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  • Typical Maserati sedan-style; excellent new V6 engine; superb ZF automatic; dynamic handling; fine ride quality
  • Steering is a dynamic weak link; interior too traditional for some; can feel its size around town; talented all-wheel-drive model not for Oz

OUR RATING
8 / 10



by Mark Hacking

The all-new Maserati Quattroporte really does reflect the Italian car maker’s determined effort to challenge Germany’s luxury marques.

The second generation of the modern Quattroporte (the sixth generation Maserati large sedan overall) launched in Europe earlier this year ahead of its planned Australian introduction in September.

The new Maserati Quattroporte has grown in size – it’s now 166mm longer, 63mm wider and 43mm taller than its immediate predecessor – ostensibly to leave room in the line-up for the forthcoming, mid-sized Ghibli sedan.

While the previous-generation rival for the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series was a taut, flowing design – etched by Pininfarina, no less – the new sedan seems to have moved towards the mainstream.

Of course, in terms of the way it drives this will matter little, particularly considering a crucial aspect of the new car’s specifications – its kerb weight – has been reduced by some 100kg.

Globally, the latest Quattroporte is available with a choice of two different engines and two different drive configurations. The engine line-up comprises a 390kW/650Nm 3.8-litre V8 and a 301kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 – both twin-turbocharged petrol engines, and both assembled by corporate cousin Ferrari in its Maranello factory. The V8 is a rear-wheel-drive sedan; the V6 comes in either rear- or (left-hand-drive-only) all-wheel-drive configurations.

2013 Maserati Quattroporte Review

We’ve gathered many first impressions of cars over the years, but we were yet to experience one with all four wheels off the ground within the first 500 metres of a test. This was not of our doing; we were merely in the passenger seat learning the layout of one particular test track from Alex Fiorio, a former WRC driver for the factory Lancia team.

On this track, there is a quick straight section followed by an S-turn in the middle of a big compression; Fiorio approached this turn without lifting and the Maserati hurtled through mid-air before landing, settling and continuing on its way.

The composure showed by the Quattroporte during this acrobatic manoeuvre was wildly impressive; we expected something on the car would bend or break, but it was content to be driven in this fashion all afternoon long.

But there is more to this grand touring saloon than just that; on the track’s fast corners, the all-wheel-drive system produced prodigious road-holding and a tendency to perform tail-happy slides at the limit. Impressive.

The AWD system maintains a 35:65 front-to-rear torque bias and is aided by a mechanical rear differential and a torque-vectoring brake system at the front wheels that has clearly been honed to a very fine point, though being LHD-only it is irrelevant for local buyers.

2013 Maserati Quattroporte Review

If there’s a weak link in the handling set-up it’s the steering, which suffers from weighting that’s too unpredictable depending on vehicle speed. The steering wheel is also overly big, but these criticisms matter little when set against the strength of the overall package.

Out on the open road, the Maserati Quattroporte performs as one would expect an executive sedan to perform. The engine note is sufficiently seductive and for good reason; although our test car is two cylinders down on the top-of-the-line model, it’s also one of the fastest V6 sedans in the world.

Rocketing along the autostrada at over 160km/h is a comfortable, effortless experience and there is never the sense that two cylinders are missing in action.

The eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF is a common design among luxury brands these days, but in this case it has been calibrated for quicker shifts – 40 per cent quicker than other applications, according to Maserati.

Inside, the Quattroporte is a reflection of the car as a whole. It’s the unexpected choice and, more pointedly, the non-Germanic choice. The interior has all the latest technology, but it’s ensconced in a uniquely crafted cabin that echoes cars of the past.

There are a few metallic touches here, for example, and no faux carbonfibre or TFT read-outs; it’s mainly soft-touch materials, earthy tones and analogue gauges.

2013 Maserati Quattroporte Review

Behind that massive steering wheel are two very prominent paddleshifters, and to the centre is a screen to house the navigation system. Take these two elements away and the Quattroporte could have been from a past era. It is very traditional.

Of course, it makes sense that a luxury Italian automobile should possess plenty of style. But what is so surprising about the Maserati Quattroporte is the quality of the engineering, and how engaging the car is to drive.

We expected a fairly soft sedan, one that couldn’t come close to the best the Germans had to offer – we were wrong.


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MASERATI QUATTROPORTE BREAKDOWN

2013 Maserati Quattroporte Review
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Maserati Quattroporte Specs

MY13 : 4.2L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 6 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
MASERATI
Model
QUATTROPORTE
Series
MY13
Year
2013
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$141,130 - $160,380
Dealer Retail
$136,440 - $162,250
Dealer Trade
$108,400 - $128,300
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
4.2L
Cylinders
V8
Max. Torque
460Nm @  4500rpm
Max. Power
295kW @  7000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
148.2W/kg
Bore & Stroke
92x79.8mm
Compression Ratio
11
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
90Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
14.7L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1990
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1438mm
Length
5097mm
Width
1895mm
Ground Clearance
100mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
12.3
Front Rim Size
8.5x19
Rear Rim Size
10.5x19
Front Tyres
245/45 R19
Rear Tyres
285/40 R19
Wheel Base
3064
Front Track
1582
Rear Track
1595
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seats
Control & Handling
19 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control Rear, Power Steering, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer
Entertainment
Compact disc player, Premium Sound System
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Xenon Headlights
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows, Wood Grain Trim
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  20,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Eng Scuttle
Country of Origin
Italy