If you’re in the market for a four-door, grand-touring coupe, there is no shortage of choices from the likes of Mercedes-Benz (the CLS-Class), Audi (the A7) and Porsche (the Panamera). Appealing though they may be, none of these cars can offer the buyer an Italian heritage, and none of them can claim to have an engine derived from supercar builder Ferrari.
Enter the Maserati Quattroporte (Italian for ‘four doors”), the Italian luxury automaker’s concession towards practicality in a grand-touring automobile. Like the other makes and models referenced above, the Quattroporte enjoys sleek, coupe-like styling, with the added benefit of rear doors for passenger access. It goes its own direction in styling, however, boasting an elegant shape that’s immediately recognizable as a Maserati. Think long and low, and you get the idea of what the car’s designers had in mind. Forget conventional coupe wisdom, since you won’t find a narrow daylight opening or rising beltline here.
Inside, the theme of Italian elegance carries over. There’s luxury in abundance, from the genuine wood veneers to the rich leather upholstery with available contrasting leather piping. You get the sense that Maserati’s designers worked hard to ensure that nothing was overlooked, down to the power-assisted opening and closing of the doors. Like a fine Italian suit, most Quattroporte models are built to order, and not sold off-the-rack (or in this case, the dealer lot). In other words, most any interior detailing you’d like to specify is probably available for order.
On the road, the Quattroporte is an entertaining car that quickly makes you forget about its size. Some would consider the ride to be on the harsh side, especially on models equipped with the Sport Suspension, but we’d call it just about right. If you’re looking for the optimal blend between handling and ride comfort, consider checking the option box next to the Skyhook air suspension, which is adaptable enough to suit most buyers. There are plenty of other options on the market for buyers wanting a softer ride, and we appreciate the fact that the Quattroporte communicates its intentions to the driver like a sport sedan.
Power in base models comes from a 4.7-liter V-8, rated at 434 horsepower. Step up to the Sport GT S, and output is bumped to 444 horsepower, which is good enough to deliver a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 178 miles per hour. The sole transmission choice is a quick-shifting ZF-built six-speed automatic, which gives the driver the option of shifting via paddles if desired. From inside the cabin, the Ferrari engine note is unmistakable, and the engine sings like a chorus of angels all the way to its 7,500 rpm redline. Ensuring that the Quattroporte slows as well as it goes is the job of its Brembo brakes, and they’re more than up to the task.
The Quattroporte does have a few drawbacks, aside from its $140,000 starting price (which climbs quickly as you add options). The rear seat isn’t for tall passengers, and leg room in the second row is also marginal. While interior fit and finish is good overall, some of the materials and switchgear seem out of place in a high-end luxury car. If you want assembly perfection, you may be happier shopping a Lexus LS; on the other hand, if you want old-world charm and craftsmanship, the Maserati isn’t likely to disappoint.
For a more detailed look at the 2013 Maserati Quattroporte, see our complete review on The Car Connection