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Maserati four-door with more. Image by Maserati.

Maserati four-door with more
Maserati gives its Quattroporte a mild makeover and the 4.7-litre V8 from its GranTurismo S relative.

   



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| First Drive | Salzburg, Austria | Maserati Quattroporte S |

Maserati's beautiful Quattroporte gets some nip and tuck to sharpen up its looks, and a new V8 heart to improve its performance.

In the Metal

In our profession, we're supposed to be rational and unemotional when describing how cars look, but even the most cold-hearted individual would struggle to maintain impartiality when describing the new Maserati Quattroporte. It's absolutely gorgeous. Pininfarina's original lines have only been moderately enhanced as part of the Quattroporte's 2009 facelift. The grille now features vertical slats, chrome signifying this car as the new 4.7-litre engined S model. The headlamps are all-new, housing LED indicators and the side reflector, the rears also being reshaped and containing countless LED bulbs.

Side skirts, new alloy wheels and reshaped rear-view mirrors complete the modest, but effective makeover. It's slightly longer thanks to the changes front and rear, the Quattroporte arguably one of the finest looking saloon cars you can buy.

What you get for your Money

The sum of 85,000 buys you the S, which gains the red crackle paint finished cam covers that signifies Maserati's 4.7-litre V8 engine. The standard car costs 79,000, but the engine alone in the S is well worth the additional money. It gains in power and torque over the 4.2-litre Quattroporte, and when you factor in the additional equipment such as the dual-cast brakes and Skyhook electronically damped suspension the gap narrows significantly. Visually the Quattroporte S differs from its lesser engined relative thanks to that chrome slatted front grille and 19-inch V-style alloy wheels.

All Quattroportes feature improved safety equipment, a new infotainment system with Bluetooth telephone integration and satnav, a 30GB hard drive music server, leather upholstery, Bi-Xenon lights and dual-zone climate control among the extensive standard equipment. As ever there's the opportunity to further enhance your car with an extensive options list, Maserati also able to cater to individual requests for paint and interior trim should you have deep pockets.

Driving it

Starting up the 4.7-litre V8 engine is something of a disappointment after experiencing the same engine in the GranTurismo S. The crackling, popping, wickedly naughty exhaust note isn't there, the Quattroporte S making do with a more cultured sound from its quad tailpipes. However, the difference on the road is immediately apparent, the 4.7-litre unit filling the gaps in the 4.2-litre car's performance. Power is increased to 425bhp, torque growing to 361lb.ft. Admittedly those aren't vast increases over the 4.2-litre Quattroporte, but the engine feels significantly more tractable and linear in its power delivery. It makes it an easier car to enjoy, whether low-rev lugging or at the upper end of the rev scale.

The six-speed ZF automatic, left either to its own devices or driven via steering column-mounted paddles, is smooth and quick, though oddly it doesn't blip the throttle on downshifts. With 49/51% front/rear weight distribution the S is very agile and neutral, the rear easily coaxed out a degree on the exit of tighter corners. The steering is very sharp and perhaps a bit too nervous and light around the straight-ahead, but lean on it and the Quattroporte S follows your chosen line faithfully. The dual-cast brakes give strong retardation and the revised Skyhook suspension gives good ride and body control, even when set to Sport.

Worth Noting

Beautiful and enjoyable to drive as the Quattroporte S is there are still a few hints to Maserati's low-volume manufacturer status. Some of the trim fit and finish isn't quite as good as you might expect on an 85,000 car, and it's not as refined a cruiser as many rivals are thanks to wind noise. The driving position is rather perched too, the seats offering little lateral support up front and the rears rather cramped. The boot isn't particularly big either and fuel consumption and emissions fall behind rivals.

Summary

Maserati has taken its beautiful saloon and massaged the specification, added a more powerful engine choice and enhanced its looks to ensure the Quattroporte range remains competitive against newer rivals. It's not as fast, cosseting or involving as many of the cars it competes against, but it's a remarkably appealing choice thanks to its beautiful styling, exclusivity and the charisma and allure of having a trident badge on your key fob.

Kyle Fortune - 10 Jul 2008



  www.maserati.co.uk    - Maserati road tests
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2008 Maserati Quattroporte specifications:
Price: 85,000 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 5.4 seconds
Top speed: 174mph
Combined economy: 18.0mpg
Emissions: 365g/km
Kerb weight: 1990kg

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Syd Wall.2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.



2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.
 

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.
 

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.
 

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.
 

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.
 

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.
 

2008 Maserati Quattroporte. Image by Maserati.
 






 

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