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Maserati Quattroporte

Discussion in 'Maserati' started by Daytonafan, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. Daytonafan

    Daytonafan F1 Rookie

    Oct 18, 2003
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    Matthew
    I have read two road tests of the Quattroporte this week. One in Autocar, one in Car. Autocar loved it Car didn't. Has anyone here driven one and what did they think?
     
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  3. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    Texas!
    Haven't driven one, but sat in one at the Detroit show. It should give the MB S class a run for their money, which is saying a lot seeing how long MB has been at it versus Maser.

    Take care, DrTax
     
  4. tonyh

    tonyh F1 World Champ
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    Test Drives ----------------- FROM UK DAILY TELEGRAPH---------------

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    (Filed: 31/01/2004)


    The new Maserati Quattroporte is big on luxury and even bigger on power and handling, says Paul Hudson. But can it lure customers away from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar?



    Test drive archive: Luxury/executive



    You couldn't do it in English. Four-door: what sort of car model name is that? And I dread to think what it is in German. But in Italian, Quattroporte conjures up all sort of exotic connotations, especially when it appears alongside the trident badge of one of the most evocative marques in motoring history — Maserati.

    Let's be honest. Previous generations of the Maserati Quattroporte hardly set the world on fire. The first incarnation appeared in 1963 and the name soldiered on through the De Tomaso years (1975-1993) and beyond until it was dropped in 2001. Although these cars were undoubtedly luxurious, they were boxy, complex and often consigned to transporting Italian politicians.

    In fact, this chequered history should work in Maserati's favour as it launches the latest model. The negative connotations of previous cars will be but a distant memory — if they are remembered at all.

    The new Quattroporte is the first all-new fruit of the Maserati/Ferrari alliance, begun in 1997. It is a product of a new-look Maserati, trading on a illustrious past but forging ahead with a steely determination to produce luxury cars without any of the Italian vices of quirkiness and shoddy manufacture. It is not only the cars: its Modena factory has been extensively revamped and expanded in line with the company's aspirations, all presided over by the dynamic Luca di Montezemolo.

    In short, it's a brave new world. The current Maserati Coupé and Spyder have been transformed from "old'' Maserati products (the recalcitrant, 3·2-litre, twin-turbo V8 Coupé received a makeover and the current, naturally aspirated, 4·2-litre V8 engine), in the process attracting more buyers than the traditional Maserati diehards. From the small but steady improvements exemplified by these cars, the new Quattroporte is another step towards establishing the company as a serious player in the luxury saloon market.

    Although the Quattroporte is a very important car for Maserati, the company admits it needs a fourth model. The Kubang SUV project has been shelved, although Maserati will continue its collaboration with the Volkswagen Group, in order to concentrate on the new saloon and replacements for the Coupé/Spyder. A global assault will lead to the brand being sold in Russia and China, as well as expansion in all current markets.

    But this car has to deliver if Maserati is to lure customers from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar. Buyers of the German trio can more or less take reliability and solidity for granted, while Jaguar has improved its build quality. To this end, each Quattroporte is sold with a three-year free servicing deal, which includes everything except consumables such as tyres and brake pads (and will be applied to future models). All this is to reinforce the Quattroporte's long-term credentials; the perception that all Italian cars have an inbuilt frailty persists, and that's something buyers of German cars have tended not to worry about. There are also resale values to consider.

    But why attempt to compete with BMW and Mercedes, with their superior resources and established credentials in the luxury sector? "We don't want to make a German car. We're Italian, so we make an Italian car. It is important to provide pleasure," said Antonio Ghini, the affable head of Ferrari/Maserati PR. And that, broadly speaking, is what you get. Maserati wisely decided to offer something different, a modern interpretation of the classic Italian performance saloon, big on luxury but even bigger on power and handling. While the aforementioned German cars and Jaguar were targeted in terms of luxury, the benchmark for the new car's performance was seen as the BMW M5. The Quattroporte's top speed is 171mph and 0-62mph takes 5·2 seconds.

