What is it?
The 2013 Maserati Quattroporte is an important all-new model, which will be built at Maserati’s new factory on the outskirts of Turin. It introduces a number of important changes to the Maserati brand, including a new range of Ferrari-built twin-turbo engines. The car is physically bigger at 5263mm overall (163mm longer than before), and even more luxurious, aiming to compete more directly with established models like the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series.
It’s over 100kg lighter than the old model, thanks mainly to Maserati’s extensive use of aluminium. The lightweight bonnet, front wings, doors, boot lid, suspension and damper towers all help to reduce the new QP’s kerbweight to 1890kg. We drove the top version, powered by a new 530bhp twin-turbo V8. Peak torque is put at 480lb ft (there’s an overboost function that briefly increases the torque to 524lb ft), while the CO2 rating is 278g/km – significantly less than the previous model.
Ferrari is responsible for development on the new engine, and it's built in Maranello exclusively for Maserati. The new Quattroporte will also be offered with a twin-turbo, 404bhp 2.8-litre V6, and this version can also be ordered with 4WD (not available on the V8) but this won’t be available in RHD markets, due to the positioning of the 4WD drivetrain.
What’s it like to drive?
Quite different to the outgoing model. For starters, the twin-turbo engine is much more hushed than the crackling 4.7-litre V8 that powered the previous generation of Maserati Quattroporte (the engine continues in the Granturismo range) but in its place is a endless rush of turbo-enhanced torque, which delivers dramatically improved performance and makes this new Quattroporte the fastest regular production Maserati ever produced.
Top speed is a claimed 191mph, and while the sprint to 62mph takes a mere 4.7secs, it’s the relentlessness of it all that’s so impressive. The new eight-speed ZF gearbox is very refined too, and always seems to be in the right gear at the right time. Don’t think that the new Quattroporte is an out-and-out sports car though, because it’s not. Refinement is the name of the game here; the interior is extremely cosseting thanks to superb, deeply upholstered seats and a centre console positioned higher than before.
On the road, the brakes seem overly servoed when used gently and the handling, whilst very safe, is not as agile as the old car. Understeer is more prevalent than before, and I suspect it’s a result of the engine’s more forward location. It frees up more room in the cabin, but at a cost to dynamics.
How does it compare?
The new Quattroporte is much more luxurious to travel in, but there’s no doubt it has lost some of its handling magic in the process. Where the old Quattroporte cleverly bridged the gap between a sports car and a limo, it’s now positioned much closer to the established limousine players. To my eyes, it’s also lost some of its visual charm. It still stands out from its rivals, but that’s more a reflection of the competition’s staid design, and not the QP’s handsomeness.
Anything else I need to know?
If you’re craving some of the old Quattroporte magic, the good news is that Maserati will be launching the smaller four-door Ghibli saloon in mid-2013, and they say this model will be much more ‘sporting’. Prices haven’t been announced yet but Maserati are hinting they will be similar to the outgoing model (from £87,400) but because there will be more variants in the range (V6, V8, 4WD) than before, the spread of pricing will be much wider.