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Maserati Quattroporte S

Maserati saloon takes V8 and styling tweaks from GranTurismo.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Maserati’s saloon could trade on its looks alone, but beneath the stylish lines lies a brilliant all-rounder. It’s equally at ease devouring corners as it is wafting gently along the motorway, and the Quattroporte S is capable of competing with the very best luxury cars from Germany. What it might lack in cast-iron build quality, it more than makes up for with flair, dynamic ability, and that quality missing from most of its rivals – exclusivity.

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It was already one of the most striking cars in the world, but that hasn’t stopped Maserati sprinkling some more magic over its Quattroporte to add extra substance to its impressive style.

Launched in 2003, the model has proved a big success, single-handedly putting the Italian maker into profit, thanks to more than 15,000 sales. But now the firm has decided it’s time for a facelift, and many of the revisions are borrowed from the smaller GranTurismo coupé.

The most striking alteration is the addition of vertical bars to the grille, while neat LED strip lights at the front and rear stand out, and the bumpers have also been reshaped. The tweaks work well – but that’s only half the story, as the biggest change lies under the bonnet.

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This Quattroporte S uses the same 4.7-litre V8 and ZF auto as the rapid GranTurismo S. The standard 4.2-litre car remains, although Maserati expects the S to be the top seller.

The bigger V8 certainly impresses, howling up to the 7,200rpm limiter and propelling the car from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and on to 174mph. But because most of the torque is available from a low 2,500rpm, it’s refined and flexible.

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The big Maser really has a dual personality. It’s capable of wafting along one moment, then turning into a nimble supercar the next. Prod the ‘Sport’ button, and the driving experience firms up – the steering is a little light but turn-in is sharp, inspiring far more confidence than is normal in a two-tonne luxury saloon.

Skyhook adaptive damping is standard on the S for superior handling, although it’s far from firm, even in ‘Sport’ mode.

Inside, swathes of leather, wood and precision switchgear dominate the cabin. It’s not quite up to Audi quality, but it’s still a special place to spend time.

And it’s that sense of occasion that is still the biggest selling point of the Maserati. However, those lucky enough to be able to afford a Quattroporte S will be pleased to know that it’s now as impressive on theroad as it is to look at.

Rival: Audi S8The big S8 combines acres of space with a solid interior and storming V10 pace, but it lacks the exclusivity of the Italian saloon. Rather bland looks also dampen the magic of Audi’s flagship limo.

For an in-depth buyer's guide on the Maserati Quattroporte from Classic and Performance Car click here...

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