Only the Italians could make the phrase ‘four-door’ sound glamorous. Ever since its debut back in 1963, the Maserati Quattroporte has brought a hefty dose of elegance to the straight-laced luxury saloon market.
Now into its sixth generation, the Quattroporte is as desirable as ever and features a diesel engine for the first time. The 271bhp VM Motori common-rail V6 emits 163g/km, making the Maserati a much more cost effective choice. However, the Quattroporte is no longer the only four-door with flair. Rival brands now offer luxurious models that blur the lines between coupes and saloons.
Porsche’s Panamera has always blended a well engineered chassis with a spacious and upmarket cabin, and now there’s a powerful new 3.0-litre V6 diesel in the line-up. Completing our trio is the enticing BMW 640d Gran Coupe, which we test in flagship M Sport trim.
Click the links above to read each review, then read on for the road test verdict.
Grand tourers have to strike a balance between a comfortable ride and sharp handling. The Maserati gets Skyhook adaptive damping as standard, and Porsche gives customers the choice of £1,116 PASM adaptive damping or £2,525 air-suspension. Adding VDC variable damping to the BMW costs £1,100, or you can combine that with an adaptive anti-roll bar as part of the £3,400 Adaptive Drive package.
Neither rival has the stylish luxury saloon heritage of the Quattroporte. The original was launched in 1963 with a 4.1-litre 253bhp V8. The outgoing car, the fifth incarnation of Quattroporte, was the longest running. It was on sale from 2004 to 2012, with a mid-life facelift to keep it fresh.
A nice sound is key to accepting diesel in this type of car. The BMW emits a lovely growl, while the Porsche is hushed. Maserati’s Active Sound System changes the exhaust note in Sport mode, but its mechanical sound isn’t pleasant.
A new engine with more power, greater torque and improved refinement was just what the Panamera Diesel needed to give it the edge in this very competitive sector. It’s also more practical than the BMW, plus it’s the cheapest car to buy of our test trio.
With gorgeous styling, an awesome engine and a lovely cabin, the 640d is a very desirable package. Plus, low emissions are a bonus. However, a high price and cramped rear seats relegate it to second by the tiniest of margins.
It’s a shame to see the Maserati Quattroporte finish third, but it’s simply outclassed here. Although there are elements of desirability and the diesel is decent, vague steering and disappointing interior quality really let it down.
|Porsche Panamera diesel||BMW 640d M Sport Gran Coupe||Maserati Quattroporte Diesel|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£65,634/£70,220||£69,535/£85,470||£69,230/£80,009|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£35,508/54.1%||£34,837/50.1%||TBC|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£3,786/£7,574||£3,467/£6,934||£3,864/£7,727|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£2,393/£3,989||£2,355/£3,925||£2,909/£4,849|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||46/£792/H/£205||49/£703/F/£145||N/A/£767/G/£180|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£420/£550/£420||£475 (5yrs/50k)||£650/£910/£930|
|Peak power||296/4,000 bhp/rpm||309/4,400 bhp/rpm||271/4,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||650/1,750 Nm/rpm||630/1,500 Nm/rpm||600/2,000 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||8-spd auto/rwd||8-spd auto/rwd||8-spd auto/rwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||80 litres/foam||70 litres/run-flat||70 litres/£525|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||445/1,263 litres||460/1,265 litres||530 litres/N/A|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||12.0 metres/0.30Cd||12.0 metres/0.29Cd||11.8 metres/0.31Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unltd)/2yrs||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||20k miles (2 yrs)/36||Variable/153||12,500 (1yr)/17|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||6th/6th*||10th/24th*||N/A|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./points||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||5.7/5.2 secs||5.4/5.3 secs||6.6/6.3 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||2.6/3.7secs||2.2/2.8 secs||2.6/3.1 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th||3.8/4.7/6.3/N/A||3.6/4.5/5.6/7.9||4.1/5.1 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||160mph/1,500rpm||155mph/1,500rpm||155mph/1,500rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||49/64/63/67dB||47/68/60/68dB||69/61/48/68dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||31.0/6.9/546 miles||31.5/7.0/485 miles||25.5/5.7/393 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||244/169g/km/29%||240/149g/km/25%||297/163g/km/28%|
|Adapt damp/cruise/active cruise ctrl||£1,116/yes/£1,589||£1,100/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Metallic paint/xenon lights||£851/yes||Yes/yes||£660/yes|