axle, long after you’ve passed the apex.

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Although outright cornering balance isn’t bad, the extended time that it takes for lateral cornering loads to be passed through the chassis from the front contact patches to the rear ones makes rear-drive throttle adjustability a non-starter. That factor, plus the car’s outright size and its slightly gluey steering feel, prevents the Quattroporte from engaging like some of its rivals. It never feels particularly agile, taut or poised and, engine aside, it doesn’t seem to offer much more driver reward than any other derivative in the range.

The Quattroporte Trofeo just about tolerated fast circuit driving, sticking with a quick pace around the MIRA Dunlop circuit for five laps or so before overheating its tyres and brakes, but it wasn’t at home there and certainly didn’t reveal reserves of grip, chassis balance or driver reward that had been hitherto hidden on the road.

The car’s body control problems become more obvious at the limit.It rolls in quite pronounced fashion and pitches hard under braking. The car stays stable at least, understeer marking the margins of the chassis’ capabilities both on turn-in and mid- corner, with oversteer presenting quite suddenly under power later.

The steering yields little useful information. However, the electronic stability controls are effective and unintrusive, so the car can be perfectly benign when driven to extremes – although it’s not a rewarding exercise.

Comfort and isolation

Just as you can perceive the age of the Quattroporte (which is due to be replaced by a new-generation model next year) by looking at some of the fixtures and fittings of its interior, so can you sense it in the way that the car behaves on the road.

There’s simply less of a sense of integrity about the chassis than you will find in a big Bentley, Mercedes or BMW in 2021, which makes the ride (fine and relaxing at a gentle canter on a smooth surface, and mostly comfortable around town) become a little clumpy and tremulous over broken and gnarled asphalt, and over drain covers and cobblestones.

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When you find surfaces like these on the road – and it isn’t hard to – you’ll hear the seats and other fittings resonate and reverberate slightly over sharper, complex suspension inputs. You can watch in the rearview mirror as the rear headrests gently shimmy to their own rhythm.

These things shouldn’t happen in any modern luxury car. The Quattroporte is a long car, and they’re hard to make stiff, but it feels some way short of the torsional rigidity of some of its rivals, and the way that you can hear and feel suspension impacts reverberate throughout the interior beyond its wheel arches is evidence of that.

Even if you don’t pay that much attention, you’ll be able to hear the car’s slightly noisy ride over coarse surfaces. It registered 69dbA of cabin noise at 70mph, which is a decibel more than the Alpina B3 Touring we tested last year.