The new Maserati Quattroporte is aimed at picking up where the old one left off, which is to say it provides a decidedly left-field option for those in the market for a luxury car. If you want to feel like a Mafia Don, the big Maserati is the way to go.
However, being left field doesn’t always pay the bills, which is why Maserati is aiming to nick sales from mainstream rivals such as the Jaguar XJ and Mercedes-Benz S-Class with this, the Quattroporte diesel.
The on-paper theory is great – super-slick designer looks mated to a drivetrain that’ll keep down the costs. This, therefore, makes that chic styling and undoubted cachet of the Maserati badge available to more people because the diesel is also the most accessible version of the new Quattroporte, at a snip under £70,000.
It’ll only work if the real-world experience matches up to the promise though.
What’s the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte diesel like to drive?
The Maserati name signifies a certain sporting intent, so it would be unfair to deride the Quattroporte for being neither as quiet nor smooth as a Merc S-Class. A Jaguar XJ has a similarly sporting bias, so is a much more natural rival. Unfortunately for Maserati, the Jag is also significantly better to drive.
The Quattroporte’s 3.0-litre V6 diesel hums away at idle, but as soon as you pull away it sounds rough and strangled. You can put the car in Sport mode, which activates a couple of sound actuators in the exhaust to make it sound better, but in reality it can’t drown out the engine’s thrashy sound.
You need to give the accelerator a hefty shove before the car will move with any real purpose, too. Nothing much happens until the revs have passed 1800rpm but after that the big Maserati fairly scoots forward. The gearbox changes up and down pretty quickly and reasonably smoothly, but stick the car in Sport mode and it merely holds on to each gear until the engine is revving uncomfortably high. Changes become snatchier, too.
Luxury cars simply have to ride well. Even the sporty Jaguar XJ, while firm, is beautifully controlled and keeps its body on a tight rein. It steers and grips well, too.
Not so the Maserati. Its steering is certainly light and sharp, which is a bonus in town, but it doesn’t tell you enough about how much grip the front wheels have. It also kicks back over cat’s eyes and gets dragged this way and that by ridges and crests – not ideal when you’re changing lanes on the motorway.
Even in Normal mode the ride is too crashy, to the extent that you’re always aware exactly how world-weary the road surface feels. Still, the engine noise fades into the background as your speed rises, although it’s replaced by a fair bit of road noise from the 19-inch alloy wheels.
What’s the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte diesel like inside?
Space is luxury, so the saying goes, by which token the Quattroporte is extremely luxurious indeed.
There’s plenty of space for front-seat occupants to relax in, and the adjustability of the seat and steering column means it’s easy to find the perfect driving position.
Even with the front seats set as far back as they’ll go there’s loads of legroom for those in the rear seats, and there’s little chance of your head touching the rooflining either. The boot is a perfectly fine size.
However, given that you’re paying virtually £70,000 for your new Maserati, quality is not as good as it should be. Some of the plastics and trims feel too lightweight, and some of the finishings, such as at the base of the rear seatback, is not worthy of a family car let alone a luxury car. The interior is also nigh-on identical to that in the (much cheaper) Ghibli executive car.
In addition, the action of the gearlever is a fiddly nonsense, because it’s too awkward to select Reverse or Neutral if you’re in Drive. Far too often you find yourself flicking into Park, which becomes tiresome and frustrating pretty quickly.
Should I buy one?
The numbers on the Quattroporte stack up pretty well against rivals such as the Jag XJ. The Maserati uses a little less fuel and pumps out a bit less CO2 than its rival, but this is slightly undermined by the fact it has a higher list price.
The sheer desirability of the Maserati name means it is liable to have decent resale values, which will help with ownership and leasing costs. However, the luxury car par excellence Merc S-Class is significantly more efficient than either, so is likely to be even cheaper to run.
So the Jag is better to drive and just as cheap as the Quattroporte, while the Merc is better than both at virtually everything and cheaper to run.
The Maserati certainly isn’t run of the mill, but you’d have to be pretty determined to be different to go for the Quattroporte over its more well rounded and refined luxury rivals.
What Car? says
Engine size 3.0-litre diesel
Price from £69,230
Torque 442lb ft
0-62mph 6.4 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 45.6mpg