This Quattroporte Executive GT is seriously posh. Encouraged by the success of its personalisation programme - through which you can easily spec a regular £74,550 Quattroporte to well beyond the £100,000 mark - Maserati reckons there's demand for a more exclusive version of its ultra-elegant saloon. So, for a somewhat more modest £8600 premium, the Executive GT package brings together some options-list highlights to pamper rear-seat passengers in the sort of luxury normally reserved for Bentley customers. That means heated, massaging electric chairs, a climate control panel, curtains and picnic tables. The driver has to make do with a new leather-and-wood-trimmed steering wheel. From our perspective, the Executive GT seems like something of an oddball choice, because the big Maser is such a great car to be sat up-front in. Its steering feels alive from the off, diving for the apex as if your life depended on it. Sneeze at 100mph and you'll be heading straight for the Armco, which in my book is exactly as it should be in a proper sporting saloon. The cabin remains superbly insulated from the outside world, though, with wind and road noise minimal - all the better to hear the sonorous growl of that fiery V8 in its nose. But does it work as a limo? No, I don't think it does. While it has all the ingredients to create a feeling of luxury, it's hampered by being such a driver-focused car. That infamous paddle-shift gearbox is the biggest problem, making mooching about at low speeds a disaster thanks to a horrible pause between gears that would be masked by the torque converter in a proper auto. Although Maserati claims that its DuoSelect system is 'one gearbox with two souls', it's obviously aware of its shortcomings. Word from the inside is that the QP will be available with a proper ZF automatic gearbox towards the end of the year, leaving the paddle-shifter for the more driver-orientated models. About time too, is all I can say.
|Engine||V8, 4244cc, 32v|
|Max power||394bhp @ 7000rpm|
|Max torque||333lb ft @ 4500rpm|
|Top speed||171mph (claimed)|