Maserati wants to sell more cars and so needs to become more conventional.
So, where the previous Quattroporte saloon was a difficult car to pigeonhole, this all-new model has plenty of direct rivals.
For example, it’s the same length as a long-wheelbase Mercedes S-Class and offers similar amounts of space. Effectively, then, the new Quattroporte is a traditional luxury saloon, albeit with the sort of sporting bent you’d expect from a Maserati.
Power comes from two new Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged petrol engines – a 523bhp 3.8-litre V8 and a 3.0-litre V6 with 407bhp – and is fed through a new eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Beneath the new bodywork is an equally distinctive new interior look that shares little with the outgoing car. There are also plenty of new gadgets and opportunities for personalisation.
What's the 2013 Maserati Quattroporte like to drive?
Fast is your first impression. We sampled only the V8 and it’s a mighty engine, being both flexible and free-revving.
Floor the throttle and the new Quattroporte feels distinctly quicker than even the sportiest version of the outgoing model – it also feels quicker and has more overtaking ability than almost any other luxury saloon.
The big surprise is how cultured and polished the engine sounds compared with the old Quattroporte’s V8. Yes, you can make it pop and fizz a little if you change down using the steering wheel paddles – or if you select ‘sport’ rather than ‘comfort’ mode – but otherwise it’s remarkably cultured.
You might think too civilised if you’re wedded to Maserati’s traditional way of doing things, but the Quattroporte’s new-found refinement is arguably more appropriate for its intended audience.
Our rather congested test route meant it was difficult to come to many conclusions about how the car handles. However, impressions are that it’s impressively agile for a two-tonne saloon.
The steering is also precise, allowing you to thread the Quattroporte down narrow roads. You get the sense that it can handle high-speed corners and fast direction changes easily, too, because body control is impressive.
Our only concern is ride comfort. Even in ‘comfort’ mode you feel plenty of thumps through the cabin and our test car (on standard 20-inch wheels) didn’t cope with scarred French roads with the finesse of a Mercedes S-Class or Jaguar XJ.
We can only hope things aren’t worse on British roads.
What's the 2013 Maserati Quattroporte like inside?
The new Quattroporte’s extra length hasn’t gone to waste because rear accommodation is excellent. True, headroom is tighter than in some luxury limos, but there’s acres of legroom.
You can specify a two-seat rear bench with a central divider, or a three-seater that splits and folds to extend the bigger and longer boot.
The cabin looks great, too. Most of the controls are now operated via a large, centrally located touch-screen, leaving a clutter-free fascia that’s both elegant and simple.
Seat comfort is on a par with any big German saloon's, but unfortunately the switchgear and fittings don’t feel quite as solid or as well damped as those in a Mercedes S-Class.
The dashboard looks and feels classy, but some of the minor items – such as the lidded stowage space in the central console – are decidedly flimsy for a car costing six figures.
Should I buy one?
If you want a luxury limo that prioritises comfort and refinement, the new Quattroporte probably isn’t for you.
However, it’s certainly worth considering if you value space and pseudo-sports car performance.
That said, we suspect the forthcoming V6 version may be the one to have, not least because it will be considerably cheaper to buy.
In either case, we’d just hope the Quattroporte’s ride isn’t too harsh when we test it in the UK next year.
What Car? says…
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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