Two years ago, when we first drove the Quattroporte in this northern Italian center of automotive and gastronomic culture, Maserati's engineers eagerly and, it would seem, worriedly pulled us aside to elicit our reactions to the car's DuoSelect electrohydraulic transmission. Even as we nibbled the parmigiana-reggiano and sipped the Barolo that our hosts had provided, we had no choice but to tell them that, well, yes, the transmission kinda sucked. In automatic mode in urban driving, the DuoSelect was reluctant to upshift, causing the car to lurch and plod along. And even when manual mode and the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters were employed, gearchanges were annoyingly clumsy. We couldn't imagine that DuoSelect would make many friends among America's country club set, for whom creamy smooth automatic transmissions from Lexus and Mercedes-Benz are as much a part of life as vodka martinis and bottle-blonde updos.
Reacting to the chorus of complaints about DuoSelect, Maserati spent the past two years improving, if not perfecting, the gearbox. Automatic-mode gearchanges now are tidier, and in manual mode in the new Quattroporte Sport GT, they're 35 percent faster.... Read full article