Road Test – Maserati Quattroporte V8 – 2014

Maserati Quattroporte

If you come across a Maserati Quattroporte in a road tunnel, the driver will probably have his window down and doing short bursts of acceleration.  The reason is that he will be listening to the beautiful sound of the car reverberating off the walls.

The Maserati sounds that good.  It is a sonorous noise that speaks of power and modern engineering.

The previous model had a great sound and thankfully this continues in the latest, sixth generation model just released in Australia.

I say “he” will be driving, quite advisedly.  The typical Maserati driver has an average age of 49, is male and owns his own business.

The new model has a new platform, engines , gearbox, suspension, brakes and interiors.  It’s a big, luxury sedan that sits, in price and image, somewhere between the super luxury Bentley Flying Spur, Aston Martin Rapide and the BMW 7 series, Mercedes S Class.

Initially it has been launched here with a 3. 8 litre, twin turbo charged V8.  It puts out 390kw which is about twice the power of a Commodore 6 cylinder.  Add to that a maximum torque figure of 650Nm, rising to 710Nm on overboost.  Not surprisingly it pushes the 1,900 kg car (100 kg less than the previous model) from zero to 100 km/hr in just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 307 kilometres per hour.

At the end of February the V8 will be joined by a twin turbo V6 with 301kw and 550Nm of torque.  It will accelerate to 100 km/hr in 5.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 285 kmh. These are performance figures that almost match those of the previous V8 version of the Quattroporte.

The engines are now designed by Maserati although still built by Ferrari.

The transmission is a ZF eight speed gearbox that works as smoothly as you would expect from such a luxury car.

The driver can choose a number of settings from normal to sport and a new feature for the Quattroporte called  I.C.E. (Increased Control and Efficiency).  This provides quieter, more efficient motoring.

It turns into corners with a precision and sharpness that belies its size.  There is a very positive feeling in the steering which is hydraulically powered rather than the more fuel efficient, though sometimes vaguer, electric steering.

The Quattroporte looks much better in the flesh than in pictures.  I’m not a great fan of the drooping nose but the body has a distinctive, well balanced appeal.  It’s much better looking than its direct competitor, the Porsche Panamera, which looks like an uncomfortably stretched two door car.

For all its modern developments, the Quattroporte does not have safety features such as lane departure warning, automatic braking  or adaptive cruise control.  Glen Sealey, General Manager of Maserati in Australia and New Zealand said that if you are into driving you should be able to do it yourself.  He did go on to say, though, that if the demand is there then they will consider it.

The V6 has a recommended retail price of $240,000 while the V8 (called the Quattroporte GTS) is priced at $319,800.  Both prices are excluding statutory charges and dealer costs.

Globally, 2013 was a great year for Maserati with sales up 148%.  Australian sales were only up 8.1% but this could be attributed to a lack of supply.  The old Quattroporte ceased production in January 2013 and we are now just getting the new model.  Supply was a global problem as indicated by the fact that Maserati sold 47% of its global 2013 production in the last quarter of the year.

The United States is Maserati’s biggest market taking 45% of sales.  Next is China with 25%, then Europe (16%), Asia/Pacific (8%) and the Middle East (5%).  The shift to China could become more pronounced in future years as the market for Maserati’s grew by a mammoth 334% in 2013.


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