Maserati Quattroporte review
The Maserati Quattroporte is a head-turning, high performance alternative to the Mercedes S-Class S63 AMG
The name Maserati Quattroporte sounds terrifically exotic as it rolls off the tongue, and the car is certainly not the mainstream choice in the luxury executive saloon sector.
While the Quattroporte is eye-catching, not everyone is a fan of the exterior styling. Inside though, the big Italian limo provides elegant design and enough luxury and opulence to pamper even the most demanding captain of industry.
The petrol engines provide staggering performance to rival the likes of the Mercedes-AMG S-Class, but sadly the chassis isn’t a match for the masterful German. There’s a diesel, which makes more financial sense, but it doesn’t have quite the same magic as the V8 petrol – or indeed its performance.
The Maserati Quattroporte saloon is a luxury performance car that offers practicality mixed with stylish looks and sporty handling.
Perhaps the least exciting thing about it is the name. It translates from Italian as simply ‘four door’, which was perhaps a necessary clarification for Maserati fans when the first Quattroporte model was introduced back in 1963. Nowadays, the smaller Maserati Ghibli is a ‘quattroporte’ saloon too, but who are we to argue with half a century of tradition? Especially as, when spoken with a suitably exaggerated accent, the name still channels plenty of Italian ‘passione’.
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There have been six generations of Quattroporte since the early 1960s, some reflecting the interests of Maserati’s various owners including Citroen, De Tomaso and latterly Ferrari. The legendary sports car firm took control of the marque in the late 1990s and immediately improved the fourth generation car while making plans for the fifth. (The association ended recently when Fiat-Chrysler sold Ferrari.)
This latest sixth generation Quattroporte is marked out as a thoroughbred by its Ferrari-developed petrol engines, and is larger, lighter and more efficient than the car it replaced in 2013.
Initially the new Quattroporte came with either a 407bhp V6 or a 523bhp V8 engine, with the latter costing around £110,000. However, it was the introduction of the 3.0-litre diesel from the Ghibli that’s the really big news, as it made the car potentially much more attractive in the executive company car market.
Under the skin, the Quattroporte and Ghibli already shared the same front-engine, rear-wheel-drive platform. Drivetrains, suspension and even the front doors are shared items too. In 2015 the Quattroporte received an update with new wheels, kit upgrades and a greater range of interior trim options.
Engines, performance and drive
With 50:50 weight distribution, a long wheelbase and a rear-wheel-drive chassis, the Maserati Quattroporte promises much. However, on a twisty road it just isn’t as good as its rivals.
The steering gives you little sense of what the front wheels are doing, and with artificial and inconsistent weighting as you go from lock-to-lock, you find yourself making small corrections and counter adjustments. You can’t be precise at turn-in and you don’t have confidence through a corner.
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The limit of grip arrives suddenly, which combined with the lifeless steering, means the Maserati doesn’t feel as composed as its rivals. On poor surfaces, the chassis wriggles, feeling unsettled over roads that its competitors soak up with ease.
Even with the Skyhook dampers in Normal mode, the ride is unresolved. Initial damping is okay, but the 19-inch wheels thump into imperfections. Sport mode stiffens the suspension without improving control. It sharpens the throttle response, speeds up gearshifts and opens the exhaust valves, but Maserati’s Active Sound system generates a mechanical grinding rather than an attractive exhaust note.
The V8-powered Quattroporte offers the kind of acceleration you’d normally associate with supercars rather than large limousines.
Acceleration from 0-62mph takes just 4.7 seconds and there are huge amounts of torque from under 2,000rpm all the way up to 7,500 rpm, meaning in-gear punch is always impressive. The claimed top speed is 190mph, and a deep growl from the exhausts means people will definitely hear you coming long before they see you.
The turbocharged V6 model doesn't sound quite as good as the V8 but still feels very fast – the official 0-62mph time is 5.1 seconds while top speed is 177mph.
The diesel-engined Quattroporte is a bit too clattery at idle, but becomes more refined once you get up to speed. It has a top speed of 155mph and will do 0 to 62mph in 6.4 seconds, so it’s still pretty quick for such a big car.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
Fuel economy for the V8 engine is a huge improvement over the old car’s 15.7mpg figure. With a smaller capacity and a couple of turbos, the new 3.8-litre V8 manages 23.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 278g/km.
If you drive it hard though then expect that figure to fall dramatically. The V6 is not much better at 26.9mpg combined so the diesel is really the only option if you are planning many long journeys. It returns an impressive 45.6mpg and emits a tax-friendly 163g/km of CO2, making it competitive with the other diesels in the executive class.
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However, the 80-litre fuel tank won’t last that long on the petrol models and you’ll be shelling out well over £100 per fill-up.
As you would expect, insurance premiums are going to be sky high and servicing costs will be befitting of a car with a price tag of more than £100,000.
The diesel is a bit more accessible at £69,000 but with a long optional equipment list it would be easy to quickly send the price rocketing upwards.
Servicing is expensive as well, and Maserati only has around 20 dealers in the UK.
Due to its price and performance, you’ll be facing stiff insurance premiums for all versions of the Quattroporte.
Most big and expensive luxury cars suffer from brutal depreciation, but traditionally, big and expensive Maserati saloons have suffered more. This will be a concern for private buyers especially.
