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Driven: Oil-burning Maserati Quattroporte arrives

Third prong: The Quattroporte Turbo Diesel is Maserati's cheapest and most frugal, going head to head with luxury sedan competition alongside its two petrol siblings.

“Vast majority” of Maserati Quattroporte sales will be conquest as diesel arrives

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Maserati logo27 Jun 2014

MASERATI'S first diesel model has arrived on Australian soil completing the third and final stage of its Quattroporte roll-out, with the Italian luxury car-maker saying that the trident-badged trio is directly targeting conquest sales.

Arriving earlier this year, the top-performing twin-turbo V8 GTS is expected to maintain the established Quattroporte following in Australia, but the addition of the more affordable V6 S and now Turbo Diesel is part of Maserati's strategy to expand into new territory.

Comprising 60 per cent of Quattroporte sales, the smaller of the two petrol variants is expected to be the volume seller, with the new diesel taking a 10 per cent bite of the cake, but that figure will grow as shoppers learn about the new fuel efficient option.

Priced at $198,800 before on-road costs, the oil-burning four-door is not just Maserati's foray into diesel power, but also its cheapest model, and local distributor European Automotive Imports spokesperson Edward Rowe says that the new frugal Quattroporte offers a “double conquest”.

“We're not only conquesting people who have never had a Maserati on their shopping list before, we're also conquesting people who have never been able to buy a diesel Maserati before,” he said.

“The old Quattroporte and the sportscars not only covered one part of a sector, they were doing it fairly narrowly. The new range expands up to a much larger footprint right across the markeplace.

“The New Quattroporte – even just the V8 - occupies a bigger sector because its a more flexible usable car. That's where a majority of existing V8 customers will go, but all the rest of the range is going in to completely new market sectors.

“The vast majority of sales will be conquesting out of other cars. Their primary reason (V6 S and Turbo Diesel) is to expand the range.”

While the Turbo Diesel returns impressive fuel consumption of 6.9 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, Maserati says it's not money-saving at the bowser that will be most attractive to potential customers.

“People won't be going out and buying this car because they're going to save money at the bowser,” he said.

“If you can afford a $200,000 car, the amount of fuel you are going to save is not going to be a particularly significant factor.”

Instead Mr Rowe said that Turbo Diesel buyers will be attracted to its high-performance and range between fill-ups.

“It is still a performance car but it's a performance delivered in a different manner. You're driving off the 600Nm of torque... and that's a particular attraction to a particular group of customers, who like that sort of driving experience.

“This car is also particularly attractive to people who have properties out in the bush who like to go away for long weekends or holidays. For example this car can go from Sydney to the snow and back on a tank of fuel.

“Even if you did need fuel out there you wouldn't be on the hunt in small-town Australia looking for 98 RON, which is what the rival cars run on. There's a particular attraction in the range and easy refuelling.”

Following the trend of the V6 S, the Turbo Diesel doesn't sacrifice any of the top spec GTS toys, with only smaller 19-inch wheels and different tail-pipe trims to set the different variants apart.

At $41,100 cheaper than the $240,000 V6 S and a whopping $120,900 less than flagship V8 GTS, the diesel's sub $200,000 price tag is thanks in part, to its single-turbo 3.0-litre engine.

Developed by VM Motori and in lesser states of tune, the entry-level Quattroporte's engine is applied to other models under the Fiat Chrysler banner, but the mass production has driven its cost way below the petrol engines of its sibling's.

Power tops-out at 202kW and torque is a hearty 600Nm, but despite the Quattroporte's 1885kg mass, it still manages to use just 6.9 litres of diesel per 100km and gets to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds.

Maserati's competition in the luxury diesel sedan segment includes the Porsche Panamera 3.0 diesel that starts at $196,700, the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe 640d from $184,800, the Audi A7 3.0 Biturbo quattro at $149,600 and further down the pricing scale is the Mercedes-Benz CLS250 CDI from $114,900.

Standard fare includes fine leather steering wheel with cruise control and voice and audio controls, ambient lighting, auto-dimming mirror, heated and electrically adjustable front seats with memory, rear side door sunshades, USB and auxiliary connections, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth audio and phone, 8.4-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and a 10-speaker premium audio system.

2014 Maserati Quattroporte pricing*
GTS$319,800
S$240,000
Turbo Diesel$198,800
*Excludes on-road costs.

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