Paul Murrell’s 2014 Maserati Quattroporte review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

IN A NUTSHELL A beautifully crafted four door sedan with proper Italian flair and unequalled pedigree.

PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS There’s no practical reason why you’d spend the extra dollars to buy the V8 when the V6 is such a capable and enticing engine. But what’s $80,000 between friends?

AT THE SYDNEY LAUNCH OF THE NEW QUATTROPORTE, Maserati general manager Glen Sealey was understandably upbeat about the future for the model and marque, but when it came time to talk about pricing, the New Zealand media were quietly handed a price list that we Australians weren’t meant to see. The Australian price for the new V6- engined Quattroporte S is $240,000. In New Zealand $194,900 (at the current exchange rate, $A186,104). The V8 GTS is $319,800 to Aussie buyers, and a comparative bargain $258,900 ($A245,955) across the Ditch.

We were treated to a video presentation of Maseratis of old (this being the 100th anniversary of the company) and what a stunning collection of cars they were. The last Quattroporte, the fifth generation, was the best selling Maserati of all time. Harold Wester, CEO of Maserati, went to the Fiat Group and asked for €1.4 billion to develop the next generation Ghibli and Quattroporte.

It’s not difficult to see where the money has gone. The new Quattroporte is virtually all-new, from the platform, body, suspension, engines and interior. Even the badge is new – it’s the first time the four-door Maser has worn a Quattroporte badge. Step inside and it is unmistakably upmarket and Italian with knobs and buttons used where they are more suitable than electronic alternatives. The higher, wider tail suits the proportions and creates a cavernous 530-litre boot space; the new grille is sharper; and the Cd is an impressive 0.31.

Performance is more than adequate, although the Maserati isn’t as quick as the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG or BMW M5. The V6 is an all-new direct-injection unit pushing out 301kW of power and 650Nm. It is remarkably close in performance terms to the outgoing Quattroporte GTS V8. One hundred km/h comes up in 5.1 seconds, yet fuel consumption has fallen to a claimed 10.4L/100km. The V8 puts out 390kW and 650Nm, rising to 710Nm on overboost. Zero to hundred is 4.7 seconds and fuel consumption 11.8L/100km.

The balance between ride and handling is a fine one for a large, ultra-premium sedan, but the new Maserati’s double wishbone front and rear suspension with variable damper rates is a superb compromise. With the suspension set to sports mode, ride can become a little, let’s say “lively” over broken roads. For fast country driving on good surfaces, sports mode is the setting of choice, and we left it there for most of the time. But when fast bends are combined with patched bitumen or disintegrating edges, the suspension is best left in normal mode for more controlled progress.

For such a large sum, the Quattroporte is well-equipped, although some Fiat borrowings are obvious, such as the infotainment system. There’s plenty of plush leather and high quality fittings, but the Quattroporte falls short of standards set by Aston Martin or Mercedes’ S-Class.

Moving up from the V6 to the V8 sees a small change in interior trim, larger alloy wheels (which, for once, don’t appear to affect ride quality to any major extent) and square exhaust outlets rather than round. There’s no blind spot monitoring, no auto park, no auto high beam or auto braking because, according to Maserati, this is a car the driver wants to be in control of.

The big Maserati hasn’t been ANCAP tested, but scored five stars in Euro NCAP tests.

If you can bite the bullet with the greedy luxury car tax grab, the Quattroporte is well-priced within the parameters of its class. It costs more than an S-Class, 7-Series or Jaguar XJ, less than a Bentley Flying Spur or Aston Martin Rapide, and it’s on a par with its most obvious competitor, the Porsche Panamera.

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Maserati Quattroporte GTS

PRICE from $319,800 (plus ORC) WARRANTY three-year, unlimited kilometres SAFETY not stated ENGINE 3.8-litre DOHC twin turbo petrol engine POWER/TORQUE 390kW 650Nm TRANSMISSION eight-speed auto; BODY 5.26m (L); 1.95m (W); 1.48m (H) WEIGHT 1900kg THIRST 11.8L/100km (combined).


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