The Quattroporte is the ultimate embodiment of qualities for which Italy is renowned throughout the world: an appreciation of beauty and good living, elegance, sophisticated engineering, genuinely sporty temperament and alluring exclusivity.
A host of other features also turn this new Maserati into a truly exclusive car: a highly sophisticated, light, compact yet thrillingly responsive 4.2-litre 90° V8 that punches out 400bhp; the Skyhook automatic damping system; the renowned MSP (Maserati Stability Program); electronically controlled power steering; and a powerful braking system.
The purity of the technical solutions adopted for the Quattroporte, the lack of any fussy details or complications, the sensuality of a line created by the world’s most celebrated stylist, and a sophisticatedbespoke leather and wood interior personalised to suit each individual owner, all combine to make the new Quattroporte absolutely irresistible.
The new Quattroporte is the first Maserati that Pininfarina has designed in 50 years.
The late great ‘Pinin’ himself created some extraordinary sports cars for the Trident marque in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the last of which was the 1953 A6G.CS Berlinetta Sport of which only four were built between 1954 and 1955. After that, the Turin-based coachworks devoted itself to Ferrari, then the Trident’s fiercest rival.
Nonetheless, it was thanks to that ancient history and Pininfarina’s long-held ambition to one day design a big high performance Italian saloon that we have the new Maserati Quattroporte in its present form: a car that combines strength and power in a stunningly sensual package, in which every last detail has been carefully finished and the Trident’s trademark styling cues highlight its legendary bloodline.
The Quattroporte’s styling is unmistakably Italian: elegant yet aggressive and devoid of even the slightest hint of fussiness. Its soft forms are broken here and there by crease lines that create a sense of tension. The Quattroporte’s lines flow clean and fluid, while its high waist-line gives it a sense of solidity and robustness. Its body is as agile and well-muscled as an athlete’s, its beautifully balanced proportionslending it an air of confident dynamism. This is a big, refined car yet sporty too. The Quattroporte was designed over a long wheelbase with a cab-back stance which highlights the length of the bonnet (in aluminium, just like the boot).
These features combined with the imposing grille and C-post, the latter affording a certain amount of privacy to the occupants as befits a luxury limousine, are all part of the Trident tradition.
Three styling cues that mark the Quattroporte out as a real Maserati at first glance and only serve to accentuate its authoritative personality. The legendary Trident badge takes pride of place on the nose, framed by the chrome-framed grille. Three air inlets, almost camouflaged by their dark colour, lighten the look of lower part of the front bumper, while the headlights are set slightly back from the grille and delineate the top of the car’s nose. The lights are also the starting point for a crest on the wing that runs the whole of the flank as far as the rear light cluster.
The side profile is dynamic thanks to the very short front overhang and the low front wing line, while the rear wheels are set in a muscular volume beneath the triangular C-post that frames the famous Maserati tridentand arrow symbol, as featured on the Quattroporte Frua or the Mistral.
This big C-post is the only solid element in a very light cabin in stark contrast with the car’s body.
The clean, aerodynamic line of the sides, characterised by three small rectangular air vents (a clear reference to those of the A6 1500 Berlinetta Speciale), is accentuated by the ample greenhouse area which, in turn, is characterised by the absence of the usual quarterlight on the front doors, a solution normally associated with GT cars.
The rear door when opened, sinuously and harmoniously follows the line of the bodywork: a particularly attractive design detail. This soft, clean overall look is picked up again in the Quattroporte’s rear section which is high and compact and seems to be actively pushing the car forward. A slender lip has been incorporated into the tail with the aim of creating greater downforce.
Just like the aerodynamic line, it is the result of a long hours in the wind tunnel aimed at optimising the car’s aerodynamic efficiency (Cd 0.35) to guarantee improved performance, safety and stability without having to sacrifice any of its alluring styling.
The two elegant rear light clusters are another sophisticated flourish. The chrome-framed reflector, is set into an oval that is clearly mimics the shape of the classic Maserati logo. Both the exhausts peeping out from under the rear bumper are also oval in shape. And of course, the inimitable Pininfarina signature adds an extra flourish on the sides too.
