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What’s this? A stylish alternative to the BMW 7 Series. If you want a four-door, four-seat saloon with a Ferrari-derived engine in its nose, then you need look no further than Maserati’s Quattroporte. The Italian company has just updated its flagship saloon to make it even more appealing. What’s new? Subtle restyling of the front and rear bumpers, an interior featuring a new – and rather swanky – 8.4-inch capacitive touchscreen, and one of those fancy folding aero flaps behind the (now-chromed) front grille, which can open and close to improve the car’s ability to cut through the air. There are also new upgrade specifications called GranLusso and GranSport, costing £8,400 each on top of the regular Diesel (which represents the entry point, at £70,510) and V6-powered S models. But we’re here to tell you about the Quattroporte godfather, which is the GTS model. And?
For the not inconsiderable sum of £115,980, the GTS comes only as a GranSport or a GranLusso. We drove the former, complete with a rather OTT carbon fibre steering wheel, sports seats and performance-orientated exterior styling. Such as colossal 21-inch wheels, which don’t do a lot for ride comfort. Does that mean it rides a bit… rough? It’s not bad, but it doesn’t glide with the same sort of glassy imperiousness as the Teutonic elite. The Maser will shimmy from side-to-side in the aftermath of hitting a big compression, the Skyhook adaptive dampers struggling to control the big Italian’s mass. It also feels firm when you’re just ambling about town, trying (and failing) to convince everyone that you’re part of the Mafia. Right, but does that mean it’s a great-handling saloon by way of recompense? Sadly, no. It’s fine, reasonably composed and lacking much in the way of body roll in Sport mode, while the range-wide standard-fit eight-speed ZF auto is a peach – and it’s blessed with lovely, metallic shift paddles too. But the hydraulically assisted steering fails to live up to expectations, with oddly hefty weighting and some vagueness dead on; enough to make initial inputs feel like an EPAS rack. Also, we’re not blown away by the V8 engine.
Why? For a 523bhp, 194mph car with a 0-62mph time comfortably under five seconds, the Quattroporte GTS lacks that shove-in-the-back sensation that you get from, say, an AMG Merc. And it’s never particularly loud or appealing in note, either, the V6 Quattroporte S winning more plaudits in that department. It is, however, remarkably smooth and keen to rev, so it’s not without merits. Should I pick a Quattroporte instead of an Audi, BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar alternative? Probably not. The previous generation Quattroporte, for all its multitude of faults, had an absolute screamer of a V8 engine and was gorgeous to look at. The new one… still isn’t. And its powerplant, while deeply impressive, feels a little emasculated. We do like the Quattroporte, but in no single area is it class-leading. It is, however, an intriguing alternative to the safe and staid German cars that dominate the luxury saloon sector. Specs 3799cc, twin-turbo V8, RWD, 523bhp, 480lb ft, 26.4mpg, 250g/km CO2, 0-62mph 4.7 secs, 194mph, 1900kg