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Driven: Maserati Quattroporte facelift favours V8
New V6 power for Quattroporte, but Maserati buyers still want V8
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2 Dec 2016
MASERATI Australia will attempt to fend off freshly minted BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class rivals with a facelifted Quattroporte large sedan, heavily spruiking the benefits of its increased personalisation options and heightened badge exclusivity but refusing to be drawn into a technology race.
A quartet of model grades continue unchanged compared with the second-generation Quattroporte launched in January 2014, however new GranLusso and GranSport trim levels debut on all but the entry-level version.
Despite the technology additions, Maserati Australia chief operating officer Glen Sealey said the pitch to buyers of the Quattroporte remained focused on its driving ability and Maserati would not follow other luxury brands by offering semi-autonomous driving technology.
“When you look at the Quattroporte, this is not a revolution, it is an evolution of an already great car, so it’s a more aggressive front, it’s a different back, you’re seeing what I would call a meeting of the market in terms of technology,” he told GoAuto prior to the national media launch of the Quattroporte this week.
“Technology is almost seen as a luxury in itself, so we have to recognise that, but in saying that, while we do now offer all of those driver aids, our core principle doesn’t change, our core offering doesn’t change: Maserati is a vehicle for drivers, you drive a Maserati because you enjoy the experience.
“The driver aids you have in a Maserati are not going to be driver aids that dilute from that experience or take away from the driver involvement. That’s important for us. There’s no self-driving, there’s no self-lane correction.
“That’s where we see Maserati, we’ve met the market in terms of those common usage factors, but over and above that our core offering is the driving experience, it’s the drivetrain, it’s the balance, it’s the handling, it’s the sound, it’s the craftsmanship, it’s the exclusivity.” The brand’s local spokesperson Edward Rowe said that a focus of the MY17 Quattroporte was to increase the level of personalisation options, including a mooted silk trim by Italian high-end fashion brand Ermenegildo Zegna on the GranLusso trim level.
He further explained that the revised interior pertained to a new definition of exclusivity and luxury in the market.
“If you like (it is) a redefinition of luxury in the 21st century,” Mr Rowe began.
“In the 20th century luxury was defined by how much stuff you had, so the more stuff you had the more the car was luxurious. The problem with that in the 21st century in the majority of stuff is computer, IT, technology and that devalues incredibly quickly.
“For example, Mercedes-Benz had the first adaptive cruise control, really special, really unusual, first, great, 12 months later it’s on a (Volkswagen) Golf. Its measure of adding value or exclusivity to that car has just been washed away.” Instead, he added: “When you come to personalisation (there are) colours and trims you could have on some other cars, possibility, but with Maserati there are some you can’t have on anything else … like the silk interior by Zegna.
“That is a new type of silk engineered by Zegna to be used in cars. At the end of this car’s life, that silk will still be as exclusive and unusual and personalised as it was at the beginning of this car’s life, because I don’t think you’ll see Volkswagen introducing silk interiors on the Golf next year.
“It gives this car a level of exclusivity, a level of personalisation, that will be with this car its entire life.” Mr Rowe further took a thinly veiled swipe at rival Mercedes-Benz to differentiate the Quattroporte from some similarly priced large sedan rivals.
“Maserati may have increased its sales, but its badge isn’t on $29,990 hatchbacks, the badge you won’t see on vans or trucks,” he continued.
“There is a level of exclusivity … how exclusive the badge is, how exclusive the features are and how much you can personalise that car to reflect the owner’ s personality.” Of its forecast 900 sales next year, Maserati Australia claimed that 60 units of the Quattroporte will be shifted. The range-topping GTS will acquire a leading 38 per cent of volume ahead of the 302kW (27 per cent) and 257kW (25 per cent) petrol V6s and entry turbo-diesel V6 (10 per cent).
Buyers will also choose the GranSport (50 per cent) over the GranLusso (33 per cent) or standard (17 per cent) trim levels, which Mr Sealy said all pointed to the Quattroporte’s role as a proper sports sedan.
“Quattroporte is now the brand lead of the brand, so the Quattroporte GTS is the pinnacle of the Maserati brand today, it has huge amounts of power … but the best thing about it is it’s all usable,” Mr Sealey said.
“The size of the car has a great presence, so it really is the pinnacle of Maserati and it really remains that way.” As reported, prices are unchanged for the 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 ($210,000), and 257kW/500Nm ($215,000) and 302kW/550Nm S ($240,000) versions of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. Only the lower output version of the latter engine climbs 14kW while it is said to offer more progressive power delivery.
Choosing the new luxury-oriented GranLusso package adds 20-inch wheels, Zegna silk or leather interior, wood cabin and steering wheel trim, four-zone climate control, front seat ventilation, heated rear seats and power rear sunshade. It costs $24,990 on the low-output petrol V6 and $39,990 on the high-output version, at $239,990 and $279,990 respectively.
The GranSport adds 21-inch wheels, piano-black trim, stainless-steel sports pedals, sport steering wheel, 12-way electrically adjustable sport seats, dual-cast braking system, Alcantara headlining, and black exterior trim with sports front and rear bumper. It costs $5000 less than the GranLusso package in each case.
The flagship 390kW/600Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 GTS, meanwhile, moves up $14,990 to $345,990 thanks to now-mandatory GranSport trim or up $18,990 to $349,990 for the GranLusso that further, uniquely adds rear-door keyless entry and a Bowers and Wilkins audio system.
All rear-drive model grades continue to use an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, now with a more aggressive shift pattern and faster ratio selection in Sport mode to match a revised two-mode Skyhook adaptive suspension system that Maserati claims offers a more soothing ride and sharper handling for its 5262mm-long sedan with 50:50 weight distribution.
Claimed 0-100km/h performance and combined cycle fuel consumption includes 6.4 seconds/6.2 litres per 100 kilometres (diesel), 5.5s and 9.1L/100km (257kW V6), 5.1s and 9.6L/100km (302kW V6) and 4.7s and 10.7L/100km (GTS).
The only change is the 0.7s reduction for the 257kW version while consumption remains unaltered.
All new Quattroporte model grades adopt a more upright grille from the Levante medium SUV, with an electrically actuated ‘air shutter’ behind it that opens and closes to reduce aerodynamic drag by 10 per cent.
A redesigned centre console includes a new 8.4-inch colour touchscreen now with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring technology and a CD player replaced by a flock-lined USB port and phone storage tray beneath the new climate controls.
Rounding out the changes is the adoption of an electronic parking brake, and first-time additions of lane departure warning, forward collision warning, surround-view camera and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
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