Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: June 21, 2016
The Quattroporte confuses me. You see, most people who want to buy a full-size luxury sedan are looking for a velvety ride, supple seats, innovative technology, and a quiet exhaust to match a church-silent cabin. The Quattroporte does none of these things. In fact, Maserati’s flagship sedan is louder and stiffer than a V8-powered BMW M6.
So what exactly have they built, and whom exactly are they targeting with the legendary Quattroporte nameplate. To understand the reasoning, we have to take a few steps back and realize that Maseratis have never been docile creatures. The original 1963 Quattroporte admittedly showed the world what could be achieved by stuffing a huge Italian engine into a spacious four-door sedan. The Quattroporte was by no means designed to fly under the radar and waft around town in silence. No, it was designed to roam the streets with poise, presence, and above all else, drama.
In the spotlight of the theatre is the powertrain, the Quattroporte’s golden crown. There are two engines to choose from: a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that sends power to all four wheels (S Q4), and a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 that sends power exclusively to the rear wheels (GTS).
We had a chance to test the S Q4 variant, and right from the get go we could tell that the Quattroporte is noticeably more engaging to drive than a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It feels more authentic with race-bred origins. The Quattroporte has got phenomenal handling chops, but the hydraulic steering rack still takes a fair bit of rotation to get the car to turn. We experienced the exact same thing in its smaller brother, the Ghibli, however it seems to suit the Quattroporte’s size and nature a little bit better.
Despite its heavyweight figure, weighing in at a whopping 2,091 kg, the Quattroporte gallops with haste (despite a fair bit of turbo lag) and tackles corners with little to no body roll thanks to an incredibly stiff suspension setup. Cornering grip and balance is excellent however on the other side of the spectrum, even with the adaptive suspension set to normal, the Quattroporte is not the most comfortable sedan to live with when cruising around town at pedestrian speeds.
The ride is incredibly firm, which is great on the track but not so much on the daily commute to work. Our tester was only rolling on the 20-inch shoes as well, not the full-size 21s, which begs the question why they didn’t just stiffen up the GTS model and leave the S Q4 model a little more pillowy and lenient. Because I’m not sure if Maserati is targeting the right demographic with the S Q4 – people with this much money normally want a comfortable grand tourer, not a hard ride.
Let’s talk about the engine a little bit because it’s a special one. The Quattroporte S Q4 comes with the same twin-turbo V6 found in the Ghibli – designed by Maserati and made by Ferrari. Excitedly, it makes the same sonorous note as the Ghibli, except it’s a little more subdued from the driver’s seat due to the Quattroporte’s better insulated cabin.
The V6 delivers enough horsepower and torque to make owners forget about wanting to upgrade for the V8, and if you’re not sold on the pushing power, take one for a test drive. Floor it under a tunnel and hear all 404 horses warcry across the battlefield, and tell me that isn’t one of the best sounding exhausts you have ever heard.
Of course, the new V6 engine doesn’t even hold a candle to the outgoing naturally aspirated 4.7L V8s found in the previous-gen Quattroporte, but such is today’s world of fuel restrictions and turbo-takeovers. On the bright side, forced induction can propel this Maserati from 0-100 km/h in a mere 4.9 seconds – as quick as a Porsche 718 Cayman, and only 0.2 seconds slower than the lighter Ghibli S Q4.
Outside, the new and more sophisticated Quattroporte tones its muscles and looks bigger and more imposing than before. One can still spot similar cues to the original 1963 sports sedan, like the oval shark grill and triangular C-pillar. Positively, the Quattroporte hides its size fairly well with taut proportions and sleek lines, which is a good thing because it stretches out longer than the long-wheelbase versions of both the BMW 750Li and Mercedes-Benz S 550.
Out back though, the Quattroporte looks rather anonymous, and could easily be confused with cars costing half its MSRP. The derriere has had some mixed reviews with some citing that it doesn’t look very Italian, bar the sexy quad exhausts peeking out the bottom. Overall the Quattroporte feels more German-conservative than Italian-ostentatious.
The interior is a different story. Larger and more spacious than before, the Quattroporte provides a simplistic yet charming Italian cabin. The three-layer dashboard is more intricate than the Ghibli’s, and offer more levels and focal points to attract the eye. The same troublesome gear shifter has made an appearance, but we were somewhat distracted by the highly attractive steering wheel with cold aluminum paddles and a blue-faced analog clock.
The front seats are wide, yet have enough bolster to keep my slender body from flying around town. The back seats are luscious and well appointed as well with beautifully integrated headrests sewn in with the trident logos – they are even comfortable enough to make you forget about the bumpy ride.
We’ve also got the optional Zegna Luxury package equipped ($7,900), which layers the seats, door inserts, and sunvisors in a beautifully textured hand-woven silk pattern. Zegna’s silk weave may not be as soft as you’d imagine, but it’s a very durable feeling texture, like a tight knitted scarf. Is it worth the eight grand? While not any more comfortable or appealing to look at as the standard textures, it does offer that extra sense of exclusivity and Italian charm.
The 8.4-inch touchscreen sourced from Chrysler’s UConnect system is intuitive and easy to use. The multimedia unit hasn’t garnered much praise from some consumers due to its incestual beginnings, but I’m perfectly content using it on a day-to-day basis. It genuinely works well. For the 2017 model however, Maserati plans to update it and include a rotary dial as well to control the unit.
The biggest downside of the Quattroporte however is the lack of safety equipment. When the 7 Series and S-Class already have the means to start driving themselves, the absence of notable tech is concerning in the Maserati. The 2016 Quattroporte does come with blind spot monitoring and rear cross path alert, but it does not have any form of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, or forward collision braking. On the bright side, Maserati has announced that these features will be included in the upcoming 2017 model, so if these are gizmos that are important to you as a buyer, I would wait until then.
The Maserati Quattroporte is not the most comfortable full-size luxury sedan out on the market, nor is it the prettiest or most advanced, but a younger and more passionate audience might appreciate its old school charm. With such high-class alternatives reigning in to steal the thunder of the original sports sedan, the Quattroporte is in dire need of a refresh to bring it up to modern day standards. However if you can’t wait for the 2017 model and are willing to trade off some comfort and technology for a more engaging driving experience, well, you won’t find a better dancing partner than this Italian icon.
型号 Model: 2016 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4
顏色 Paint Type: Grigio Maratea ($2,450)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $121,400
試車售價 Price as Tested: $143,550
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,171
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,262 / 1,948 / 1,481
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,091
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 404 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 406 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.8
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Front 245/40R20; Rear 285/35R20; Pirelli P Zero All-Seasons