The design of the Quattroporte’s interior is the perfect extension of the exterior styling, its luxurious functionality encompassing the Quattroporte’s twin personalities.
The cabin is warm and bright, its clear-cut forms beautifully crafted out of deluxe woods and leathers. Thanks to the car’s long wheelbase, the interior is over 2 metres in length allowing its occupants plenty of room in which to stretch their legs.
The Quattroporte also comes with electronically adjustable front seats with 14 different settings as standard. In fact, the driver’s seat also has three memory settings and a special feature that slides the seat back and raises the steering column to make getting in and out of the car even more comfortable. The electric rear seats are independently adjustable for reach (10 cm) and tilt.
The passenger occupying the rear passenger-side seat can also move the front passenger seat up to 22 cm forward at the touch of a button on the central arm rest.
The Quattroporte’s designers put a huge amount of thought and effort into soundproofing the car and damping any vibration. In fact, courtesy of its laminated glass, the highly efficient, specially calibrated Skyhook suspension system and the bodywork’s incredible rigidity, the Quattroporte offers all of the comfort of a genuine limousine.
In addition to this, however, there’s also a typically Maserati touch of luxury in the refrigerated compartment nestling in the front armrest and the electric sun shade for the rear window. Needless to say, these two standard features can be joined by a host of other personalisation options.
The sportier side of the Quattroporte’s dual personality comes out in the original design of the dash and the simple, ergonomically optimised layout of the instruments which are clustered under a cowling just over the steering wheel, while the major commands are very easy to see and use.
The drive control buttons (Manual or Low Grip, Sport, Maserati Stability Programme Deactivator) are in a separate, handy, driver-dedicated area.
At the centre of the console there are two ‘islands’: the upper one is for the Multi Media System (MMS) buttons, while the lower one is for the automatic separate front and rear climate control and has its own display. Each control has been designed for a single function.
Clean air, onboard computer, tv and concert hall quality music.
The automatic separate front and rear climate control that comes as standard with the Quattroporte guarantees optimal onboard conditions, by automatically adapting the interior temperature and ventilation levels to changes in the exterior temperature, sunlight intensity and humidity. The fully electronic controlconsole allows the driver and passengers to choose separate temperatures with a minimum of 16°C and a maximum of 32°C. The separate front and back sunlight sensor also keeps the values constant even when the intensity of the light changes. Laminated glass not only keep noise levels to a minimum but also improve the climate control’s efficiency.
The Multi Media System, developed by Bosch-Blaupunkt, includes the onboard computer functions, a satellite navigation system, a Bose Sound System®, and a single CD player.
These functions can be controlled using the buttons in the centre of the dash and read on the 6.5′ screen. On request, clients can also add a GSM phone, CD changer (located under the steering column in the cabin), a front TV module and the Onboard CALL Telematic Service as well as a Rear Seat Entertainment System which offers a central screen, TV tuner, DVD player, auxiliary input for a video game console or other external equipment (video camera, for example), and a choice of listening through headphones or the main audio system.
Quattroporte drivers can also control the Bose Sound System®, the Multi Media System and the GSM phone using controls laid out on the sporty three-spoke steering wheel (another unique feature in the executive saloon niche), which are as perfect ergonomically as they are stylistically.
The Bose Sound System® takes the whole ‘bespoke’ concept around which the Quattroporte was designed to new heights: the Hi-End Bose audio system was designed and manufactured to adapt to the acoustics of the car and become an integral part of those acoustics. This is absolutely essential to creating the kind of superior audio experience that offers concert hall-standard clarity and power.
The exclusive system’s many, many innovative features include neodymium speakers. The compact size of the components also means that the system can offer excellent acoustic performance without any of the clutter or weight of a traditional onboard unit. The digital Bose Audio System® also delivers a more faithful sound reproduction than most analogue music systems and also allows the use of specialist Bose technologies such as AutoPilot and active electronic equalisers.
Maximum driver and passenger protection.
