– Aggressive styling
– Cabin space and features
– Properly fast car
– Looks a little too long
– Pricey with options
– May be too raucous for some
This car felt very familiar to us. Aside from the wheels and exhaust tips, it was almost exactly the same as the new-generation Maserati Quattroporte S V6 we drove less than six months ago. Except for one crucial difference. This here is the Quattroporte GTS, which means there’s two more cylinders under that long bonnet.
The styling is aggressive for a full-size sedan, with an angry low front-end and sharp lines along the body, although the uniqueness peters out in the rear, while the side-profile appears awkwardly long. Still, there surely is nothing else in its segment that looks like it.
Inside, it gets the standard Quattroporte cabin, beautifully appointed all over with real wood, padded leather and metal trim, although the overall design is decidedly conservative. We did like nice details such as the dash-wide chrome strip that integrates the a/c vents, the metal bits on the chunky steering wheel, and the logo-engraved aluminium pedals. The GTS gets a bit more special upholstery, but other than that, it’s pretty much the same as in the V6 model.
The growth in the Quattroporte’s size over the previous generation pays dividends in interior space. Room up front is good, even with that sharply-raking windshield, while space is in the back is positively enormous. Even the boot is big. And there’s enough proper cup-holders, door pockets and cubbies too, so it’s way more practical than, say, a Porsche Panamera. All-round visibility is surprisingly good as well, even out the back.
Gadget-wise, there’s the 8.4-inch touchscreen that’s clearly sourced from Chrysler. It’s an excellent system, better than most, with good response and big icons to play with the navigation, stereo, climate control and other doodads. There are redundant buttons for the solid CD/MP3 USB/AUX Bluetooth audio system of course, as there are for the good four-zone auto a/c. There’s also the obligatory sunroof, rear electric blinds, power front seats, cruise control, lots of airbags, electronic parking brake, rear camera and such, but nothing as fancy as a panoramic glass roof, heads-up display or reclining rear seats, though at least the latter is apparently an option.
Powered by a 3.8-litre V8, the motor may seem small by eight-cylinder standards, but it’s twin-turbocharged and direct-injected, meaning it makes a whopping 523 hp at 6500 rpm and 650 Nm of torque at just 2000 rpm. Adding to that is an 8-speed automatic with “click-click” metal paddle-shifters, so you’d be forgiven if you thought you were piloting a sports car. The 0-100 kph run was completed in a scant 4.9 seconds, that too in sweaty June weather. But the penalty of all that power was an as-tested fuel consumption of 22 litres/100 km, very thirsty indeed.
The GTS rides slightly firm, but still feels largely smooth on most road surfaces, which is a feat considering the ultra-low profile tyres, 245/35 front and 285/30 rear. Wind noise is pretty much muted, while some road noise is audible at highway speeds. The engine is also always audible, but it’s heavily muffled. In the city, parking isn’t too tough with the aid of sensors and a rear camera. The steering can feel a bit heavy if you’re used to overly-light wheels, but it’s nothing to complain about. In “sport” mode, the ride is harsher and the exhaust is louder, but that’s expected, and fun even, in small doses.
The big rear-wheel-drive is surprisingly fun to drive too, and even a little bit demanding. In “sport” mode, there’s very mild understeer, followed by the tail slightly stepping out and coming around on sharper turn-in at tight curves, like a well-balanced sports car. Aside from the otherwise-huge levels of grip and nicely subdued body-roll, the light throttle pedal is sensitive, requiring precise inputs to drive smoothly.
The auto gearbox is smart if left on its own, but quick manual shifts are a joy with those trigger-like paddle-shifters, as the sporty exhaust crackles on downshifts. The engine is insanely torquey even at high speeds, so the car never seems to run out of acceleration. If only the well-weighted steering provided the necessary feedback to go with all that performance. There’s some feedback from certain surfaces, but other times there’s barely anything. That’s par for the course when it comes to today’s electric steering systems, and all its rivals feel the same.
All its rivals don’t feel the same in any other aspect though. The Quattroporte GTS is the most raucous limo around. We thought the V6 was a blast, but the V8 elevates the Maserati flagship to another level in terms of aural pleasure and all-out speed. Technically, you don’t need anything more than the already-fast turbo V6, but as they say, if you have the money, why not.
Current Model Introduced in:
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