    As well as being visually different, the Maserati has a unique layout compared to traditional luxury saloons. In common with its Coupé and Spyder siblings, its gearbox forms part of the rear axle and is operated electro-hydraulically by paddles on the steering wheel or a fully automatic mode. Positioning the gearbox at the back allows a more equal weight distribution, the Quattroporte having a ratio of 47:53 front to rear. While Audi and Jaguar make extensive use of aluminium-alloy to keep weight down, the Quattroporte has a traditional steel body with alloy bonnet and boot lid. It weighs in at 1,860kg – heavier than the A8 and XJ, but on a par with the S-class and 7-series.

    This is a big car, measuring more than five metres in length and almost two metres in width. Although design house Pininfarina worked on many Maserati models before devoting itself to Ferrari, previous Quattroportes were penned by Frua, Bertone and Giugiaro. The latest model reunites Maserati and Pininfarina after 50 years and it has a shape that instantly sets it apart from rivals. It is sleek, voluptuous even, with the grille and trio of side vents harking back to previous classic Maseratis.

    The interior styling is equally compelling. Although it is not quite as obviously a fetishist's dream as the hide-swaddled Coupé, the Quattroporte packs its fair share of top-quality Poltrona Frau leather in a bewildering choice of colours, with four choices of wood trim. The facia is uncluttered and neat touches include a main instrument cluster that is open at the sides and not deeply recessed. The steering wheel moves electrically in every plane, the front seats adjust every which way and there's plenty of legroom in the back, should that be your chosen position, where there's also a range of electric seat adjustment. As with Ferrari, there's plenty of opportunity to customise the car: including all the equipment options and exterior paint colours, Maserati claims four million combinations.

    Although the Italians have made great strides in the quality of their car interiors, the Quattroporte looks like the best yet. As well the feelgood factor of all that leather, the plastics have a soft-touch quality and there's a solidity to the switches that bodes well for longevity. The glovebox glides open with a beautifully damped action worthy of Audi, for instance.

    In days gone by, an Italian car would be judged on its engine and the interior would barely warrant a mention. Times have changed, but the Quattroporte's engine is very much a part of its character. It's a high-revving V8 (peak power is at 7,000rpm, only 500rpm shy of the red line) made by Ferrari at Maranello and shares its basic architecture with that of Ferrari's 360 Modena. It is the same, 4·2-litre, naturally aspirated unit as used in the Maserati Coupé and Spider, reworked to reduce noise at higher revs and improve torque at lower revs. This is achieved with less aggressive intake cams and a longer air intake, while the exhaust is claimed to improve high-rev responsiveness – as is the fashion at Ferrari, a bypass system in the exhaust makes it sound better when you floor the accelerator. And who are we to argue?

    The only disappointment is that on opening the bonnet the engine isn't as visually arresting as the Coupé's. The bits you can see are lovely, but the main reason for its lack of aesthetic impact is that it sits well back in the engine bay, behind the front axle line, for better weight distribution.

    It fires with a wonderful roar that's throaty but not intrusive. What a shame, then, that the gearbox defaults to an auto mode that is jerky and hesitant. Although it is undoubtedly an improvement on the Coupé and Spyder arrangement, it lunges between gears, particularly from first to second. As speed rises it gets better, although it is slow to react if you floor the accelerator. You soon learn to be gentle with the throttle, easing it down rather than stamping on it, but it might dismay those used to the seamless changes of a conventional, torque-converter automatic. There's a sport setting that provides greater response, but it fails to overcome the lurching at lower revs.

    For manual mode, the driver must press a dashboard button. Now changes via the steering wheel-mounted paddles are smoother, particularly when the engine is spinning in the upper reaches of the rev range. The sport manual mode is even faster and simultaneously firms the suspension.

    Maserati is committed to this type of transmission and says that more than 70 per cent of Coupé/Spyder buyers opt for the "racing-style" Cambiocorsa system. Ghini again: "There is no distinction between automatic and manual. We are aiming to provide a manual experience without having to use a clutch." According to Maserati, the advantages are that the driver always has his hands on the wheel, plus there is no fore-and-aft weight transfer (which can upset the handling) of the sort you get when changing gear using a clutch pedal.

    The Quattroporte is an imperious motorway cruiser. At 70mph the engine thrums along at slightly less than 3,000rpm, the whole car feeling solid, relaxed and refined, with little wind or tyre noise. The ride is extremely comfortable, the car absorbing motorway bumps rather than crashing into them as many sporting cars do. It remains stable at UK licence-losing speeds, which should please buyers in Germany, Maserati's second largest market after the US. It's just as well that the massive Brembo brakes are more than up to the job, with a precise and progressive action, allowing you to caress the pedal or brake with confidence in an emergency.

