The Maserati Quattroporte is the Italian brand’s top sedan and it gets looks everywhere it goes, but with so many heavy hitters in this segment, is it good enough?
Engine: 3.0L twin-turbo V6/3.8L twin-turbo V8 (GTS)
Output: 424 hp (V6)/523 (V8)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
US Fuel Economy (MPG): 16 city, 23 hwy, 18 combined (V6)/15 city, 22 hwy, 17 combined (V8)
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 14.9 city, 10.3 hwy, 12.8 combined (V6)/16.1 hwy, 10.8 city, 13.7 combined (V8)
Price (USD): Starts at $108,460
Price (CAD): Starts at $129,800
The previous model was lacking a few important features, but this new Quattroporte gets some big updates that help bring it up to speed (not literally because it’s already pretty quick), giving it more tech and convenience to go with its speed and style.
But the main reason anyone gets a Maserati is the powertrain and the Italian automaker upped the ante there, too. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 makes 424 ponies and can be paired with Maserati’s all-wheel-drive system, otherwise, the power is sent to the rear wheels. There’s also a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 523 horsepower, which is only offered with a rear-wheel-drive setup.
The engines, designed and manufactured by Ferrari, are the centerpiece of the Quattroporte, with the eight-cylinder allowing for a 4.7-second sprint to highway speeds, and a top speed in excess of 190 mph. The all-wheel-drive 424-horsepower six-cylinder model is also plenty quick, doing the sprint in 4.8 seconds and managing a top speed of nearly 180 mph.
The speed and power are one thing, but the noise is another, and it’s something that’s hard to describe in words. If your out-of-office automatic email replies had a noise to go along with it, the Maserati exhaust note would be the perfect fit. It’s like an exclamation mark or a mic-drop. Simply put, it’s the perfect noise to leave behind as you depart in a fashionably fast manner.
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Every gear change is accompanied by even more perfect noise, and the same goes with every prod of the gas pedal or any stretch through the rev range. It’s so hard to find this kind of soundtrack in the automotive landscape and when you get it, it becomes intoxicating and addictive. If there had to be a single reason to buy a V8 Quattroporte or any Maserati, it should be the noise it makes.
Fast Car, Great Powertrain
But, of course, there’s more than one reason to purchase the car, like how it responds to the driver. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is good, changing cogs with speed and purpose. The Manual button lets drivers take full control of the gearbox and that’s a joy with the massive column-mounted paddle shifters. All Quattroportes come with a mechanical limited slip rear differential, even the all-wheel-drive model. Naturally, AWD models still emphasize their rear-wheel preference and can transfer up to 50 percent of the available power up to the front axles as quickly as 150 milliseconds.
While the car moves power between the various axles and rear wheels, you’ll probably never really notice — it’s smooth and seamless in operation. The car is big but handles the open road easily, though tighter spots require more familiarity with the dimensions of the car. While the new electric power steering setup seems up to the task of transmitting the driver’s desires to the front wheels, it can’t overcome physics and this is a large car to try to whip around curves.
Big Car with Sporty Hopes
Weighing just under 4,200 lbs, this big car needs some fancy tech and advanced materials to help it feel light on its feet. There’s a lot of aluminum to be found: the doors, the hood, the front quarter panels and the trunk lid are all made of the lightweight metal. The suspension also uses aluminium, but the real treat is the fancy name: Skyhook (admit it, you either made a James Bond-esque sound bite upon hearing that, or gasped in awe/wonder), which is continuously adjusting the ride for optimum comfort or sportiness when the suspension button is pressed. Maserati says that pressing the Sport button unleashes the sporty side of the car (which is the main reason to get a Maserati) and limits body roll. In reality, it toed the line between being engaging and isolated. It’s hard to say it was fun to handle on twisty mountain roads, but it certainly wasn’t the most disconnected experience.
