2008 Quattroporte New Car Test Drive
The Maserati Quattroporte is about the sexiest sedan you'll ever see, and its Italian craftsmanship reflects passion. Its styling, by the legendary Pininfarina, shows them all how it should be done, without tricks (except for three little portholes, touches that work). The lines are so shapely they're striking.
Quattroporte is Italian for 'four door,' and this is Maserati's flagship sedan. Its cabin is roomy for a car this low and stylish, but it's really all about the quality of its materials, with nine shades of leather and six types of wood to choose from. The controls could and should be simpler, but that's true of all the top luxury cars today.
The Quattroporte comes into its element at high speeds, and inspires confidence when driven at those speeds. This reflects the high engineering quality of the car. Alas, we live in a world where it's illegal to use such technology to its capability. Around town, the QP, as its fans call it, is as easy to drive as a Toyota.
The new, aluminum, Maserati 4.2-liter V8 is high-revving, sweet and sensual. It makes 400 horsepower, more than that of the Mercedes S550, BMW 750i, or Audi A8. The six-speed manual automatic transmission with optional paddle shifters is responsive.
The suspension is active, meaning that sensors make infinite adjustments in the shock absorbers and other dynamics, depending on the movements of the wheels and chassis. The resulting ride is flawless, neither too soft nor too firm, at any time. There's a Normal and Sport mode that respond appropriately, during casual driving and when we did a 100-mile run over some of our favorite curves through a remote forest in the Pacific Northwest. The cornering is exciting because it's so precise, thanks mostly to a double-wishbone suspension front and rear, and excellent 51/49 weight distribution. With a wheelbase of 120 inches, the Quattroporte is a fairly long car, but its handling is nimble.
The 2008 Maserati Quattroporte comes in four models, Quattroporte Automatica, Quattroporte Executive GT, and Quattroporte Sport GTS. The engine on all Quattroportes is a silky 4.2-liter V8 making 400 horsepower. All come with a six-speed automatic transmission. (The DuoSelect electrically actuated six-speed manual transaxle has been discontinued for 2008.)
Quattroporte ($114,750) comes standard with Tanganyka wood interior trim and Poltrona Frau leather (available in nine colors), 14-way power heated front seats, individually adjustable power rear seats, power rear glass sunshade, refrigerated compartment in the front armrest, power sunroof, metallic paint, automatic dual zone climate control, Bose sound system, Bosch-Blaupunkt multi-media system, rain-sensing automatic wipers, rear parking sensor, 18-inch alloy wheels, and electric parking brake.
Options include Rosewood interior trim, natural tanning leather upholstery available in six colors, Alcantara headliner, rear climate controls with rear shades, comfort pack front and rear seats (heating, ventilating, massaging), wooden steering wheel, titanium colored brake calipers, front park sensors, 19-inch polished wheels, and paddle shifters.
The Executive GT ($124,900) adds the Alcantara headliner, rear climate controls, comfort pack front seats, wooden steering wheel, and 19-inch wheels. Its chrome mesh grille sets it apart from the regular QP's chrome bar grille.
The Sport GTS ($128,165) features a track-tuned suspension and 20-inch dark chrome alloy wheels with fat tires, along with a black mesh grille, twin exhaust pipes in black chrome, body-colored door handles, and front seats designed for hard driving and cornering.
Safety features on the Quattroporte include multi-stage front airbags, side airbags in front, window airbags, bi-Xenon headlights with washing system, anti-theft system, Hill Holder, and a sophisticated Maserati Stability Program that integrates the ABS, EBD and ASR traction control.