    Perhaps the Quattroporte's most amazing attribute is that it doesn't feel like a big car. From the driver's seat it feels compact, but a spell in the passenger seat and then the rear confirmed it to be extremely spacious and airy. It can be hustled along twisting country roads at indecent speed, traversing off-camber sections without a trace of instability. Much of its cross-country performance can be attributed to the steering, which, in contrast to many large cars, rewards with bags of feel. It performs more like a good sports car – in tight corners you keep turning the wheel and it grips and grips some more; apply even more lock and the front end responds faithfully.

    Of course, there is a price to pay for this level of performance. On a run, you will just about average 20mpg, but then this is a big, V8-engined car capable of ferocious acceleration, its addictive engine meaning that it's no hardship using all the revs. Maserati engineers wonder if the rpm at both peak power and torque might be a bit high – they are when compared with rivals, but they are also part of what makes the Quattroporte special.

    This car is a genuine breath of fresh air in an extremely conservative market. Take a drive and its performance will blow you away. Yet it's a logical purchase, too. Maserati makes much of it being a car with two personae, sporting and luxurious at the same time. It is also, thanks to the peace of mind offered by the free servicing package, something that the most hard-headed businessman will countenance.

    Maserati UK has taken 90 orders so far and has an allocation of 100-150 cars to sell this year. Total sales (including the Coupé and Spyder) are predicted to be about 500 in 2004, compared with 337 in 2003.

    After I concluded the test drive, a Belgian holidaymaker strolled over to seek my views. After hearing his opinion of his current Mercedes, I suggested that he should consider a Quattroporte. "Oh, I saw it at the Brussels motor show and placed an order straight away,'' he replied. If Maserati can seduce customers that easily, just wait until cars are available for evaluation...

    Maserati Quattroporte

    Price/availability: £69,995. On sale now for delivery in May.

    Engine/transmission: 4,244cc, 90-degree V8 petrol with four valves per cylinder and double overhead camshafts; 400bhp at 7,000rpm and 333lb ft of torque at 4,500rpm. Six-speed electro-hydraulically activated transaxle gearbox, rear-wheel drive.

    Performance: top speed 171mph, 0-62 in 5.2sec, EC Urban fuel consumption 10.1mpg, CO2 emissions 440g/km.

    We like: Style, engine, performance, ride, comfort, space.

    We don't like: Transmission still needs some refinement.

    Alternatives: Audi A8 4.2 V8 quattro, from £54,985. BMW 745 Sport, from £59,155. Jaguar XJR 4.2 V8, from £59,950. Mercedes S55 AMG, from £85,340. VW Phaeton 6.0 W12, from £68,260.
     
  5. rudy

    rudy Formula Junior

    Jan 13, 2004
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    Rudy Hassen
    The next generation S Class is going to be devastatingly good..
     
  6. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    IMHO the box is a HUGE problem. People who buy Lux Liners want a butter smooth auto. The P triptronic in my wife's turbo Cayenne is super. How Maser could not offer an auto is beyond me. (A fully auto box is on the way but not for a while)
     
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  8. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
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    i think the QP needs a version with a more serious engine to compete with the S55. i wouldn't have any complaints about a rough box if it had a killer engine with it. the S55 has a killer engine and a lame box.

    doody.
     
  9. AJS328

    AJS328 F1 Veteran
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    Apr 23, 2003
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    Augustine Staino
    I saw the car at the Philly Auto Show Pre-party last night and I love the design. I do agree that they should offer a silky smooth fully automatic tranny as it is not a sports car. It looks nice in the flesh though. :)
     
  10. aawil

    aawil Formula 3

    Aug 10, 2002
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    The black tie preview.One of these days I'm going to have to do that.There's supposed to be a Enzo there and the C6 corvette as well.Any word on those Augustine?
     
