A world of difference
With a high-end car, the question is: will the owner take a seat behind the wheel or will a driver be hired to do so? In the latter case, the aforementioned luxury cocoon is preferred. But those who take the wheel themselves also want driving pleasure in addition to comfort.
And that is what the Quattroporte aspires to! While most cars in this segment stifle the sound of their powerful engines, the Quattroporte starts with a mighty roar. That roar is slightly less aggressive than that of Maserati's other models, so that it is immediately clear that while this is a sporty car, it is not a full-blooded sports car.
At the time of writing, the Quattroporte is available with either a petrol or a diesel engine. Both count six cylinders and have a displacement of three litres. The test car is fitted with the petrol engine and that is the latest power source developed in collaboration with Ferrari. The next generation of engines will be built entirely in-house and employ hybrid technology.
The current petrol engine is good for 430 hp / 530 Nm and can show off two very different sides. When driven calmly, the 8-speed automatic keeps the revs low. Then the needle of the rev counter rarely exceeds 1,500 rpm and calm reigns in the cabin to cover long distances with great ease. Press the accelerator pedal deeper and the power builds to a peak reached at around 6,500 rpm. Thanks to four-wheel drive, this violence is optimally transferred to the tarmac. Wheelspin occurs only when provoked by the driver (or disabling the electronic safety nets). With a sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, the Quattroporte is a fast car in absolute terms. Yet it lacks the supremacy and thrills of Maserati's other models because of the Quattroporte's generous size and weight. That's not a problem, after all, this is a four-door long distance car (Quattroporte is Italian for "four-door") and not a sports car.
The Quattroporte's distinguishing factor is in its handling. While most sedans in this segment seem to hover above the road surface, the Quattroporte actually clearly shows what is going on between the engineering and the tarmac. The suspension is downright firm, so it is always clear what forces are at play and, above all, where the limits are. At the push of a button, a sport mode can be switched on. Then, the suspension is not so much firmer, but the slight tilting that the bodywork did is definitely a thing of the past. Remarkably, the faster it is driven, the less big the Quattroporte feels. It is as if, as speed increases, the kilos of weight and stretching metres of metal are shed!
Of course, other large sedans also lend themselves to sporty driving, but there is a world of difference between a sedan from a large, traditional manufacturer and this Maserati. Even in sport mode, other luxury sedans are less pure and communicative than this Maserati. Conversely, in standard mode, the Quattroporte is less comfortable than its competitors.
At 527 cm in length, the Quattroporte is averagely large for a car in this segment, which is why the space in the rear is at least as good. Yet it is noticeable that the Quattroporte is not primarily intended as a chauffeur-driven car. There is no button to move the passenger seat forward in one move for maximum space in the rear. In addition, the test car is not equipped with tables, sunshades or infotainment in the rear, as is often found in cars intended for use with a driver.
The Quattroporte is all about the experience in the front! There, the characteristic Maserati ambiance prevails with lavish use of chrome, lush materials, bold colours and lots of logos (from the driver's seat, 8 Maserati logos are already visible without twisting the neck). Also typical of Maserati: headroom is limited, especially with the optional sunroof as in the test car.
One reason to drive the Quattroporte just now (the model was introduced in 2013) is the fact that Maserati continuously updates its models. Instead of a major facelift after five years, Maserati updates the models every year. Therefore, for the 2020 model year, the Quattroporte is equipped with semi-self-driving features that (on the highway) allow it to automatically maintain a safe distance from the car in front and automatically steer the car in the right direction. In doing so, it is noticeable that the electronics are nice and assertive and do not maintain so much distance or accelerate so calmly as to interfere with other traffic (something similar systems from other brands are quite often plagued by).
Despite the fact that Maserati is a small car manufacturer, all the electronics are modern and the car never feels like the Italian brand is lagging behind. At the time of driving, Maserati brings news of a new infotainment system. Still, the current version was perceived as complete and powerful. Thanks to support for Apple Carplay and Android Auto, it is also future-proof. Last but not least, the fine audio system by Builders and Wilkens offers pleasant company during long journeys.
There is a world of difference between the Maserati Quattroporte and large sedans in the premium segment of other brands. The latter are usually aimed at comfort and use as chauffeured cars. The Maserati Quattroporte, on the other hand, is a dream car meant to be driven by itself.
The difference starts with the design and simply the exclusivity that comes with the Maserati brand. Most important, however, are the driving characteristics. The Quattroporte is overwhelmingly the product of a sports car manufacturer and therefore the connection between driver and technology is much stronger than usual. This makes for a completely different experience, while long-distance comfort has certainly not been forgotten.
- Above-average driving pleasure
- Exclusive and privileged feeling
- Competitive in terms of price and emissions
- Limited headroom
- Little luxury in the back
- Less comfortable than competitors