The pulse always ticks upward when you slide behind the wheel of a Maserati. Before opening the driver’s door your eyes have taken in the rakish sheetmetal, swooping and curving and gliding into a dramatic, evocative sculpture as only the Italians can do it. Inside, the hedonistic environment—supple leathers, rich wood trim, elegant tailoring—sets your senses on alert. You fire up the engine and … ah, quella bella muscia. A Maserati’s exhaust note will always delight an enthusiast’s ears.
The updated-for-2017 Quattroporte full-size sedan is no different. Chassis and engine offerings are unchanged, but some revisions to the exterior (particularly in the front end) and other tweaks make the QPorte an even more tempting option for buyers looking for a luxury/sports sedan with that certain something extra. As noted, the newly revised car is certainly a looker—graceful, classy, sexy, spiced up with an obvious edge of aggressiveness in that barracuda-like visage. My test car was dressed in optional Grigio Maratea metallic paint ($2,250), a lovely, understated hue with a radiant shimmer.
For the most part, the cabin is equally attractive, including (on my tester) “Ciuio”-colored leather on the seats and doors, plus open-pore Radica wood trim on the dash and center console and rich Alcantara lining the roof and pillars. Rear-seat legroom is abundant (as you’d expect in a vehicle that’s more than 17 feet long), and the amenities list extensive—including a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunblind, an integrated WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a surround-view camera ($900), and a new rotary knob that adds additional access to the touchscreen infotainment system.
That said, there are obvious concessions to the Maser’s Fiat-Chrysler parentage: the same wiper/turn-signal stalk you’ll find in the Jeep Cherokee, for instance, plus lots of other buttons and switches straight out of purely utilitarian FCA products. These pedestrian bits aren’t enough to sabotage the Quattroporte’s overriding air of regal luxury, but Maserati needs to raise its game in such small but important details. The Germans certainly have.
Two engines—a twin-turbo V-8 or a twin-turbo V-6—are available, with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. My tester was a V-6, all-wheel-drive Quattroporte S Q4 in uplevel GrandLusso trim. Yes, who wouldn’t crave the 523 horses of the 3.8-liter, Ferrari-engineered V-8—but the twin-turbo 3.0-liter six is hardly a slouch. There’s 404 hp on tap, with 406 lb-ft of torque cresting at just 1,750 rpm.
Off the line, with all that juice flowing though a revised 8-speed automatic and the all-wheel-drive system, the QPorte gets up and scoots—never mind its roughly 4,500 pounds. Maserati claims a 0-to-60 time of 4.8 seconds and a top end of 176 mph. For sure, the car feels that fast—accompanied, as always, but a delicious, crisp exhaust howl at the upper end and, around town, a smooth, muted surge. This car retains the alluring flavor of the big machine that’s been winning admirers since its most recent incarnation in 2011.
A host of new driver-support systems bring the QPorte in line with its tech-laden competition—among them, active cruise with stop and go, forward collision warning, and emergency braking. Also new is the 8.4-inch touchcscreen, a nattier version of Chrysler’s Uconnect system.
The all-wheel-drive system is biased toward the rear (feeding torque to the front only when wheel slip is detected), and the adaptive suspension generally on the firmer side—as it should be in a car with the Quattroporte’s sporting promise. The car handles twisting mountain stuff like a far smaller vehicle—aided by excellent hydraulic steering and powerful Brembo brakes. For all of its size and opulence, the QPorte feels racy at its heart, eager to romp, ready to bite through turns. The re-tuned 8-speed automatic is also game, shifting up crisply and responding to downshift commands without delay. Certainly, the turbo six felt strong, but with a chassis this good, I couldn’t help but wonder what additional nerve-tingles the 100-plus extra horsepower of the V-8 would deliver.
The updated Quattroporte is a tempting, spicy, seductive alternative to its more businesslike German rivals. Shortcomings (such as the parts-bin switchgear) are minor, easily forgotten amid the unique aromas, sounds, and g-forces this Maserati sedan can deliver. For sure, a Benz or a BMW in the driveway is just “meh” compared with the sight of this voluptuous Maser in the same space. That’s a huge part of the Quattroporte’s appeal, its unique style and cachet and the undeniable swagger of the “Maserati” script on the tail.
The best part: the Quattroporte only gets better when you get in, fire it up, and roar away like Placido Domingo singing “Tosca.”
2017 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 GranLusso Specifications
|ENGINE||3.0L DOHC 24-valve twin-turbo V-6/404 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 406 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||16/23 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||207.2 x 76.7 x 58.8 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.8 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||176 mph (est)|