What is the allure of a Maserati? It starts with how they re made. Each one is made with care by a small team in Modena, Italy, a welcome change from the days of the robotic assembly line. But while the name inspires one to think of the classic Italian sports car, the Quattroporte has always been the model, since the first iteration designed by Pietro Frua hit Italian roads in 1963, made for a more practical life style. After all, Quattroporte literally means four-door , telling drivers that this is built to not just be the experience of a driver but a car built for passenger comfort—a car for a family drive, with the spirit of a supercar.
When the Quattroporte debuted in the 1960s, it was the world’s fastest sedan, with a then-groundbreaking 4.2 litre VI engine that powered the car to a top speed of 220 km/h. The V8 disappeared for a time in the mid-70s in favour of the Bertone-designed mark II, housing a 3.0 litre V6 engine—which was much less popular, with only 11 units in total hitting roads. The V8 returned in 1979 via designer Giorgetto Guigiaro with the mark III, which also featured a three-speed automatic transition. This was what drivers wanted—the production run increased from 11 to 2,100. Maserati went back to the V6 with a Bi-Turbo engine, hewing closer to the entry-level Ghibli models, in 1995, and I wasn’t until 2004 that a 4.2 litre V8 returned with the Quattroporte mark V, more a GT than a Ghibli at heart.
When Maserati’s iconic trident last graced the review pages of WEALTH Arabia, it was with the previous edition of the Quattroporte, 2013’s mark 6, back in 2015. The question we had for ourselves when we got behind the wheel was—has enough changed to warrant a new look? Once we did the answer is—unquestionably.
Since the 1960s, a new Quattroporte was something like a Terrence Malick film—stunning, and only appearing once a decade. Why do we have another, then, five years later? For one, cars built around technology are ageing faster. Even in 2015, the 2013 Quattroporte felt as if it were lagging behind its luxury sedan peers, as if it were just short of where it needed to be. Though Maserati has produced some of the most beautiful and best cars in its active decades, it was still figuring out where it needed to be in this new decade.
That wasn’t to say it wasn’t excellent on its own. In fact, from 2013 to 2017, Maserati shipped 31,400 of its flagship sedan, making it truly the best-selling model in the line’s history—a huge leap for a car that previously only saw a few thousand sold at most. The 2013 Quattroporte also sold to more than 69 countries—making it the most global model as well. In Dubai, where WEALTH Arabia is headquartered, we have noticed too many more Maseratis on our streets this decade than in the previous one, proving that the brand has truly found a new level of appreciation from the region’s car collectors.
So what has changed? First and foremost, the technology—the one thing that has most changed since 2013 edition hit stores. The headlights have adopted Adaptive full LED technology that provides remarkably better visibility, cooler light, glare-free high beam functionality and double extended lamp life. The central dashboard accommodates a high-resolution 8.4 inch multi-touch screen, the centrepiece of what Maserati calls its ‘infotainment’ system, that is now fully compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring functions—something that functions a lot better than it did in the 2013 model, where the biggest difference was felt between the Maserati and its comparable models. The lower console’s rotary knob still offers intuitive control of the system’s basic functions—one thing that did not need to be changed.
The exterior of the Quattroporte had also been restyled, with a new front and rear bumper design and an Alfieri-inspired, more pointed and imposing front grille with vertical chrome elements.
An electrically-adjustable ‘Air Shutter’ sits in the front grille, providing optimal control of the engine’s fluid temperature while also, according to Maserati, substantially improving aerodynamic efficiency, with the company stating that the Cx coefficient of the new Quattroporte has now reached 0.28.
Now, how about the engine? While in the 1970s the switch from a V8 to a V6 hurt the Quattroporte line, technology has developed under the hood to ensure that is no longer the case. The Euro 6, 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 delivers 350 hp power output at 5,500 rpm and 500 Nm peak torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. In fact, 90 per cent of the maximum torque is already available at 1,600 rpm.
At 350 horsepower, the 2018 Quattroporte has stayed loyal to the Maserati’s historically sporty character, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds with a top speed of 270 km/h—all while achieving the lowest ever petrol consumption in the history of Maserati flagship sedans: just 9.1 litres/100 km and 212 g/km CO2 in the combined cycle. Eco-friendly performance is a welcome improvement.
The 2018 model is also fitted with the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that aims for comfort, fast gearshifting, optimised fuel consumption and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. The chassis has, according to Maserati, been designed to meet the performance and comfort demands of Maserati buyers while maximising safety levels, with double-wishbone suspension layouts keeping to the racing spirit of the brand.
The rear suspension has a five-bar multi-link system with four aluminium suspension arms, with a standard Skyhook system fitted with electronically-controlled dampers, a mode built to make the drive more comfortable when initiated. Driving it, you can tell, as it does feel to be the smoothest drive we’ve experienced in a Quattroporte, while still able to transform into a sports car at a moment’s notice.
Along with the new Ghibli, the Quattroporte is the first Maserati to adopt the Integrated Vehicle Control (IVC) system, which has been developed in collaboration with Bosch to prevent loss of control. The model is also the first to introduce Electric Power Steering (EPS), replacing the previous hydraulic system, which has been built to keep the responsive steering feel of a Maserati.
The rest has maintained the excellence drivers have come to expect from an Italian product built meticulously by a small team—impeccable interiors, beautiful build quality and design. Finally the Quattroporte meets all the needs of a top-level sedan in 2018—and we’re so happy we took the chance to experience the model again.