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First drive: Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT – on sale now

Maserati

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Review

Maserati wants its Quattroporte to be considered the individualist’s choice in the luxury saloon sector, compared with BMW’s 7 Series, Mercedes Benz’s S-class and the Jaguar XJ.

Thanks to its elegant but assertive styling it will guarantee that owners get noticed. This car is so seldom seen, and the trident so identifiable, that the Quattroporte receives nods of approval wherever it goes.

Steady expansion of the range means prospective buyers now have DuoSelect or Automatic models to choose from in either luxury-led Executive GT or performance-focused Sport GT designation.

Prospective buyers should be reminded before the test drive that the DuoSelect variant is a clutchless manual transmission and not a full auto. As such it requires easing off the accelerator during up-shifts to avoid the car pitching like a boat.

One unavoidable issue is the tardiness of the gearchange, even when in Sport mode, compared with its rivals. Those wanting a more relaxed experience should consider the Automatic, which is identically priced.

Dealers will also have to reassure buyers of the quality of their aftercare. Our test car had a sticking rear window and such niggles might lead some prospective buyers to reconsider the German alternatives. However, Maserati provides three routine services for free as well as three years’ warranty and roadside assistance.

Where Quattroporte will win favour is in the driving experience. It feels beautifully balanced and turns in crisply, thanks to 47/53 front/rear weight distribution. Despite the Sport GT version’s 20in wheels and skinny tyres its ride is comfortable due to the ‘Skyhook’ automatic damping system.

Its 4.2-litre V8 produces a great noise as well as ample power that propels almost two tonnes of car from standstill to 62mph in 5.2 seconds. And it is refined and relaxed enough that owners could easily find themselves travelling way above motorway speed limits without realising.

It is equally relaxing for rear passengers, who get acres of space.

Pininfarina reportedly designed Quattroporte to be the car to drive at weekends and be chauffeured in during the week – makes perfect sense to us.

Maserati Quattroporte

Price: £83,200
Engine: 4.2-litre V8 petrol; 396bhp@7,000rpm; 333lb ft@ 4,500rpm
Performance: 0-62mph: 5.2sec; top speed: 171mph
Transmission: six-speed clutchless manual
Efficiency: 17.9mpg (combined); 370g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k £28,900 (35%)
Rivals: BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-class, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ
Strengths: Rarity, style, performance, three-year peace of mind package
Weaknesses: Tricky transmission, niggling quality issues
Opportunity: A saloon that can tempt sports car drivers
Threat: German rivals are seen as a safer investment
USP: The driver’s luxury saloon

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