The Quattroporte is both the flagship and the most-sensible offering in the current Maserati line-up
Road test: 2017 Maserati Quattroporte
Italian certainly is an evocative language. Had Maserati been founded in Birmingham rather than Bologna, the car you’re looking at would be called the Fourdoor. And probably resemble a Rover.
But the 102-year-old, trident-logoed Italian manufacturer isn’t dulled by any shades of grey of the English language. Instead, it can concentrate on producing its equally evocative, iconically named cars embellished with trademark triple “gills” on each front flank.
As a luxury saloon, the Quattroporte is both the flagship and the most-sensible offering in the current Maserati line-up, with those aforementioned four doors and more than enough room for all the family. That’s all relative, though. While the majority of Quattroportes are powered by 3.0L twin-turbo V6 engines, my test car, in the new GTS GranSport trim, gets an additional two cylinders and 0.8L, which propel it up to a definitely less-than-anodyne 530hp and 650Nm of torque. Even the V6s wield between 350hp and 410hp, plus 500Nm to 550Nm. The downsizing game is still firmly in Maserati’s playbook, then, but they continue to refuse to exclude an eight-cylinder option – all of the engines share parentage, however, being designed and built by Ferrari.
Not that the V8 feels like it’s pushing an entirely insane amount of power once you’re behind the wheel, given the length and girth we’re talking about here. The Quattroporte is more than five metres long and almost two metres wide. You’re never likely to forget that it isn’t quite a corner-devouring sports car, but everything is does do is pulled off exceptionally well, even if it doesn’t have the same blaring-exhaust-happy impact as Maserati’s fabulous SUV, the Levante, let alone its out-and-out sports cars.
The ride lands in a likeable middle ground: it’s taut enough to keep you interested but not so stiff as to defeat the object of the Quattroporte. There are intuitive touches such as the electrically-operated sunshade on the rear window, which, when it’s deployed, will automatically trigger when you shift into reverse. In addition, ventilated seats are a crucial feature in summer to help you equal the car’s general composure.
Perhaps the most overly cautious feature is the Quattroporte’s parking sensors, which take a bit of adjusting to – they start bleeping wildly when still some distance from certain obstacles, which initially can mean that you end up stopping a slightly embarrassing way from kerbs. Still, better that than denting and dinging its nose, I suppose. Less forgivably, the wide B pillars impair visibility at angled junctions to a worrying degree.
The exterior styling has been massaged from the outgoing model year, with updated bumpers, minutely different door mirrors and the same angry-basking-shark grille as the Levante. The GranSport trim, meanwhile, adds an extra sense of speediness inside and out, including new seats – in a fetching shade of brown leather in my test car, with embossed trident logos on the headrests – and plentiful piano-black wood on the dash.
For a car of such dimensions, storage could be better – the central console is laughably shallow – although the 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen is thankfully less constricted, with a clear, functional, easy-to-use layout.
Some of the Quattroporte’s best tech, unfortunately, doesn’t come as standard – you need an optional pack to add features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and surround-view camera.
In a country filled with Italian motoring eye candy, owning a Maserati should be seen as a comparative sign of imagination and taste. That said, however, although the Quattroporte might have the demeanour of a relatively niche car, its worldwide sales since its relaunch in 2013 total a not-inconsiderable 24,000 – and this latest update certainly won’t harm this figure from growing further in the coming months.