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The Top Gear car review:Maserati Quattroporte
For:Charismatic alternative to establishment, fabulous engine and performance, the name
Against:Not as sexy-looking as it used to be. Expensive
V8 4dr Auto
A decent giganto sports car, an average limo. Entertaining but confused.
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What we say:
All-new version of the Italian limo that's the nearest thing you can get to a four-door Ferrari
What is it?
Only the Italians could get away with calling a car ‘four door’. Appended to the name Maserati, though, Quattroporte conjures up all sorts of romantic imagery, an idea that the car itself hasn’t always merited since first appearing in 1963. Now, somewhat belatedly into its fifth generation, the QP has finally grown-up, and in more ways than one: in its bid to really take the fight to the German limos that dominate this posh end of the market, the latest QP is well over five metres long, making it much bigger than its curvier predecessor and providing vastly more legroom in the rear. Maserati is clearly gunning for business in China, where size definitely does matter.
That also explains the new QP’s rather brash appearance. Even on vast 21in alloys and in a suitably menacing colour, it’s simply not as elegant as the previous car, and is no longer likely to be mistaken for a four-door Ferrari. Then there’s the addition of a diesel model…
This is where the Maserati really works, despite its increased girth. There’s a new 3.0-litre twin turbo V6, but the range-topping car is powered by an all-new 523bhp 3.8-litre twinturbo V8, overseen by a former Ferrari F1 engine wizard. Although it’s more polite than the old QP power unit, it gives the Maserati real heart and soul. More so than the 270bhp diesel. That engine, well, does a job. Say no more.
There’s lots of aluminium in the car’s structure, so even though it’s bigger than before it’s actually more responsive, handles beautifully, and its eight-speed ZF transmission is exemplary. The electro-hydraulic steering helps too, with its linearity and transparent feedback.
There’s an all-new multi-link suspension, so it has a more settled ride quality than the old car, although it’s on the firm side even for an overtly sporting limo. A top speed of 190mph and a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds are good enough.
On the inside
Once again, it’s very Italian. In other words, there are elements that make you smile, jostling with others that make you want to tear your hair out. The interior effectively has three layers, leather, wood and aluminium, all of which can be configured to taste. Although it’s mostly well made, the air vents are plasticky, there’s nasty brightwork on the doors, and the steering wheel is ugly, although it feels good. The main touchscreen works well, but the gear-selector is dreadfully fiddly to use.
Maserati claims the petrols do a combined average of 24mpg, but in the real world we reckon you’d be lucky to get half that; the diesel will add 20mpg to both figures. Diesel also results in far lower CO2 emissions, vital if fleets are to show any interest in it. Less than bulletproof residuals might be more of an issue, and servicing costs will likely be on the steep side, too. For the deeper wallet, then.