2013 Maserati Quattroporte Review

By: David Morley

Presented by

Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Quattroporte

Road test: Big limo with a Ferrari heart

2013 Maserati Quattroporte Review
Road Test: Maserati Quattroporte

 

2013 Maserati Quattroporte

Stand next to just about any car wearing 20-inch rims and they'll look like one heck of a big set of wheels and tyres.

But the new Maserati Quattroporte on 20s? Er, they look perfectly to scale, actually. Which suggests, of course, that this is one big mutha of a car. The tape-measure confirms as much. The 2013 Quattroporte is longer, wider and higher than the car it replaces and the interior space has moved from 'plenty' to 'vast'.

The one measurement that hasn't increased, however, is the car's kerb weight. Thanks to extensive use of aluminium, the new Maserati sedan (Quattroporte is Italian for four-door, don't ya know) tips the scales at around 100kg less than the current one on a model-for-model basis. Mind you, that still makes it close enough to 1900kg for it not to be worth the argument.

While the concept of the Quattroporte hasn't changed since the model's launch in 1963 - a big, elegant mode of transport for people who can afford a chauffeur - the actual mechanicals have come in for a big rethink this time around. For a start, there's now an all-wheel-drive option in the V6 version (which we probably won't get, according to the local importer) and both engines - there's a V8, too - run twin turbos as the automotive world moves towards forced induction to help save the planet.

The V8 model remains rear-drive only, but there's now the excellent ZF-made eight-speed automatic under the floor to really make the most of either engine. We didn't get to drive the 306kW 3.0-litre V6, so our launch experience was limited to the V8 and the windy, narrow roads around Nice in the south of France. Not the ideal place to test a long-legged - and w-i-d-e - car it should be said, but the pock-marked surfaces soon revealed the Quattroporte to be a pretty smooth operator.

The interior is drop-dead lovely with leather and soft-touch surfaces, as well as that legendary Italian flair for making something purposeful and beautiful. There's also plenty of adjustability at the helm and the rear seat is roomy and comfortable for three, and paradise for two.

The 3.8-litre twin (twin-scroll) turbo V8 is smooth and refined and feels like it should cost a lot of money (which it does, of course, and is half the point of the car, really), but it's also fit. With 390kW and anything up to 710Nm of torque thanks to an overboost function, it gets along pretty damn smartly.

It has that Italian knack of making a righteous noise, too, and pressing the Sport button not only sharpens the steering and throttle responses, it also opens a flap in the active exhaust and lets even more music loose. The only catch is that Sport cancels out eighth gear, so it isn't for freeway cruising, where the last ratio pulls the revs down to almost idle at Australia's legal limit.

The Quattroporte never feels like a compact car and the steering lacks probably the last few percentage points of sharpness, but to criticise it for that is seriously missing the point. What it does do is fulfil its design brief admirably, which is to move important or rich (or both) people very quickly.

But it also addresses modern concerns such as the environment, and with its high-tech powerplants and recent diet, Maserati claims fuel consumption and CO2 figures have fallen by as much as 20 percent compared with the current model.

Production at Maserati's new plant outside Turin has just kicked-off, with European deliveries beginning shortly. Right-hand drive production will take longer, though, so we won't see the Quattroporte until the last quarter of 2013.

When it does arrive, you can probably expect it to cost in the high-200s with the V6 (if we get it), taking the place of the current normally-aspirated V8, and the new turbo V8 costing a fair wedge extra.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Maserati quattroporte

 

Engine: 3798cc V8, DOHC, 32v, twin turbochargers

Power: 390kW @ 6800rpm

Torque: 710Nm @ 2000-4000rpm

Weight: 1900kg

Gearbox: 8-speed automatic

0-100km/h: 4.7sec (claimed)

Top Speed: 308km/h (claimed)

Price: $300,000 (estimated)

 

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