Our used car valuation experts CAP paint a pretty woeful picture of residual values after a typical three-year/30,000 mile period of ownership. The worst offender is the most expensive GTS model, which CAP predicts will retain just 28 per cent of its new price. Using the same prediction parameters, the V6 petrol will retain 35 per cent and the diesel model 37 per cent.
By way of comparison, the Mercedes-AMG S-Class should be worth up to 40 per cent of its new cost according to the CAP predictions.
Interior, design and technology
A Maserati has to be stylish, but the latest Quattroporte’s looks divide opinion. While the last generation was penned by styling maestro Pininfarina, this model was designed in-house – and although there are some nice details, it’s arguably not as distinctive or as beautiful as a Maserati should be.
The low snout and trident-badged grille are matched to GranTurismo-inspired headlights and LED running lights to give the car a dramatic face. The trio of fake air vents on the front wings are a typical Maserati touch. Yet the lines at the rear could be from a Hyundai saloon, plus the Maserati looks bloated in profile, compared to its shorter and lower rivals. LED rear light clusters lift the feel at the rear a little, while the frameless door glass is an unusual touch in the luxury saloon segment too.
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Inside, first impressions are good. The Quattroporte has a decent layout and the chrome-ringed dials and smart multifunction wheel give it an upmarket feel. There’s a real wow factor to sitting in a car with the famous trident badge and the classic egg-shaped clock sitting in the middle of the tapering dashboard is a classy touch. However, look closely and you’ll find hard plastics and cheap switchgear, which dilutes the luxury feel a little.
On the plus side, standard kit includes eight-way adjustable electric seats, ambient cabin lighting and adaptive cruise control. There are also plenty of ways to personalise your Quattroporte, with five different wood species for the dashboard and door inserts, and a variety of leather choices.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The Quattroporte has an impressive 8.4-inch touchscreen display at the centre of the console, and there are upgraded audio options from both Bowers and Wilkins and Harmon Kardon. The latter has 10 speakers and is pretty impressive, but the Bowers and Wilkins set-up features 15 speakers and a 16-channel 1,280-Watt amplifier.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
The Quattroporte is larger than the model that preceded it, and has a longer wheelbase and wider body than its key rivals.
Thanks to its extremely luxurious and well-appointed cabin there’ll be few complaints from occupants, especially as the seats are very well designed and cushioned. Although the ride quality isn’t as isolating from bumps as the best in its class, it’s still an extremely comfortable car to travel in.
The Quattroporte looks big and imposing, and it is. The car measures 5,263mm from bumper to bumper, and it’s 1,948mm wide too. Height is 1,481mm.
To put that into perspective, the Porsche Panamera is 5,015mm long by 1,931mm wide, the Aston Martin Rapide is 5,019mm by 1,929mm, and the Mercedes S-Class is 5,246mm by 1,899mm. If you want something bigger, you’ll need to spend a lot more money on something like the 5,575mm x 1,926mm Bentley Mulsanne.
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Leg room, head room & passenger space
As you’d expect for a car designed to chauffeur captains of Italian industry, the Quattroporte offers plenty of head and legroom.
In fact there’s an extra 107mm of cabin space over the previous model. The rear bench with three seats comes as standard, although the middle chair is high and hard, while the big transmission tunnel means you’d only want to carry three people in the back occasionally.
Alternatively, you could always opt for the £4,440 individual two-seat layout, which adds extra luxuries like electric adjustment, ventilation and front passenger seat movement. Powered rear sunblinds are standard and for an eye-watering £2,100 you can add folding tray tables. Privacy glass costs £1,128 and heated rear seats are £348 extra.
There’s plenty of luggage space in the back of the Quattroporte: the 530-litre boot is 80 litres up on the old car’s. Plus, the rear seats can be folded if you need to carry longer items.
Reliability and Safety
Maserati didn’t record a big enough sample size to feature in our Driver Power 2015 satisfaction survey. It’s certainly true the brand used to have a reputation for fearsome unreliability and dreadful build quality, but the latest Quattroporte feels very well put together and features plenty of well proven components, like the eight-speed ZF box. The powerful diesel is the same VM Motori engine which is used in the Chrysler 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee, while the platform is also shared with the Ghibli. The two petrol engines were both new for the Quattroporte’s launch, but overall we wouldn’t expect the Maserati ownership experience to be very different from other cars in its class in respect of reliability.
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Maserati offers a three-year unlimited mileage warranty should anything go wrong, but the very small number of UK dealers may be off-putting – and a real pain if you there isn’t one nearby when you need it. There are around 20 listed on Maserati’s UK website, which is stretching things a bit thin.
The Quattroporte’s standard safety equipment includes window airbags and a reversing camera.
The Quattroporte hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but it's the same story for high-end rivals like the Aston Martin Rapide, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Porsche Panamera. However a generous number of airbags and high-tech construction should ensure the Quattroporte performs well. It also comes with plenty of active and passive safety systems that are common place on cars this size.
The Maserati standard warranty applies to the Quattroporte, which means three-years unlimited mileage cover. Most of the car’s rivals attract similar cover.
Sadly Maserati doesn’t attract the same seven-year free servicing deal as its former Fiat-Chrysler stablemate Ferrari. There are no fixed price deals either, so servicing is likely to be an expensive experience.