It’s easy to imagine the Quattroporte over or understeering when you overstep its boundaries, but it’s pretty obedient, thanks to a better suite of stability control programs collectively called the integrated vehicle control system. The automaker says this system monitors a number of vehicle dynamics ever 10 milliseconds, meaning can predict and react to a scenario where it needs to intervene. When it does intervene, it adjusts both engine speed and braking to ensure optimal balance and traction. In classic Maserati fashion, they found this new system to be a success at the track, leading to faster lap times. Faster cars need stronger brakes, and the Quattroporte can be equipped with some pretty impressive Brembos that slow the car down almost as quickly as the engine gets it up to speed.
Having tested both the V8 and the all-wheel-drive V6 models of the car, it’s clear that both demonstrate smooth, confident acceleration and won’t leave you hoping for more speed. It sops up highway miles like a Roomba handles a messy tiled floor, a trait now more evident with the additional advanced driver assistance systems, that allow for Level 2 semi-autonomous driving thanks to a new electric power-assisted steering system. A highway assist function that combines features like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring. It will maintain a set distance with the car in front of it, navigate moderate turns, and will even prevent the driver from changing lanes into another vehicle.
It all worked as advertised, but a Maserati has to be enjoyable for the driver as well. The new steering is still sharp, even if it lacks the constant feedback from the hydraulic system that the car used to have. It doesn’t transmit all the granular details of the road, but in a luxury car, that’s an acceptable tradeoff.
The premium touches continue inside, especially if you get a GranLusso model with the Ermenegildo Zegna Silk interior and the Radica open-pore wood dash. It’s so wonderfully unique and exclusive to Maserati, and worth pointing out every time anyone gets in the car. I’ll admit, the texture and feel of the Zegna Silk trim is enticing, but beyond that, the car has a very classy layout with soft, luxurious tanned leather. There’s nice stitching and the headrests feature the Maserati logo, too. The details are right, but if you pry too deep, things aren’t as hot. Astute car enthusiasts will notice that the switchgear is very similar to what you’d find in some other vehicles in the Fiat Chrysler Automobile family, tarnishing a bit of the exclusive luster.
But it means the car is equipped with the UConnect-based infotainment system called Maserati Touch Control +. It features an easy to use touchscreen that’s quick to respond, and a rotary knob on the dash, which also has an inset volume knob — a clever design touch that helps clean up the cabin. The system has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, and you can upgrade the audio system to a 15 speaker, 1,280 watt Bowers and Wilkins unit, which might be the only way to drown out the awesome exhaust noise.
It’s spacious, in just about every dimension, and rear seat passengers wouldn’t have to worry about being left out — there’s heated seats, dual-zone climate control (for each rear passenger), and even USB charging ports in the armrests. Maserati also offers a rear-seat entertainment system that tacks two 10-inch and foldable tables for the easily bored folks in the back.
Of course, the front passengers are treated well, too, there’s heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control and everyone loves soft close doors because they’re so gentle.
The gentle operation of the doors contrasts nicely with the Quattroporte’s striking exterior. It’s slick and sharp, and almost menacing. A revised light signature is achieved by the use of new fully LED operated headlamps, which are also brighter and can automatically peek into the corners you’re driving into, or adjust the height of the light beams for better illumination.
The Quattroporte has been a name given to only gorgeous four-doors over the past 55 years, and this one wears the name well. The revised front bumper takes its cues from Maserati’s gorgeous Alfieri concept car, which has a shark-like look to it. There are restyled side skirts as well, and the rear end is dominated by the different exhaust tips. Oval exits are used for V6 models, while two twin-tipped setups are for the brawny V8 model. Depending on the trim level, you can get 20 or 21-inch wheels, which really enhance the Quattroporte’s visual appeal. You can also turn the whole thing up to 11 and get the carbon fiber exterior kit that flanks some of the car in carbon fiber trim.
The Verdict: 2018 Maserati Quattroporte Review
The Maserati Quattroporte is a pretty interesting car, full of options and spectacle. It’s quick, too, but it might be hard for most to justify spending at least $108,460 for it. And that’s just for the rear-wheel drive V6 model. All-wheel-drive models cost $114,720 ($129,800 CAD, as there’s no RWD V6 model in Canada) and V8s will set you back $139,770 ($162,200 CAD). It’s not cheap, but it is an exclusive ride and one that sounds so sexy, too.
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