Even though the Maserati philosophy is to build cars which, by virtue of their behaviour and anti-stress solutions, guarantee an exceptional standard of active and preventative safety, the Quattroporte’s protection systems are still exceptionally innovative and exceed even the strictest American crash test standards (FMVSS208, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard).
Together with the car’s basic structure, specifically designed to turn the cabin into a protective cell, and the soft, rounded forms of the interior, the Quattroporte’s safety belt-air bag system is an example of modern passive safety at its best. The airbag system is activated by sensors situated in the front and on the sides of the car and controlled by a CPU in the central instrument tunnel.
The degree to which the front air bags, both two-stage, inflate is directly proportional to the severity of the impact. The Quattroporte also boasts side-bags in the front seats plus rail curtains, while the front and rear side seat belts have pretensioners and load limiters. The standard safety features also include laminated glass which is much stronger than traditional glass.
Sticking with the subject of safety for a moment, we should also mention that the Quattroporte has twin Xenon headlights (full and dipped) that offer a beam that is far superior to traditional halogen lights (maximum visibility, greater durability and lower energy consumption); cruise control; light and rain sensors; a light-sensitive rear view mirror.
A normally aspirated 4244 cc 90° V8 is the new generation Maserati power unit chosen for the Quattroporte.
Weighing in at just 183 kg, the V8 is light and compact. Even its looks are just right. With its red valve covers and the Trident stamped on its intake plenum, it boasts a nice tidy engine bay with the ancillaries hidden from view. Its structure is dominated by the dry sump lubrication system in which the oil pumps are in unit with the coolant pump.
This sports-derived solution lowers the centre of gravity of the car for improved stability and balance even at high speeds. The 90º V8 engine’s crankcase and cylinder heads are made from heat-treated aluminium alloy containing a percentage of silicon, while the balanced crankshaft is in tempered steel and runs on five main bearings. Chain-driven twin overhead camshafts per cylinder bank command four valves per cylinder with hydraulic tappets.
The intake cams feature continuously variable phase timing, and valve actuation takes less than 0.15 seconds too. They also have a new profile which was designed expressly for the Quattroporte. The integrated ignition and injection systems are by Bosch and allow the detection of operating malfunctions within the engine control system, to help ensure compliance with emissions limits.
There is also an electronic drive-by-wire accelerator, while the engine control unit (ECU) interfaces with the other systems courtesy of the CAN (Controlled Area Network) to optimise engine control. In addition to this, the Maserati V8 has a very specific power delivery curve, the result of much tuning and tweaking by the engineers, which makes for top class ride comfort and smooth driving. Its torque curve is fluid and regular, while the engine revs increase gradually and consistently, so that there’s plenty of power and consistent delivery at any speed.
Combined with the automatic MDS (Maserati DuoSelect) transmission, it offers maximum pleasure in day-to-day driving as well as in more press-on situations, with performance parameters that simply cannot be beaten in the luxury saloon segment.
The Skyhook adaptive damping system Skyhook is controlled by software designed to offer optimum in-car comfort.
The system is renowned for its ability to absorb every bump on the road for an incredibly comfortable ride combined with excellent performance and sportiness. Acceleration sensors monitor the movements of the wheels and the car’s body, instantly adapting the calibration of the dampers to suit. Skyhook is a staggering 10 times faster than conventional systems currently available.
The driver can also choose between two modes: Normal (soft) and Sport (hard) to suit the style of driving required. The Skyhook system works in tandem with highly developed suspension architecture with front and rear double wishbones with arms and hubs in forged aluminium. Pininfarina-designed 18′ (19′ to order) wheels complete the picture.
The Maserati Stability Program offers drivers extra support in difficult situations too. Developed by Maserati, it interfaces with the ABS, EBD and ASR functions and acts on the brakes and engine to guarantee the driver stays in control of the car even at critical moments. A series of sensors pick up any anomaly in the car’s ideal dynamic behaviour. Just like Skyhook, the MSP operates using two different logics which the driver can choose by touching the Sport button on the central console which allows it to act simultaneously on the suspension calibration, stability control and shift speed.
