ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE MASERATI QUATTROPORTE

Last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the wraps were taken off the latest Maserati Quattroporte; the main features a number of upgrades including power raised to 430bhp from its V6 engine.

In most cases I have to venture off my home patch to get behind the wheel of a test drive, however on this occasion my test tarmac was the roads of County Down. I have to admit it had been some time since I last drove the Italian carmaker’s super saloon. With the power increase top speed is 178mph (288 km/h) and better acceleration, rest to 62mph (100km/h) in five seconds while the S Q4, with the Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, needs only 4.8 seconds for the same sprint. The family of Maserati petrol engines boasts the top-of-the range 3.8-litre V8 for the GTS and the three litre V6, S and S Q4 versions. Both V8 and V6 engines are twin-turbocharged, developed by Maserati in collaboration with Ferrari and built by Ferrari in Maranello. This, for many, is the icing on the cake, a Ferrari powered saloon.

We all have to admit when it comes to style, the Italians take some beating, whether it be fashion or cars they have that something very special. The exterior of the latest Quattroporte had been elegantly restyled with a new front and rear bumper design and an Alfieri-inspired, more pointed and imposing front grille with vertical chrome elements, which contrasts with the deep ‘sharknose’ effect. An electrically-adjustable Air Shutter sits in the front grille between the air vents and the engine’s radiator, providing optimal control of the engine’s fluid temperature while substantially improving aerodynamic efficiency.

Two trim levels, introduced for model year 2017, are available as an upgrade for all V6 versions diesel, Quattroporte, S, S Q4 and are priced at the same level across the range. The top of the range GTS is available exclusively with either the GranLusso or GranSport trim as part of its standard equipment. GranLusso and GranSport represent the perfect blend of luxury and performance. As you would expect the GranLusso trim reinterprets the concept of luxury, enhancing the exterior finish with elegant cues such as chrome bumper inserts, 20 inch Mercurio rims and black-painted brake calipers. In the cabin, it features exclusive Ermenegildo Zegna mulberry silk inserts on the seats, door panels, roof lining and ceiling light fixture, combined with an open-pore Radica wood trim and wood-finished leather steering wheel.

The GranSport trim underscores the racing pedigree of the Quattroporte thanks to a different front and rear bumper design with glossy black finish, red brake calipers, blue inserts in the Trident and Saetta logos and 21 inch forged aluminium Titano wheels. The sport seats, sport steering wheel and aluminium gearbox paddles are combined with high-gloss Black Piano wood trim and Inox Sport pedals in the interior, guaranteeing a genuinely thrilling driving experience.

Amidst all of the luxury which some will crave for; to me with the Quattroporte it is the sheer driving experience, yes German cars from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes all do what they are supposed to do, but with this Maserati there is a giant helping of passion. Handling is good and with it comes a high level of comfort, the chassis has been precisely designed to meet the performance and comfort demands of Maserati buyers while maximising safety levels. With the longest wheelbase in the class at its core, the Quattroporte equally offers unparalleled interior comfort and exciting handling characteristics. Despite its large size, the latest version is remarkably lightweight, weighing 1,900 kg in V8 form while the rear-wheel-drive V6 versions weigh 40 kg less than the flagship GTS and the double-wishbone suspension layouts are a racing tradition at Maserati.

Of course the Quattroporte has all of the creature comforts that such a car should have, an excellent in car entertainment system, although the sound of the Ferrari engine is perhaps more appealing to some. The Harman Kardon Premium Sound System is a standard feature throughout the entire range and for hi-fi enthusiasts the optional Bowers & Wilkins Surround Sound System, with 15 speakers; concert hall quality on the move. The Quattroporte can contain optional WLAN technology that effectively turns the car into a Wi-Fi vehicle hotspot. Owners can place a SIM card into the WLAN router to receive Internet signals, which can be resent around the car as a wireless Internet signal. Up to three devices can be connected simultaneously. Summing up, a large extremely well appointed saloon with two personalities, sporting or executive.

Ian Lynas