New & Used Maserati Quattroporte: In Depth
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The Maserati Quattroporte is a four-door luxury performance sedan. It is the larger of Maserati's two sedans, now that the brand offers a mid-size Ghibli.
The Quattroporte--Q-porte for short--is a rival for vehicles like the Jaguar XJ and Audi A7/S7/RS 7, and perhaps even the Aston Martin Rapide.
Literally translated from the Italian as "four doors," the Quattroporte name goes back to the 1960s for Maserati. Although Quattroporte models of the 1970s, '80s, and even '90s were more status symbols than drivers' cars, that began to change in the late 1990s when Ferrari got heavily involved with the Maserati brand.
MORE: Read our 2014 Maserati Quattroporte preview
From 2004 on, the Quattroporte--designed by famed Italian styling house Pininfarina--has blended the sense of exclusivity and lavish feel found in a low-volume model with the passion of an Italian sports car.
With a sharklike front end, aggressively raked windshield, and classic, elegant roofline and long hood, the Quattroporte's styling struck a middle ground between sports-car athleticism and sedan elegance. Almost no two Quattroportes are the same. Most are built to order, with many upholstery, paint, trim, and interior possibilities.
The more savage, sonorous character of this era of the Quattroporte is one of its most desirable aspects. It packed a Ferrari-designed and -assembled 400-hp, 4.2-liter dry-sump V-8 under its hood, and the engine seldom went quietly. It felt more like a sports coupe than a sedan from the driver's seat, thanks to the combination of excellent sport seats and quite narrow footwells. Comfort wasn't really a strong point for this Quattroporte; there was enough back-seat space for two adults, and the trunk was surprisingly small.
Over the years, this Quattroporte gained new variants. The S model upgraded to a 425-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8, while the Sport GT S had a 434-hp version of the 4.7-liter. By 2013 the Quattroporte was only offered in S and GT S models, making 434 hp and 444 hp respectively.
The new Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati brought out a new Quattroporte for 2014, aiming it beyond the traditional markets of the U.S. and Europe at places like China and the Middle East. This all-new four-door also gave light to a smaller version, which revives the Ghibli nameplate and shares some powertrain components. For the first time, Maserati will offer all-wheel drive on the Quattroporte (along with its new smaller sibling) in hopes of increasing sales in the Northeast and Midwest. The plan has apparently worked, with Maserati posting its best sales year yet on big growth in the U.S. and Chinese markets, the brand's first and second largest markets respectively.
Up close, the details of the new Quattroporte aren't clearly related to its predecessor, but step back a few feet and the flowing proportions resolve into perfect, familial clarity. Crisp creases and angular accents dominate the new exterior design. An ovoid grille with a large trident emblem dominates the nose, sweeping up to the curved hood and into the fenders. A character line traces along the side and over the flanks, into a simple, understated rear end. The overall effect is one of refinement and class, as well as emotive style. Inside, the look is more subdued, but no less well-executed. Satin woods and fine leathers meet with metal accents in a clean, two-tone finish.
There are two engine options in the latest Quattroporte, both of which are twin-turbocharged: a 3.0-liter V-6 making 410 horsepower in the S and a 530-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-8 for the GTS. The V-6 model hits 60 mph in around five seconds, while the V-8 reduces the time to 4.7. Rear-wheel drive is standard with both engines, while all-wheel drive is an option on the V-6 model, and both engines use a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The all-wheel-drive system, dubbed Q4, can apportion up to 50 percent of torque to the front wheels when necessary, but usually sends all of it to the rear otherwise, for a sportier experience.
Equipment and features are, as with any Maserati, quite good even in base form, and there are many possibilities for personalization and customization. Available features include a 1,280-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system; Maserati Touch Control screen; adjustable pedals; a reverse camera; and WLAN-based in-car WiFi. Maserati offers an Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition model of the Quattroporte named for the famed Italian design house and featuring finishes chosen with help from the fashion experts.