  11. AJS328

    AJS328 F1 Veteran
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    That is correct. Thay have the C6 Vette on display and I must say that it is a big improvement. I have never been a big Corvette fan but I would love to drive this car. It really is very compact in its dimensions compared to the C5. I think they did a very good job with it. In the Algar stable is an Enzo, a 612 Scaglietti finished in Grigio Ingrid, a Maser QP as well as a Spider and Coupe, and a 360 Spider. In addition to these you can see the Ford GT and '05 Mustang GT, Cadillac Sixteen, and even a vintage Ferrari 375 MM! :)
     
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  13. ebrigham

    ebrigham Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    155
    NYC
    I'm not in the market for a 4-door, but I would give this thing a serious look if I were. Since I was too lazy to go to the preview events Maserati sponsored in NYC last year, I will probably take a looksee in person once they hit the dealers. I agree, it would be nice to see a version with stupid (500+ horsepower), and perhaps AWD since that is actually quite practical for a family sedan (more so than the former).

    The mention of an updated coupe/spyder piqued my curiosity - I have heard the the next generation models will be a bit bigger, but have heard/seen little information beyond this...
     
  14. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    I just went for a ride in an Audi RS6. Now that is some car.
    Doody
    Trust me. I own one. The Maser box in auto is a limp home mode at best for those times when you've had one too many and your wife who can't drive a stick hasn't. Read the review. It sucks as an auto. The RS6 has a fully automatic box with paddles that makes my Maser feel like a truck in auto mode. The Audi with it's 450hp twin turbo and carbon fiber is much faster as well. Much.
     
  15. ebrigham

    ebrigham Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    155
    NYC

    I have to agree; the few times I used auto, I couldn't help but chuckle. There is no reason to be in 6th gear when you are doing 40 mph. The updates I received last year DID help a bit with the lurchiness, but far from ideal. The QP is supposed to be better still, but I am skeptical. The Audi would also be on my list of test drives, as would the Benz E and S classes. I personally could live with the QP's tranmission (I like to shift anyway) provided the other dynamics of the car can compensate. But it would probably be a sticking point for most others.
     
  16. Daytonafan

    Daytonafan F1 Rookie

    Oct 18, 2003
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    Matthew
    Isn't the problem with sticking a full auto in the Quattroporte is no one currently makes an auto that can work on a transaxle?
     
  17. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
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  18. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    36 years ago there were autotransaxles that raced at LeMans. The QP will have one in a year or so. Why it will take them a year or so is beyond me.
     
  19. amenasce

    amenasce Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Joe Mansion
    Every test i have read said the car is a blast to drive ..Not as comfy as a Merc S600 but much more rewarding and fun.



    And 400 hp should be enough ..afterall, its a limo, not a track car..
     
  20. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
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    famous last words ;)

    the QP has the same torque numbers as a W220 S500. if you've ever driven an S500, it's powered just enough to do what it has to do, but without any real push beyond that.

    the last generations M5 an E55 both had 370 and 390 lb-ft respectively (if memory serves - something like that). the 540 and E500 variants behaved like the S500 - enough power to do what they need to do, but no more.

    if the QP wants to compete at the $100K level (that's what i was told their goal was - $100K fully tricked out) i think they must offer something very crisp above and beyond what a fully tricked out A8L or S500 can offer. yes, they argue (and we might argue) "ferrari style" performance and handling, but that's a pretty fuzzy feature and isn't really on anybody's BPC lists (at least in that specific form).

    given (a) maser's lack of presence in the US market for so long (and i don't think the coupe/spyder has been a huge help); and (b) the lack of a "normal" tranny - i don't see customers flocking to QPs -vs- A8Ls and S500s.

    imo, they don't have anything special to set them apart. i don't know how audi is doing with A8L sales in the states, but the last A8 sold horrendously here. like the QP, i don't see why the vast majority of buyers would go with an A8L instead of an S500. we can argue relative quality issues and MB's slide in that regard (and i can spin yarns about my 2,400 mile S class), but the hard data is crisp: MB sells more $85K+ sedans in the US than any other company - and by a gargantuan margin.

    why is that going to change? audi couldn't change it with the original A8. BMW gave 'em a run for their money with the old 7 series, but not the new bangled car.

    in the start-up biz the old adage is what do you do 10X better? i don't see any 10X on the maser side. with the original A8 audi could argue AWD, which was a big big deal (i know many old A8 owners who bought 'cuz of that for snow, etc.). but what's maser got with the QP that's "10X better" than the competition?

    what they SHOULD have imo is a high-performance power-plant. after all they're a sister-company to FERRARI. they shouldn't be competing with the S500 - they should be competing with the S55, upcoming S8, and whatever else comes down the pike like that. byt 333 lb-ft isn't going to compare to 516 lb-ft any day of the week, never mind sunday.

    obviously i haven't driven a QP, though i intend to. i'd LOVE to see these guys be successful. my biggest concern is that maser pulls ferrari down. the spyder/coupe were not breakout sellers. i don't think porsche had any real sleepless nights :). the QP doesn't seem to me like it'll be a breakout success.

    does someone else understand the marketing going on here? i'd love to hear about why this thing has a chance of really succeeding.

    doody.
     
