- Car Reviews
Menace. Presence. Old-school chassis yobbery. Not as complicated as a German super-saloon
Muffled V8. Inconsistent ride. Some cheap and nasty bits inside. Insanely thirsty
What is it?
It’s still here, believe it or not, Yep, Maserati still makes its big, bad four-door limousine, though we wouldn’t have blamed you for presuming it’d gone the same way as the Jaguar XJR, wilting against the onslaught of Germany’s luxury saloons.
In fact, this angular-faced Quattroporte (lawd that name still sounds so good, doesn’t it?) has actually been with us since 2013, when it launched to bolster Maserati’s bold plans to become a big volume player in the global posh car market, plundering the booming Chinese thirst for all things European while offering a sensible diesel engine for CO2-conscious European company car elites. This was it. Maserati was about to hit the big time.
Predictably, the whole plot was a glorious failure and Maserati has remained firmly in the niche zone. But that’s probably the way we like it. A Maserati is a wilfully esoteric choice. That’s what makes it so achingly cool.
And now, with its future drawing inexorably into the electrification tractor-beam, the Italian trident is having one last stab at the petrol V8 glory days, before it goes battery-powered.
So, the agricultural diesel is dead and you’ve a choice of two V6 engines, delivering 345bhp in the standard model and 425bhp in the V6 S. And then we come to the main event: the new Quattroporte Trofeo, which we’ll be concentrating on here, if no-one objects. Good. You can spot a Trofeo from the naff red detailing on the side vent motif. Yuck.
This flagship monster is home to a 572bhp twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8, driving the rear wheels alone via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Now, there are AMGs and BMW Ms that have more power, more gears, and more tech, but the simple fact is this: the Quattroporte does 202 miles an hour, not 155mph on a limiter.
Then there’s the simplicity. No, you can’t tweak your gearshift ferocity. There’s no drift mode. There’s no need for one, because the Trofeo is 100 per cent rear-wheel drive all of the time. There’s no estate version – the closest you’ll get is the Levante Trofeo, the car’s SUV cousin. It feels like… well, a supersaloon from 2013. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s from a simpler time.
While Maserati has attempted to keep the Quattroporte up-to-date with the latest in connectivity and comfort, there’s no escaping the truth that for the £125,000 you’re asked to part with in exchange for a Trofeo, you could buy an awful lot of Mercedes S Class. Or an EQS. You could have the mother of all Teslas, or a very tidy Porsche Panamera Turbo. In short, a lot more power, and tech, and talent.
All of those fine cars have more features, more gadgets, more assistance. More stuff. They’re more than likely a lot more efficient too. Because there are underground coal seam fires that are kinder to the environment than this godfather of Masers.
And yet… there is charm here. There is enormous pace, biddable handling, and generous space. You get to drive around feeling like the henchman for an Italian Bond villain, not the vice-president of procurement for a European chemical corporation.
So, before Maserati closes the book on this chapter of a Quattroporte story that stretches back to 1963, give it your consideration one last time.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Far from the most complete ultra-saloon you can buy, then. Obscenely cool, though. There’s a brooding menace about any big Maserati, and one that’s about to have its V8 knackers neutered is even more liable to have your arm off.
If you can live with the curiously pimply ride, the cabin’s quirks and fancy bolting a more raucous set of pipes to the back, this is a car that’ll soon define the old adage ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’.