New Maserati Quattroporte

7 Dec, 2012 11:15am Luke Madden

We drive the all-new Maserati Quattroporte, which gets a 523bhp V8 and a £100,000 price tag

Verdict

4
The old Quattroporte was a car that stood out. The looks were elegant, the engine was raucous and the handling was more sports car than limousine. For the new car, Maserati has changed tack and followed the ‘S-Class’ crowd a little more. In isolation, it’s fantastic in every way and it’ll certainly provide the boost in sales the firm is after, but you can’t help but feel Maserati has sold part of its soul.

The Maserati Quattroporte has always been a bit of a wildcard choice in the luxury limousine segment; its raucous exhaust note, sharp handling and raw emotional appeal offered something the Germans couldn’t match. But with Maserati targeting growth from just 6,200 total sales last year to 50,000 by 2015, the new Quattroporte might have to be just a little bit more sensible.

It’s completely new from the ground up and features a few more aluminium bits in the chassis to help make it 100kgs lighter than the old car (although it still weighs almost two tonnes). More importantly for this class – and to address a criticism of the old car – it’s longer so there’s a lot more space in the back seats.

The styling is new, too, The effortless elegance of the old model is replaced by Maserati’s fresh design language, which looks a little too Kia or Hyundai-inspired for our tastes, but there’s no denying its presence.

And what of the howling naturally-aspirated 4.7-litre V8 in the old model? At launch it’s been replaced by a choice of two brand new engines – both developed and built by Ferrari. The lesser of the two is a twin-turbo 3.0 V6 with 404bhp, but we’re driving the 3.8-litre V8 version, which produces 523bhp. The old Quattroporte S managed just 434bhp.

The result is a 0-62mph time cut from 5.3 seconds to 4.7 seconds and a total shift in the way this car feels from behind the wheel. The frantic acceleration of the old naturally-aspirated engine has been replaced by a relentless and effortless wave of torque. The noise is more subdued, too, and while it still makes a fantastic growl, this car certainly feels more limousine than sports car.

The handling is still seriously impressive considering this car’s bulk. It feels light on its feet through tight and twisty roads, and through the longer flowing curves it grips hard. It’s not as playful as the old Quattroporte but incredibly quick steering means it’s still pin-sharp.

All-new independent suspension allows for a comfortable ride, which exhibits only a hint of firmness over rough roads. Combine that with hugely comfortable seats and a cabin that’s excellently insulated from the outside world and the Quattroporte is a much more impressive cruiser.

On the inside, simplicity is the key with fewer buttons, a clear layout and a large touchscreen in the middle of the centre console. The fit, finish and general attention to detail are all superb.

Fuel economy is a little more sensible, too. The downsized engine now manages 23.7mpg, which is up from 15.7mpg in the old car. CO2 emissions have also been cut down from 365g/km to 278g/km, and the smaller V6 engine will be more efficient still.

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Kia or Hyundai? You seriously need to get your eyes checked...

"you can’t help but feel Maserati has sold part of its soul"
when it was beauty but not that good verdict was not good,now its brilliant but soul is gone? who pay u guys for this comments...germans? non of them will have so much soul as this maser....and its simply brilliant:) five stars!

Autoexpress, what rubbish! I am sorry to say you blow your trumpet both ways... if it was flawed (like the last one), you would term it as "flawed" and give it four stars, not it is very good, you still give it four stars because it has lost its "maser-ness".. This is ridiculous... Well I am not surprised... and I am sure other people are not either.....

Autoexpress is a German car magazine, which is run by Germans... another example of fine machine being bashed by AE in yet another obviously biased roadtest... People should STOP buying your magazine....

The ante has been upped significantly since the last Maser Q was new. To be competitive, they needed to gain broader appeal. There are too many great cars in this segment. While the new Q has, indeed, lost some of its personality, it has gained some needed maturity and elegance.

The only area Maser could have put more thought into design is the rear end. If you take off the badges, you are not exactly sure who it's from. Not so with the rest of the car.

The interior, in particular, has benefited from more thoughtful ergos and more elegant line integration. Doesn't look as frenetic and, no doubt, works much better.

I'm not so sure about deciding to even offer a V6 for something so blissfully sybaritic, and it will be interesting to see what the take-up split will be between the six and eight.

If I could afford a sedan in this category, I would give this some very serious thought. Not quite so for the last one. I hope real buyers will do the same!

I know this will sound like heresy, but here goes...

If Maserati want to become a significant volume car manufacturer then they need to broaden their appeal. Their cars are all drop-dead gorgeous, but in a sector full of alternative, gorgeous, niche, high performance, petrol engined, gas guzzling competitors they need to think what is for some the unthinkable...

... how about a diesel version? Sorry 23.7mpg still sounds cr@p to me and if I didn't care then I wouldn't care that it's improved from 15.7mpg! It's a GT cruiser of a car and modern diesel engines would fit the bill quite nicely for some.

Key specs

  • Price: £100,000 (est)
  • Engine: 3.8-litre V8 turbo
  • Power: 523bhp
  • Transmission: Eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 4.7 seconds (est)
  • Top speed: 191mph
  • Economy: 23.7mpg
  • CO2: 278g/km
  • Equipment: Full leather upholstery, touchscreen, climate control, cruise control
  • On sale: January
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