The Quattroporte’s steering stays direct and precise yet light and responsive even in sportier driving conditions. Electronic control means that the power steering works at the speed the car is moving thus offering optimal sensitivity at high speeds and light comfortable manoeuvring. It also has a 12.3-metre turning circle.
The Quattroporte’s braking system is exceptionally powerful and effective too. Manufactured by Brembo, it consists of four vented disc brakes (front Ø 330mm, rear Ø 316mm) with four-pot callipers on the front and two-pots callipers on the rear, plus a power brake. The system also has an ABS anti-lock system and electronic braking effort distribution (EBD) which spread the braking force more evenly between the rear and fore carriage. Both, by the way, are integrated with the MSP stability control system. When the brakes are hit at 100 km/h, the Quattroporte decelerates at 10.2 m/s² and comes to a complete stop in 36.9 m.
The electro-hydraulic six-speed Maserati DuoSelect (MDS) transmission is one of the most important innovations used in the Quattroporte.
On ignition, the system selects the automatic driving mode which offers both smooth, rapid gear changing combined with top class responsiveness. This means that the driver can relax and appreciate the comfort and convenience of the car without having to worry about manually shifting the gears.
However, even in automatic mode the system still retains the advantages of an electro-hydraulic gearbox over one with a torque converter: speed, consistent uphill acceleration, perfect functioning every time from cold starts and no need for the driver’s foot to be on the brake in traffic jams. This alone would be more than enough to meet the demands of a luxury sporty saloon. However, thanks to the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel on the steering column itself, the driver can intervene to override the automatic changes.
The ‘M/A SHIFT’ button on the central console also allows drivers to shift to another mode even when the car is moving and to use the steering wheel paddles (right to go up the gears and left to go down). The new Maserati transmission also includes the ‘Hill Holder.’ A very useful tool for hill starts, it keeps the Quattroporte braked for a couple of seconds to give the driver time to move his foot from the brake to the accelerator without the car rolling backwards.
In order to offer the driver the opportunity to choose the most suitable gear changing mode for the driving conditions and his own driving style, there are two other modes too: Low Grip (for slippery surfaces) and Sport (for faster gear changing and higher rpms). To make parking easier there is also a switch on the central tunnel that selects either the reverse or forward gear (Drive in automatic mode or first gear in manual) without any need to touch the paddles. The Quattroporte also has a small dry twin-plate clutch, a unique feature in the luxury saloon sector.
The Quattroporte is a brilliant flagship saloon that handles so beautifully and safely that driving becomes both a thrill and pleasure.
It can traverse any kind of road with confidence and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in barely 5.2 sections before powering up to a dizzying top speed of 275 km/h. It boasts an all-new, specifically designed platform that optimises stunning in-house engineering, developed by a marque synonymous with performance and cutting edge technology.
The Quattroporte’s architecture is typical of a luxury flagship model: three box design, four doors, longitudinal front engine and rear wheel drive, and a long 3064 mm wheelbase (mm 3064) for superlative comfort. But that’s where the new car’s similarity to any other ends. Firstly, the Quattroporte’s 47% front-53% rear weight distribution is an extraordinary result in the traditional executive saloon segment.
This set-up maximises traction and thrust during acceleration, so that the car remains exceptionally stable and well balanced. This set-up is also incredibly dynamic for a saloon as the general rule in this niche is to place most weight on the front rather than rear axle.
This is achieved courtesy of two highly specific technical solutions: the setting of the engine further back in the chassis behind the front axle, and the adoption of the Transaxle system which sees the gearbox rear-mounted in unit with the differential. The latter architecture is normally reserved for high performances sports cars and this is the first time it has been applied to a luxury saloon. The chassis also makes a significant contribution to the Quattroporte’s superb drivability, safety and comfort as it offers front and back double wishbones with anti-dive and anti-squat geometry which prevent the front diving under braking and the rear squatting under acceleration.
The bodywork’s excellent torsional (3200 Kgm/degree) and flexural (1300 kg/mm) rigidity translates into even better dynamic handling, more precise suspension and a noticeable reduction in vibration too.
Price this car:
MSRP: $103,700 – $115,900
Invoice: not available yet
Source: Maserati Press Release