Maserati Quattroporte review
The Maserati Quattroporte is a head-turning, high performance alternative to the Mercedes S-Class S63 AMG
The Maserati Quattroporte is a luxury performance car that offers practicality mixed with stylish looks and sports car handling.
This all-new model is marked out as a thoroughbred saloon by its Ferrari-developed V6 and V8 petrol engines and is larger, lighter and more efficient than the car it replaces.
The new Quattroporte comes with either a 407bhp V6 or a 523bhp V8 engine, with the latter costing around £110,000.
However, it’s the introduction of the 3.0-litre diesel from the Ghibli that’s the really big news, making the Maserati a big player in the lucrative executive company car market.
Our choice: Quattroporte V8 GTS
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 not as distinctive or as beautiful as a Maserati should be.
The low snout and trident-badged grille are matched to GranTurismo-inspired headlights 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.
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 is a classy touch. However, look closely and you’ll find hard plastics and cheap switchgear.
On the plus side, standard kit includes eight-way adjustable electric seats, ambient cabin lighting and adaptive cruise control.
The V8-powered model 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.
Plus, 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 - whereas the diesel is a bit clattery, and becomes more refined once you get up to speed.
With 50:50 weight distribution, a long wheelbase and a rear-wheel-drive chassis, the Maserati 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.
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.
Maserati didn’t record a big enough sample size to feature in our Driver Power 2014 satisfaction survey. The brand used to have a reputation for unreliability, but the latest Quattroporte 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.
Maserati offers a three-year unlimited mileage warranty should anything go wrong. and standard safety equipment includes window airbags and a reversing camera.
The Quattroporte hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but a generous amount of airbags and a high-tech construction should ensure it performs well.
It also comes with plenty of active and passive safety systems that are common place on cars this size.
The Quattroporte is larger than the outgoing model, has the longest wheelbase and widest body of our test trio and, as you’d expect for a car designed to chauffeur captains of Italian industry, offers plenty of head and legroom.
A 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: 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.
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.
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.
Our residuals experts have yet to calculate depreciation figures, but traditionally, big Maserati saloons suffer from heavy depreciation. This could be a concern for private buyers, although the brand’s smaller Ghibli has surprisingly good residuals. Servicing is expensive as well, and Maserati only has 17 dealers in the UK.