Maserati has given its large sports-limousine a mid-life makeover, with a subtle re-working of the exterior design and a gentle upgrades elsewhere.
However, possibly the biggest change is to the range structure: there is now the ‘basic’ model, and then two optional variants that polarise the fundamental character of the car. The first is the GranLusso, which as the name implies, focuses on luxury. It features 20-inch alloy wheels (the standard model has 19-inch rims), chrome embellishment on the exterior and wood and leather inside. The GranSport meanwhile focuses on, you guessed it, a more sporting character, with 21-inch wheels, more aggressive exterior styling, and a sporty interior with more supportive seats.
The nip and tuck to the exterior styling takes a trained eye to spot, with the most obvious being the vertical chrome-effect bars that now fill the Quattroporte’s hungry ‘mouth’. Design is entirely subjective, of course, but we think the car still somehow lacks the road presence that a Maserati should possess.
Image 4 of 15
The 3.0-litre diesel engine puts out a competitive 271bhp, with a linear delivery and acceptable – though unremarkable – refinement. The ‘Active Sound’ generator gives it a gruff voice in Sport mode that will either appeal or soon grate, but a 0-62mph time of 6.4-seconds still puts it somewhere between the new BMW 730d and Mercedes S350d. The lack of a limiter means its top speed of 157mph should see it edge cheekily away from the German opposition in an imaginary Autobahn drag race.
Anyone familiar with the old Quattroporte of the previous decade will know only too well its failings, but probably also grin warmly recalling its enthusiastic character. That’s not something you can say about the current Quattroporte, and these minor upgrades haven’t changed that.
It may be spacious and much more refined, but it’s not especially enjoyable to drive. That’s largely due to how it steers, because the response at the ‘wheel is vague and the build up of weight after initial turn in is unnatural. There’s very little sensation of what’s happening at the front wheels, yet plenty of kickback over rough surfaces.
Image 11 of 15
The ride quality isn’t as impressive as it should be: it’s composed over smooth roads, where improved sound insulation means the Quattroporte is pleasingly quiet, but as soon as the road surface deteriorates it stumbles and struggles to deal convincingly with intrusions into the cabin. Selecting the Sport suspension mode improves the body control, but the busy ride means you’ll soon switch out of it when the road straightens up again.
The interior features a new centre stack design with a larger, higher-resolution touchscreen, and there’s now a suite of driver assistance systems available. The system’s graphics are sharp, and control, via a new rotary dial, is logical and speedy. The quality of build is definitely there, a point brought home by the cohesive ergonomics and the plush materials used. But it’s also resolutely contemporary, lacking the wow factor and imagination found in the new Mercedes S-Class or the Jaguar XJ. While rear legroom is particularly generous, headroom is at more of a premium for those appreciably over six foot in height: for the driver that simply means the headlining feels rather close, but on the rear pew a slouch is required if head is not to brush the roof.
At £70,510 for the basic Diesel model and £78,910 for GranLusso/GranSport spec, the Quattroporte is more expensive than both the new BMW 730d (£64,530) and Mercedes S350 (£68,055). The Italian’s fuel and C02 figures of 45.6mpg and 163g/km still seem impressive in isolation, but pale next to the Mercedes (52.3mpg/141g/km) and particularly the new 730d, which is rated at 60.1mpg and 124g/km.