• Dec 7th 2006 at 10:34AM
  • 10

Most people view a car as a mode of transportation. Enthusiasts see in the automobile something more: a stirring creation, a masterful feat of engineering, a triumph of design. For those in the former category, a Lexus or Mercedes would be the logical choice for a sports-luxury saloon. For those of us in the latter, we look for that indefinable X-factor that arouses passion and stirs the soul. That's why we here at Autoblog love the Maserati Quattroporte that so gracefully thumbs its nose at the more sensible offerings from Germany and Japan.

Unfortunately for automakers, remaining at the fringe just isn't enough these days. Certainly not for a major automotive conglomerate like Fiat, Maserati's parent company. Naturally, they'd like to see their cars emerge from the periphery and show real sales success. And they figure the one major factor holding back luxury sedan buyers from going for their Quattroporte is the transmission. The DuoSelect manumatic gearbox (called the Cambiocorsa in the two-door Coupe/Spyder/GranSport range, itself a derivation of sister-company Ferrari's F1 transmission) may offer better control than the typical automatic found in the competition's offerings, but although it's improved greatly, reviewers almost invariably lament its jerky shifts, especially on automatic mode. And that just doesn't fly with luxury sedan buyers, passionate or not.

Maserati has now released its long-awaited answer with the Quattroporte Automatic, eschewing the DuoSelect gearbox for a new six-speed unit from the transmission gurus at ZF. Unfortunately, a fully automatic gearbox means a torque converter, and that's sad news for the Quattroporte's Italian V8. The change in transmission also moves a bit more weight up front, changing the front-rear weight distribution to 49/51, as compared with the slightly more favorable 47/53 on the DuoSelect version. We'll just have to wait for full tests to see what kind of penalty that places on its performance, but we'll get a closer look at the Quattroporte Automatic next month as it makes its debut at the Detroit show to coincide with its release in January.

Interesting that with their M5, BMW just made a manual available to accompany its manu-matic, while one of its rivals, Maserati, has gone the other way.

Follow the jump for a couple more images.

[Source: Maserati]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      leo and pow- I'm sorry but I must disagree with you on the M5. The M5, if you ignore all the gadets, is in fact a wonderful car. Its the fastest production 4 door on the market, and, being a BMW it handels amazingly well and still offers PRACTICALITY, something few (name one if you can, only the audi's (s6)??) other case with a 0-60 of 4.1 seconds can. Furthermore, couldn't just learn to use the "gadets", or are you just to stupid? I'd take the M5 over most other cars on the market, due to its great combination of power, handling, practicality, and (relatively) subdued looks. Then again, I also think that the quattroporte is a beatiful car, witha little more soul. though there is something to be said for reliability. They're both wonderful cars that anyone would be lucky to own.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nope, i have not drive an M5, but I do know what a real enthusias car is, adn BMW used to make those cars, but not any more

      - the best i've driven from BMW is an M3 and it was not as good as a Boxter, so I don't expect a 4000+lb car to be any better

      besides the i-drive sucks assss
      • 8 Years Ago
      Before the QP, I had an old ('91) M5...last year of the entirely hand-built drive train. Raw power; newer ones are much more 'comfortable'. Still prefer the QP styling, driving feel, etc. all around. And I have driven the 500hp M5...quick but doesn't turn heads like the 'five year old buick'.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So why torque converter is bad news? didn't we went past that level of knowledge?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I always thought it looked kinda like a Buick LeSabre, but with better proportions. I like it though, they look great in person, and I'd love to have something unique rather than yet another anonymous S Class.
      • 8 Years Ago
      YOu can't even comaprei this the the M5,
      i'd ride in this anyday over the M5, especially seeing how the M5 is now just a tech buzzy car and not a purists choise of drive,

      at least this car looks like a billion bucks comapred to the M5
      • 8 Years Ago
      nope, i have not driven the M5, but I did get inside one, and gut straight out - cause it's ugly in and out

      - 4000+lbs doesn't translate to a drivers car in my eye

      - i'd take the Z06 thank you, and still have some spare change in my pocket and i'll run laps around the overgrown, techwizard, can't have al the power till you press a secondary button, and can't run the radio unless i go thru some stupid i-drive

      - so my point is, if you have to settle for some heavy car, you might as well get something better than the M5, adn this Quatroporte sure has the style, confort and pizzas to go with it
      • 8 Years Ago
      leo - I bet you have never driven an M5.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As an '05 QP owner, I live with the quirkiness of the current trans daily. However, once you learn the ideal shift points based on style of driving, etc., it's actually quite good in manual mode. I never drive it in 'auto'...the shift points are actually unpredictable. Then again, I've had the car for a little over a year and have probably driven 5 miles in the Auto mode.

      If the torque converter were to in any way diminish the thrill of the manual mode, I'd pass. I didn't buy this car to drive in auto but rather to have what I believe is a spectacular car that is amazingly responsive in manual mode (once you learn it!).
      • 8 Years Ago
      The weight distribution changes because the transmission is now just behind the engine rather than behind the passenger compartment.

      The automated manual, which I believe remains available, was difficult to shift smoothly, though some people could manage it. My review:


    Share This Photo X