The rule kind of goes like this: If you’re driving a high-priced Italian exotic, you don’t complain about it.
Engine: 3.0L twin turbo V6
Power: 404 hp, 406 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA Fuel Economy (MPG): 16 city, 23 hwy, 18 combined
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 15.4 city, 7.8 highway
US Price: S Q4 Starts at $107,900
CAN Price: S Q4 Starts at $121,400
Well, I’m about to break that rule. You might hate me for doing this, but it has to be said: The Maserati Quattroporte is a completely unimpressive car. *runs for cover*
Before you call me a spoiled brat, let me declare that in isolation, this car is fantastic. It’s luxurious and it’s wearing a huge Maserati badge, so what could possibly be wrong with it, right? It’s not that the Quattroporte is a bad car, but when you compare it to other cars in its segment, they just set such a high bar, and the Quattroporte just can’t meet those high standards. It can’t even meet lower standards of cars that cost far less, and that’s a huge problem.
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An Image Issue
I’m not the only one who thought this, either. Nearly everyone I picked up and drove around just shrugged their shoulders and said, “That’s it? I was expecting more.” If you’re an image-conscious luxury car shopper, there are many other cars that are more dramatic that will get you noticed. The sedan doesn’t have a lot of presence on the road and the design is not particularly pretty.
One design cue that really annoys me is the small base wheels. The 19-inchers don’t fill up the wheel-well enough, making it look awkward and cheap. The wheels are also slightly inset, and should be pushed out more to give the sedan a more authoritative stance. The car really doesn’t look proper unless it’s wearing 20 or 21-inch wheels. You’d expect a six-figure car to automatically come with big enough wheels.
If you don’t care about image and want big luxury executive sedan, then Maserati does the trick well. At a quick glance, it’s classy and conservative. It also scores points because Maseratis are generally quite rare, so they seem more exotic and exclusive.
The Drive is Nothing Special
Maseratis are famous for their angry Italian V8 howl, but this Quattroporte S Q4 has a V6 under the hood. The Ferrari-built 3.0-liter twin turbo V6 sounds pretty good under full throttle, but I’m convinced that the Shelby GT350 I was driving last week was so loud that it left me partially deaf, because the Quattroporte is far too quiet. Putting it in sport mode helps a bit, but the Maserati is just so subdued and drama-free. If I’m paying more than six figures for a car, I want drama everywhere.
With 404 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, the Quattroporte can get to 60 miles an hour in 4.6 seconds. It’s is faster than you’d ever need it to be and it stays really flat in a corner, but again, it doesn’t meet expectations because there’s a fair bit of turbo lag. You floor the pedal the the car takes a couple beats to really get going, which is made worse as the eight-speed transmission seems to take too long to sort itself out.
The steering is has a solid, heavy feel and it’s quite responsive, but the whole experience is kind of ruined by the terrible paddle shifters. They’re enormous, they don’t turn with the wheel, and they get in the way of the signal turn stalk. Even if you never use them, they will still annoy you. And it’s the same story with the joystick-like gear selector that bounces back to center once you pick a gear, which is clunky and never works like you want it to. FCA, which owns Maserati, even had to recall cars outfitted with a similar setup because people didn’t know how to use them, and it became a safety issue.
ALSO SEE: 2016 BMW 750i xDrive Review
In the end, the drive is nothing special. It does the job, but if excellent driving dynamics in a big sedan are what you’re after, this isn’t the best car you can get.
The Interior is Nothing Special
The Quattroporte’s interior is also a huge a disappointment. I love the red leather and optional Zegna trim, but the rest of nothing special. There are a lot of cheap-looking FCA parts that don’t make the Maserati feel as high-end as it should, and the piano black trim gets very dusty very quickly. Cheap plastic can be found everywhere, and there are a lot of little annoying things that show a lack of attention to detail from Maserati.
Where Are All the Features?
If you look at all the other executive sedans on the market right now, the Maserati falls short in other areas, too. Compared to a BMW 7 Series, a Mercedes S-Class, an Audi A8 or RS7, or even a Porsche Panamera, the Maserati is bare bones.
There are none of the features you’d expect at this price point: there’s no adaptive cruise control, no head-up display, no 360 degree camera, no wireless phone charging, no lane departure warning, no automatic emergency braking, or lane keep assist. Some of these are things you can find in a Honda Civic these days, so it’s kind of embarrassing that they’re not in this Maserati.
The Verdict: 2016 Maserati Quattroporte Review
The main draws of the Quattroporte are the enormous Maserati trident emblem in the grille and its Ferrari-built engine, but other than that, there’s not much else that sets it apart or makes it better than its competition. Maserati really needs to give its flagship sedan a refresh to make it more competitive.
Perhaps its biggest downfall is that it just doesn’t feel that special or expensive when you drive it and sit in it, and it feels very behind the times because it’s lacking so many features we’ve come to expect. It says a lot when a topline Mercedes C450 AMG feels more fancy, drives better, sounds better and has more features, all while costing a fraction of the Quattroporte.
If you had your heart set on a Maserati, the GranTurismo sounds downright savage and looks damn sexy, but if you need something more practical, the Levante is more modern. If it were my money on the line, however, I’d rather have an Audi RS7.