The Maserati Quattroporte has always been an understated symbol of Italian motor sport prowess and class.
SINGAPORE (June 10): The Italians are known for their unassuming class and elegance. Just think of the average Italian man in his loafers, chinos and button-down shirt riding a Vespa through the cobbled streets of Rome. The equivalent of that effortless chic in car form must be the Maserati.
While it may be part of the same parent company that owned Ferrari, Maserati has always been the more understated symbol of Italian motor sport prowess and class. Yes, we all love the sight of a bright red Ferrari racing down the street, but as you grow older, you tend to look for more subtle displays of wealth and status.
Maserati’s mission statement is to “build ultra-luxury performance automobiles with timeless Italian style, accommodating bespoke interiors and effortless, signature sounding power”. The Maserati Quattroporte is a manifestation of that philosophy.
For those of you not conversant in Italian, “quattroporte” translates as “four door”. That may seem like a rather prosaic name for a car, but don’t let it fool you — this luxury sedan has a 3-litre, V6 engine that delivers 350 horsepower. That is a lot of power, fun and noise packed into a very elegant car.
It has been a while since I got behind the wheel of a Maserati, as this Italian brand is far more selective about bringing out new models and produces far fewer units than its rivals. This is about to change as Maserati owner Fiat Chrysler wants to increase production and widen the choices available. This new strategy recently spawned Maserati’s first ever SUV, the Levante.
The Quattroporte, however, is a timeless classic. It was back in 1963 that Maserati made the bold move of fitting a V8 motor racing engine into a luxury sedan. That sounded crazy at the time but it paid off. Fast forward to 2019 and the Quattroporte still displays that sporty and beautiful design.
It is a very elegant car, but it can be a beast when you want it to be. Just rev up the engine and the Maserati will roar and growl. It is such a distinctive and menacing sound you can’t mistake it for any other car. While former sister brand Ferrari is an in-your-face supercar and a universal symbol of wealth, the Maserati is a more refined way of showing you have done well in life.
In a way, with the Quattroporte, you are getting the best of both brands as its powerful twin-turbo V6 engines were built exclusively by Ferrari at its factory in Maranello, Italy. So you get the power and performance of a Prancing Horse, but in the body of an understated Maserati. The car also comes with Maserati’s Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, which provides impressive traction in all conditions.
I put this to the test during one of Singapore’s frequent thunderstorms — the heavy rain made no difference in traction and control. And if the shape and style of the Quattroporte does not impress you, the interior surely will.
Maserati offers two very different styles — the chic GranLusso and the dynamic GranSport. It is not a tough choice as both options use beautifully coloured leathers not just on the seats but also on the dashboard and steering wheel. The -GranLusso also has some Ermenegildo -Zegna silk inserts for the seats while the GranSport’s black leather sport steering wheel is a highlight, along with aluminium column-mounted paddle shifters.
Both trims come with 20in wheels, bright brake calipers, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. There is ample state-of-the-art technology on board, including an 8.4in touchscreen that runs the Maserati Touch Control Plus infotainment system with navigation.
With so much turbocharged power and an engine that roars at any given opportunity, you would be tempted to floor the Quattroporte and race off into the sunset.
But there is something about the car that makes you treat it with -respect — other than its half a million dollar price tag. It looks and feels so refined you would not want to tarnish the image by driving it obscenely fast. You can, of course, do so without realising it. I was pushing three digits in no time and had to ease off the gas for fear of landing a speeding ticket.
The Quattroporte is not a car that will appeal to a boy racer. Its market is more likely the family man who has risen to a C-suite position, or an entrepreneur. Whoever gets behind the wheel of the car, they can be guaranteed a race-derived performance with world-class luxury, with some Italian passion thrown in.
$448,800 without COE
Engine: 2,979cc, V6
Fuel consumption: 9.1l/100km
0 to 100kph: 5.5 seconds
Top speed: 270kph
Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast