First drive: Maserati Quattroporte S

* Quattroporte S tested * New 4.7-litre engine * Costs £85,000...

11 Jul 2008 11:42 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

If you've seen the pictures and fallen in love with the Quattroporte S, get down to your local Maserati dealer quickly, because the queue's growing faster than one at a Kylie kissing booth.

It's hardly surprising, because the S is just £6000 more than the standard model, but comes with a new grille and lights, more standard equipment and significantly more power, thanks to a larger, 4.7-litre engine - 500cc bigger than the standard car.

The changes have turned the Quattroporte from leggy Tourer to vampish four-door GT.

The V8 S sits firmly in super-quick territory, and it sounds great, too. It also annihilates most rivals for sheer driving pleasure, simply because its engine is so free-revving and its power delivery so linear.

Equally, the steering, although light, has an accuracy and a delicacy that's difficult to imagine being bettered.

The S is also extremely responsive and feels absolutely secure through long, sweeping bends.

The slightly rear-biased weight distribution does mean that the front end feels rather light under heavy braking, and the nose is inclined to run a wee bit wide if you're exuberant through tight hairpins. Nonetheless, the S is incredibly agile for such a large car.

Even so, there's no disguising its sheer bulk. At just under two tonnes, the twin-mode adaptive suspension - it can be set for sport or comfort - does its best to keep things under control, but there's still the suspicion that the ride will be bit brittle for UK roads.

Of course, the £85,000 S is not cheap. It's also nowhere near as refined, spacious, comfortable or as well built as a Mercedes S-Class, but boy, it's a damned sight prettier.

• The Maserati Quattroporte S goes on sale in September.