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Driven: Maserati Quattroporte arrives at last

Ciao bella: Maserati’s Quattroporte GTS has arrived after months of delay, but its the $240k V6 entry version (left) that will capture the bulk of volume.

$320K Maserati Quattroporte GTS storms in, $240k V6 entry version one-month away


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21 Jan 2014

MASERATI’S sixth-generation Quattroporte sports sedan has finally arrived after international demand sparked months of delay for prospective Australian buyers.

The long, low, wide four-door sportscar – originally due to arrive in the second half of last year but bumped from the Australian launch calendar after international appetite for it soared above expectations – has emerged with a twin-turbocharged V8 engine and enough Italian style to put the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class on notice.

Furthermore, late-February will see the introduction of a new entry level twin-turbo V6 variant called the Quattroporte S, destined to become the biggest-selling variant. At $240,000 plus on-road costs, the S undercuts the already announced V8-powered GTS starting price of $319,800 by almost $80k.

Both the V6 and V8 powertrains were developed by Maserati and assembled at Ferrari's Maranello factory, and both are paired with eight-speed automatic transmissions only, sourced from German company ZF, channelling power through the rear wheels.

Maserati importer European Automotive Imports has been allocated about 90 Quattroportes for Australia in 2014, and if it shifts them all will go close to matching the volume of BMW’s 7 Series and the Panamera.

At $240,000, the Panamera S is $10,000 cheaper than the old base V8 variant, while the hardcore GTS, at $319,800, cops a a $21,000 price hike over the previous-generation flagship.

As reported, the all-new Quattroporte arrives in the same year as the Italian marque celebrates its centenary, and the same year the trident-badged brand re-enters the mid-size luxury segment with its BMW 5 Series-fighting Ghibli sedan, replete with a brand-first diesel option.

The entry Quattroporte V6 is powered by a twin-turbo unit pumping out 301kW at 5500rpm and 550Nm between 1750 and 5000rpm. It can sprint to 100km from standstill in 5.1 seconds – not far off the old range-topper – but chews a more reasonable 10.4 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle (claimed).

The Quattroporte GTS officially launched this week, on the other hand, uses a Maserati-designed 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, producing a serve of 390kW of power from 6800rpm and 650Nm of torque from 2000-4000rpm.

Weighing 100kg shy of a couple of tonnes, the Quattroporte GTS will still dispatch the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.7 seconds, go onto a 307km/h top speed, and improve claimed fuel economy and emissions by around 20 per cent courtesy of its reduced capacity (counteracted by the turbo).

Price-wise, the Quattroporte GTS aims straight at the $318,300 Porsche Panamera GTS, powered by a free-breathing 324kW/520Nm 4.8-litre V8. The twin-turbo V8 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S ($262,645) and the recently launched twin-turbo V8 BMW M6 Gran Coupe ($299,500) are also in the mix.

For your money, the discerning buyer joins an exclusive club – even though a near-record 134 Maserati-badged cars sold in Australia last year, the Trident badge is still a niche player – with a ride perched right at the top of the current Maserati four-door food chain.

The new Quattroporte measures 5262mm from end to end, making it a school ruler longer than a Ford Falcon, and even a handspan longer than the super-sized Mercedes-Benz GL-Class seven-seat soft-roader.

Underneath, the Quattroporte sits on double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. Helping to pull up all that weight and performance on the GTS are six-piston callipers wrapped around big 380mm slotted and drilled discs up front, and four-pot callipers gripping onto 350mm slotted and drilled discs at the rear.

Standard kit runs to bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and a self-dimming high-beam function that can sense oncoming traffic and automatically dip the lights. The GTS stands on 20-inch alloy wheels, although customers can step up to a 21-inch set or down to 19-inch hoops. It hugs the ground with a low 120mm clearance.

The increase in wheelbase over the outgoing model has improved front and rear passenger legroom, while shoulder room and cargo capacity also increase.

An 8.4-inch touchscreen controls everything from the satellite navigation to the DVD player and audio controls for the 10-speaker sound system that includes radio, a Bluetooth phone connection, auxiliary and USB jacks. A 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins Premium Surround system is optional.

The touchscreen also houses controls for the front seat heating and ventilation, steering wheel heating and a rear window shade.

Connectivity is a big focus for the Quattroporte and Maserati has made WLAN technology that makes the car a mobile hot-spot available. A mobile phone data card in the car’s wireless router can link up to three devices simultaneously.

Unsurprisingly, the cabin is bathed in leather, and while the three-seat second row offers enough room for five occupants, buyers can limit the rear to two seats for a more luxurious, relaxed experience.

The airline-style seating features ventilation, electric adjustment and the option of a rear entertainment system with a 10.2-inch LCD display.

Buyers who stick with the traditional three-seat second row still get heated seats, sunblinds, a USB outlet in the armrest and cup-holders.

A dual-zone climate-control system with 13 ventilation ports is standard, although a four-zone unit can be fitted for an extra cost.

Other gear includes auto dimming mirror, gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel, electric front seats with memory settings, electrically adjustable leather steering wheel with audio and cruise control functions, high-gloss ‘Erable’ wood finish, leather upholstery with an embossed trident logo, ambient lighting and keyless operation.

Safety features include a reversing camera, parking sensors, six airbags including side curtain airbags, active head restraints, adaptive cruise control and the ‘Maserati Stability Program’ that features a hill-hold function that stops the vehicle rolling back on hills, a sensor that detects hard braking and prepares the car for an emergency stop, and an anti-slip function that improves low-traction performance.

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