Maserati has completely redesigned its flagship Quattroporte full-size sedan for the latest model year. The four-door remains a unique and evocative offering in a segment dominated by competent yet conservative rides, but now offers more power, space and technology than before.
With aggressively tapered headlights, a rising beltline and an extra-wide scalloped grille, the new Quattroporte wears many of the sleek cues that distinguish Maserati's shapely coupe models. When viewed in profile, however, it's immediately apparent that the Quattroporte is definitely a sedan, and quite a large one - it's a full eight inches longer overall than the previous model, in fact.
Despite the increased size, Maserati has actually managed to trim 200 lbs. from the Quatroporte's curb weight through the extensive use of aluminum and other lightweight materials, making it one of the lightest models in its class. This means there's relatively little mass to dull the brute force of the two available engines, both of which utilize twin turbochargers and are built by Ferrari in Maranello, Italy.
The standard motor is a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 404 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, and especially power-hungry types can opt for a 3.8-liter that makes 523 horsepower and 524 lb-ft of twist. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends output to the rear wheels, while all-wheel-drive is also available on the six-cylinder model to provide extra traction in inclement weather.
Maserati claims that the V8 variant is capable of sprinting from zero-to-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 190 mph. Fuel economy is said to be up 20 percent compared with the outgoing Quattroporte, although official figures have yet to be announced.
Unlike the vast majority of recently redesigned vehicles, the Quattroporte eschews efficient but feel-free electronic power steering for a conventional hydraulic system that delivers a high level of feedback. This setup, along with a double-wishbone front suspension and five-link rear suspension, helps the big sedan hustle through turns with grace. As with all Maserati models, the Quattroporte is fitted with "Skyhook" electronically-adjustable dampers that impart a nimble feel but also result in a somewhat firm ride.
The Inside Story
The expressive design theme of the exterior doesn't quite make its way to the inside of the Quattroporte, which is clean and elegant but somewhat Germanic in its restraint. Still, the materials -including Poltrona Frau leather, brushed aluminum and a variety of wood trim choices - are generally sumptuous and impressive. Some switchgear components are borrowed from Chrysler, a corporate sibling of Maserati, and look slightly out of place on such a high-end vehicle.
Also plucked from the American automaker's parts bin is the Quattroporte's infotainment system, which features downmarket navigation graphics but is otherwise a highly versatile and user-friendly setup. An 8.4-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard is the central component of the system, but redundant buttons and knobs for climate and audio volume and tuning are also included. It features voice command functionality that allows the driver to place phone calls, use the sound system, input navigation destinations and more without taking his or her hands off the wheel. Notably, the system is also able to function as a Wi-Fi hotspot over a 3G network.
Front and rear passenger space is abundant, and both four- and five-passenger configurations can be spec'd. The Quattroporte also offers far more customization than just interior and exterior colors to choose from - the steering wheel, dashboard, seat stitching and piping, headliner, carpet color, and even brake calipers can all be custom-colored.
Other notable options include a 1,280-watt Bowers and Wilkins premium surround sound system, ventilated front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, a rear seat entertainment system, sport pedals, remote start, and perforated leather upholstery.
While the many full-size sedan buyers opt for coddling but slightly unadventurous models like the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lexus LS, those interested in the Quattroporte should also cross-shop more stirring rides like the Jaguar XJ and Porsche Panamera Turbo.