Maserati Quattroporte GTS road test: Pleasure by key turn
WHEN you are a bloke, aged about 50 and a successful entrepreneur, what sort of car do you drive?
The answer is simple: a Maserati Quattroporte.
And we're not being sexist either by pigeonholing men as the primary audience. About 95% of Quattroporte buyers are fine fellows.
Lavish, powerful and exclusive, these Italian masterpieces have a rare ability to get the blood pumping.
Now there is an all-new offering to whet performance appetites.
Heading the new Quattroporte line-up is the $320K 3.8-litre twin turbocharged V8 with a raucous engine note and an ability rip from standstill to 100kmh in 4.7 seconds.
It's also 20kmh faster that the old Sport GT S model with a top speed of 307kmh.
The volume seller will be the twin turbo V6 derivative which starts at a more affordable $240,000, but this GTS is the ultimate pin-up for this latest Quattroporte evolution.
Sumptuous surrounds fulfil opulent expectations.
Soft leather adorns the seats, alcantera covers the pillars and rooflining, while the dash is a combination of wood and refined touches. It looks and feels handcrafted.
The new Quattroporte sits on a larger platform, bigger than even the Mercedes-Benz S-Class long wheelbase, and the benefits are reaped by those in the back seat.
China is an important market for brands like Maserati, where owners prefer to be chauffeured, hence the importance of rear head and leg room.
There is ample space for the biggest and burliest of gents.
It can be optioned with a standard bench seat for three, two plusher pews and also with an entertainment pack which includes dual screens and a fold-down table like in an aircraft.
The driver has a good view of the road, with the combination of analogue and digital gauges.
Surprisingly there is no head-up display which projects your speed and other information on to the windscreen. Then again, this a car where it's all about the raw driving experience...albeit in luxury.
The centre stack has been nicely designed with minimal buttons to cause confusion.
Key dials and operations for the air-con and stereo controls are easily recognisable, while most functions are hidden away in the touch-screen (where the ties with parent company Fiat Chrysler are easily seen with similar graphics).
On the road
Bitumen disappears like spaghetti into vacuumed pursed lips.
Caress your foot into the firewall and it's met with an elasticity of power. Savage acceleration is at your whim via the V8 powerplant assembled by Ferrari and it manages to blend potency with sophistication.
That trademark exhaust soundtrack is there with every squirt of the throttle, although slightly muted of what we remember from the previous iteration. The big saloon has near 50:50 weight distribution,
new double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear which delivers an impressively lively package.
Despite its sizable proportions the Quattroporte manages to shrink around the driver. Part of that ability can be attributed to a weight loss of 100kg courtesy of the combination of steel and aluminium architecture.
Pull on the anchors and big Brembo brakes grab and bite quickly - always a handy attribute with that brute power at the ready.
Yet it's not all lumberjack force. The Quattroporte will cruise quietly when required which enables the driver to keep a low profile and slink quietly through traffic.
There are various drive modes to choose from, including sport as the most aggressive, as well and an efficiency mode for improved fuel consumption.
What do you get?
The luxury saloon can be optioned to the hilt, with a selection of wood, carbon fibre and leather finishes for the roof, seats and dash, although a bespoke Quattroporte will take about six months. Your standard offering does come with a 21.3cm touch-screen CD/DVD stereo with full Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, 20-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, reversing cameras, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, dual zone climate controlled air-con along with electrically adjustable front seats and steering wheel.
Bigger is so often better, and the Quattroporte has space in spades.
Adults front and back can stretch out and enjoy the fruits of hard labour. Common sense isn't forgotten, with cup holders front and back, and a host of storage spots through the centre console.
Fuel consumption is about 11 litres for every 100km… but that would take good behaviour. As if, especially with that noise generated by every prod of the accelerator.
Servicing is only required every 20,000km, but that maintenance is expensive. So would insurance and replacement rubber. All things not likely to concern buyers in this realm.
Presence echoes from front to back.
Watch the Quattroporte approach in the rear vision mirror and its bold grille with trident badge and running lights create a striking look.
Although there is nothing overt or kitsch. Most owners opt for the biggest wheels available, 21-inch alloys on low profile rubber with the firmest suspension setting. It possesses a beautifully sculpted look from every angle.
This is classy lingerie at its finest. An alluring, sensual beauty.
Model: Maserati Quattroporte GTS.
Details: Four-door five-seat luxury sports rear-wheel drive saloon.
Engine: 3.8-litre twin turbocharged V8 generating maximum power of 390kW @ 6800rpm and 710Nm @ 2250-3500rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Consumption: 11.8 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 4.7 seconds; top speed 307kmh.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $319,800.
What matters most
What we liked: Slingshot-like acceleration, great noise even if it is slightly quieter than the previous model.
What we'd like to see: Automatic tailgate, heads up display to keep a closer eye on speed.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is every 20,000km.