This new Maserati Quattroporte is part of the Italian firm's ambitious plans to increase its worldwide sales in the luxury car segment.
It’s more conventional in appearance and much larger than the previous model, being the same length as a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It’s effectively a traditional luxury saloon, with the sporting bent you’d expect from a Maserati.
Despite the increase in size, the latest Quattroporte is significantly lighter and more aerodynamic than the old model, so economy has improved.
Power comes from two Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged petrol engines – a 523bhp 3.8-litre V8 and a 404bhp 3.0-litre V6 – and a new 271bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, as already installed in the smaller Ghibli saloon.
The diesel engine in the Quattroporte delivers 45.6mpg in the official tests, with a CO2 figure of just 163g/km, and Maserati expects it to account for more than 60% of the car’s sales in the UK.
This was our first chance to drive all versions of the car in the UK.
What's the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte like to drive?
If you’re driving the V8, fast is your first impression. 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 old 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. Yes, you can make it pop and fizz a little if you change down using the steering column-mounted paddles – or if you select ‘sport’ rather than ‘comfort’ mode – but otherwise it’s remarkably cultured. Changes from the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox are smooth and quick.
You might think it’s all 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 wider audience.
The V6 version feels pretty swift, too, and on paper is very nearly as fast as the bigger-engined car (its 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds is only just behind the V8’s 4.7 seconds). On the road the smaller engine actually proves to be the smoother of the two, even if it doesn't sound as good as the V8.
We also briefly drove the new diesel version, which suffers from a slight hesitancy at low revs, and by comparison with the two petrol-engined models can feel short of puff. However, any diesel rumbles are well muted, and this Quattroporte also uses the same Active Sound system as the Ghibli, which helps produce a more traditionally sporting exhaust note at the touch of a button.
All models have a perfect 50:50 weight distribution and handle with an agility that belies the Quattroporte’s enormous size. The steering is precise and well weighted, allowing you to thread the car down narrow roads. Thanks to its impressive body control, the Quattroporte can also easily handle high-speed corners and fast direction changes.
Our only concern is ride comfort. Even with the suspension in ‘comfort’ mode you feel plenty of thumps through the cabin, and the Quattroporte doesn’t cope well with typically pock-marked British roads. There’s an unsettled quality to the ride – it certainly doesn't have the finesse of a Mercedes S-Class or Jaguar XJ.
What's the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte like inside?
The Quattroporte’s extra length hasn’t gone to waste, because rear-seat space 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 big boot.
The cabin looks great, too. Most of the controls are 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 – seem decidedly flimsy.
Should I buy one?
If you’re after a luxury limo that prioritises comfort and refinement, the Quattroporte probably isn’t for you.
However, it’s a vast improvement over the previous model, being faster, more agile and more economical. It’s certainly worth considering if you value space and pseudo-sports car performance.
Although most buyers will plump for the diesel, the two petrol-engined versions are the more involving to drive. The V8 is a belter, but it’s the V6 that makes more sense, being nearly as fast, and cheaper to buy and run.
What Car? says…
Maserati Quattroporte V6 Engine size 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 Price £80,095 Power 404bhp Torque 406lb ft 0-62mph 5.1 seconds Top speed 177mph Fuel economy 26.9mpg CO2 244g/km
Maserati Quattroporte V8 Engine size 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 Price £108,160 Power 523bhp Torque 524lb ft 0-62mph 4.7 seconds Top speed 191mph Fuel economy 23.9mpg CO2 274g/km
Engine size 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6
Torque 443lb ft
0-62mph 6.4 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 45.6mpg