Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT
Style and panache are synonymous with Italian products, but does the new Maserati Quattroporte follow suit?
With cosmetic tweaks, plus an improved gearbox, brakes and suspension, the new Sport GT is the pick of the Quattroporte range. Adding to the appeal is the fact that the Maserati has really strong residuals for this class - according to trade bible Glass's Guide, the car depreciates by only 19 per cent in the first year.
While Italy may be famous for its swanky suits and suave shoes, it's the cars that really set people's pulses racing.
This is why the Maserati Quattroporte is arguably more desirable than its dynamically superior German rivals. But now, buyers can have their pasta and eat it, because the Modena firm has added a racier model to the line-up for those wanting a more involving drive.
Costing £6,000 more than the standard car, the new Sport GT features uprated suspension, better brakes and a re-engineered gearbox. There are also a number of cosmetic changes inside and out, to make the already-striking machine even more distinctive.
These include a black mesh grille - complete with the all-important trident badge - and matching side air intakes. Imposing 20-inch alloys and eye-catching titanium-style calipers enhance the racy theme further, as do Sport GT logos on the B-pillar. Inside, there's carbon fibre trim on the steering wheel, centre console and handbrake grip. Bespoke aluminium pedals are unique to the model.
There have been no changes to the 400bhp 4.2-litre V8, but a tweaked exhaust emits a more raucous note. This helps make up for the fact that the Maserati's 5.2-second 0-60mph time is not as swift as that of its key rivals. However, when it comes to changing gear, the GT Sport is well on the pace. The software which controls the clever paddleshift transmission has been re-worked so that it swaps cogs a third quicker than on the standard car.
The impressive Brembo-developed brakes have also been enhanced by the addition of cross-drilled discs. These provide extra stopping power and less fade. All the updates, combined with sportier damping settings for improved handling, make the Maserati far more entertaining and involving to drive than before. Sadly, it's still not as impressive as a BMW M5, nor quite so complete as a Mercedes CLS 55 AMG.
However, the fact is that this doesn't really matter. Maserati has ironed out some of the Quattroporte's main weaknesses and made it even better.