Maserati is introducing a new trim within its Quattroporte model. After getting feedback from Quattroporte owners and car journalists, Maserati realized that some drivers were frustrated by the automated manual transmission (Duo Select) offered on the earlier model. While it is great on the track, the gear changes are a bit too rough for smooth city driving.
Launched in 2003, the Quattroporte immediately grabbed the attention of the media and car enthusiasts alike, thanks to its elegant design and use of performance-enhancing technology..
The Quattroporte has always been at the forefront of the luxury sports saloon market, since it created this new category back in 1963. It is now considered the archetype of this market segment, which is being explored by other prestigious names in the car industry. Since 2003, the Quattroporte has received 28 awards from the world’s most prestigious media: a tangible sign of its popularity in the motor industry and with the public.
The new trim is fitted with an automatic six-speed ZF gearbox, which ensures a smooth, fluid gear change while allowing for rapid shifting, for improved driving comfort. The gearbox has been specially engineered to resist the torque and RPM produced by the 400hp V8 engine of the Quattroporte. Indeed this 4 door sedan is revving up its engine all the way up to 7500 RPM in a melody very close to its sisters from Maranello.
The all-new transmission system results in a slightly different weight distribution ratio (49% front, 51% rear, vs 47% front 53% rear of the Duo Select version with transaxle layout), but still preserves the extremely sporty nature of the Quattroporte. The torque converter also boosts the progression of the V8 Maserati engine at low to medium speeds, without limiting its power.
The international press will be given a preview of the Quattroporte Automatic at the Detroit Motor Show, and the car will be on sale worldwide from January 2007.
In March 2007 we had the chance to test drive the Quattroporte Automatic at The Collection, the official Maserati dealer for Miami.
From the outside nothing can help you distinguish the new Automatic transmission from its sister Duo Select. The car is still as beautiful as it was 4 year ago when it was first presented to the public. But as for most luxury car, it is only when you get inside that you start feeling something special is happening to your senses.
Simply close the door and you are now in the world of extreme Italian luxury. All surfaces are covered with leather smoother than you have ever touched in BMW or Lexus cars. Attention to detail is everywhere: Maserati logo embossed in the headrest, superb anagogic clock in the dash board, thick sewing thread around the seats and dashboard, Alcantara covers the headliner and all pillars, and you will also find it behind the door handle, so only the Maserati passenger who grabs the handle will enjoy it.
The Quattroporte has been build as a passenger car as much as a driver’s car. Everything has been made to make the ride enjoyable for those being driven. Electric back seats move in any direction and even a secret button hidden in the central console allows to move the front passenger’s seat to get more legroom, without asking your chauffeur!
Under the hood
Enough talk about the luxurious interior, let’s turn on the ignition key, which by the way is a regular key that does not even retract in the handle. It’s a detail but when you spend that kind of money you expect a rounded key and a nice start button to unleash the horses. Anyway, the key still does the job and unleashes the 400 horses from the V8 engine.
The Ferrari engineered power plant pushes the Quattroporte from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds. All this is done with extra smooth gear changes accompanied by the famous Ferrari melody of the 6800rpm. There is no doubt about the engine, it will do the job and it will reward you each day with its Italian melody.
After a couple of miles, I noticed that the gas pedal required a heavy pressure to get started thus making it difficult for your right foot to keep steady low speed. This might just require a little break in period but it could be very annoying if it persist on daily basis.
The ride is very good and the Quattroporte feels like a big 4 door roadster, it is fun, precise and it feels like you are actually driving the car instead of being driven by it ( e.g. Lexus/Mercedes ). It is a very rewarding experience. Each turn, each traffic light can be a little amusement park but only if you want it. Cruising is also possible as the suspension is quite smooth for a sports car, and it should not be a problem to go visit your business partner located 200 miles away using your Maserati.
Compared to the competition, the Maserati Quattroporte is not as common and boring as an S-Class, and it offers more apparent luxury than the BMW 7 Series or the Audi A8.
I would say the Quattroporte is a unique blend of Ferrari engine, AMG S-Class smooth ride and a Bentley handcrafted interior.
If you are a car enthusiast in the market for a four door sports car, you probably already ruled out the Japanese offer as they are far too boring. If the German cars are too common in your neighborhood or you simply want to experience the Italian sport luxury, the Maserati Quattroporte will defiantly bring you what you need.
You get the best of all worlds, and now with the smooth automatic transmission you can jump from one to another by simply pushing your right foot down.
Two last thought before you go buy one:
Priced under $130.000 it is a bargain if you think about what Ferrari would charge you for a 4 door sedan if they would have one to offer.
While there is not much competition yet in the market of exotics 4 door sedan, you may want to know that Porsche is coming up with their own sports sedan: the Porsche Panamera. Even though it will surely not be as sexy as the Maserati, you may want to pre-order one quickly if you want to have one by 2010.