  21. rodsky

    rodsky Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2003
    1,601
    Los Angeles
    great post - i have the same questions in regards to Maserati. They are intriguing but they are going up against some pretty heady competition. Mercedes/AMG are going nuts performance wise. Audi is right there..

    i think maserati will have a tough time in this segment. BMW shot themselves in the foot. They were right there and gaining on Mercedes (with the old 7). Hopefully when Bangle goes, they get back to business.
     
  22. kizdan

    kizdan F1 Veteran

    Dec 31, 2003
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    After wrapping up the Detroit Auto Show (a very gruelling event!), we were overwhelmed with the interest in the Quattroporte. We walked away with many names on a waiting list, and all cars coming in '04 are already spoken for.

    I constantly heard "this is the nicest 4-door at the show". When asked about pricing (starting at around $95k), people were shocked, thinking the car was going to be priced between $200-$300k.

    I have not driven the car yet, but am quite anxious to do so. I expect it to be more of a driver's car than an A8, S500, or 745i. Styling-wise, there is no comparison. The Quattroporte is basically what a 4-door Ferrari would look like. Pinninfarina is, by far and away, the greatest styling house on the planet. The new Quattroporte gives Maserati a car that has much more of a market, since there are so many more customers in the market for a 4-door sedan rather than for a personal coupe or spyder. I am very excited about this car.
     
  23. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
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    I just hate those vents.....
     
  24. Sfumato

    Sfumato F1 Veteran

    Nov 1, 2003
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    I agree. Sedan customers WON'T wait 2 weeks for service for small stuff, and FMNA doesn't look to change their stripes soon. Pretty car, needs more grunt. Autobox transaxle in new DB9, with paddleshift, same box that is in 7/XJ/etc. Thing needs a 5L 12 (Maranello motor), autobox standard. I heard they'll do a 12, but why wait?

    And don't forget the Phaeton for the same money Bwahahahahaaaa...
    Piech was smoking some baaaad crack that day. $100k for a passat. :p
    Cannabilizes the Audi line. VW, the GM of Germany....
     
  25. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 World Champ
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    Nov 1, 2003
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    ny
    q port will live and die with its style. lux buyers not that interested in motors and will probably even accept f1 tranny as long as car is most beautiful in class. unfortunately its not a natural beauty just as the coupe and spider are not. this is why maser is going to fail in usa again
     
  26. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    If you hurry you can buy one for 14k off msrp...
     
  27. Pat

    Pat Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
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    Emanuele
    and there will probably be. Don't worry, just wait ;)

    and maybe, thanks to Audi.....4wd....??? but this is still far.
     
  28. Pat

    Pat Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
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    Emanuele
    thanks doody, you're really right.

    but you have to consider some things.

    Mercedes is on the market with the S class from long long long (.....) time, and Benz had not as many problems as Maserati in the past....

    Maserati, just 5 years ago, was simply DEAD.

    Montezemolo....I just can't undersand how he did..... They took two year to recovery Maserati with a coupé....

    the 3200 GT....yes, an old engine, a very good car but far away from a Porsche ecc. ecc.


    but you had to compare it with the previous Maserati....and now it sounds simply unbeliavable. So, if Montezemolo (and Ferrari guys) did such things in so few years.....a superb luxury sedan to compete with the S class (if you said these words just 5 years ago, I would be still laughing!!!!)....what is he going to do in the next 5 years? to better this cars....sure....and.......Porsche and MB will have really to worry then.

    yes, not still perfect cars.....but going really on the right way, next 5 years I think will be crucial for Maserati.

    Really sorry about my english, hope you guys can understand what I'm trying to say....feeling sorry anyway ;)
     

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