The Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo is two cars for the price of one, a sedate limo and a Maserati/Ferrari four-door supercar. Switch from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde in "sport mode".
When the Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo was delivered to my door, I was not quite sure what to make of it. So I parked my preconceptions and drove around as many different types of roads and areas of the English countryside to get to grips with this conundrum.
The Quattroporte Ferrari engine is, of course, its USP, a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with a whopping 580 bhp. Maximum output is at 6750 rpm, which delivers its best roar too. The 21-inch wheels and rear-wheel drive are firmly aimed at those that love driving.
Acceleration delivers 0-62 mph in 4.5 secs with a top speed of 203 mph. The combined mpg is 23, delivered by an 8-speed automatic transmission. Yes, it's a supercar limousine, something the Americans appreciate.
To understand the Quattroporte you need to know a little about its history. The first Quattroporte was built in 1963 and styled by coachbuilder Pietro Frua based on the Maserati 5000 GT specially built for the Aga Khan (IV). It included a powerful V8 engine from the very start. This is an iconic long wheelbase four-door limo, a nod to a past that wanted massive sedans that could tour Europe in luxury. Even now in 2023, it has a 70's vibe about it and that is a compliment, not a criticism.
It's a looker but without being eye-grabbing. The exterior lines are beautifully balanced especially when you consider the sheer length of the car. No mean feat imparting a 50/50 weight ratio in a car that length. It is long at 5.2 metres but you'd never know it from the side view.
You immediately notice the red Trofeo triple side vents, a lovely touch that informs all that glance your way that the car is inordinately powerful.
The body styling is sleek and subtle, aggressive enough that you notice it late, then think wow. The bonnet is suitably menacing but swoops down enough so you get great road visibility. It's all saloon shape with a fluted waist until the rear, which suddenly bulges out. It has good boot storage space at 530 litres.
Pop the hood and you get an eyeful of tremendous beauty. The Ferrari engine is bare naked, with no plastic cover to hide that gorgeous red engine housing and carbon fibre cap. The bonnet should be glass. I spent 25 minutes with a bunch of petrol heads at a motorbike meet, while they all admired it in appreciative silence. The Nero Ribelle paintwork is cool, highlighting the optional red callipers to good effect.
All will love the interior which is impressive, opulent even, with high-gloss carbon fibre twill trim, including the paddles, dash and centre console (optional). Soft plush leather seats with red contrast stitching support the largest and tallest in great comfort. There is oodles of legroom in the back. A master Maserati clock sits attractively above the single infotainment screen. The cabin is well-proportioned and combines terrific drivability and driver focus with ample rear luxury and headroom. A Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system provides excellent quality sounds. Despite its length, you forget the rear seats are there when driving, particularly in sports mode. Heated seats, steering wheel, all the usual, are available.
I confess that at first, I did find the Quattroporte somewhat perplexing. An anachronistic throwback to 70's sedans. In normal driving mode the car slides around, bouncing comfortably over the road, serenely gliding along, somewhat large and unwieldy. Even sedate and boring. The steering is set for luxury, without any play, but soft. So why have a 530 bhp V8 Ferrari engine? What on earth is the point?
Then after a few days of getting to know it, I put it into sports mode...
Saint Paul had less of an epiphany. This is two cars rolled into one. A veritable "Transformer".
Both a luxury sedan and a four-door Maserati/Ferrari supercar with rear legroom. The difference between sports and normal mode is humongous. In sports mode, it becomes astonishingly fast and fun, full-out amazing. The performance is mesmerising. Floor it and you are absolutely catapulted forward with breathtaking force. At the same time, it is even more solid than before, but in the best way. The engine sound is mightily improved too, something a panther might growl as a warning, not as a full-on threat.
It is superbly sure-footed, planted like an oak, well, one moving at 70 miles an hour in mere seconds. The braking is even more surprising. Brake hard and the car just stops on a dime, without any shake, shimmy or pitch, supremely steady. After vigorously testing the braking my respect for the car's ability soared. The steering is engaging, though still comfortable rather than super tight. The balance and suspension are infinitely improved, and the car stays level in the most extreme turns.
However, I wonder who would buy this car? It’s a limo that can behave like a muscle car! A family man who wants to drive the kids around and keep them glued to the back of their seats if they ask "Are we there yet"? Or someone who wants huge amounts of space and to be chauffeured around by a Formula One driver? Maybe someone who just likes luxurious four-door saloons with incredible power, an abundance of comfort and a certain reserved style!
The song for this car is "Holocene" (I was not Magnificent) by Bon Iver. It’s ironic, it is magnificent, odd, but magnificent.
The Maserati Quattroporte is a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A mild-mannered chemistry professor by day and a wild untamed hideous beast at night (sport mode). Think of all the car chase movies where the good guy is pitted against the bad guys all driving BMWs or Audis. Pick the Quattroporte if you want to annihilate the opposition. Think of it as the Mike Tyson of the automotive boxing championships. Soft voiced in peace, awesome aggression in war. The mode choice is easy too, if you are in the driving seat, stay in sports, and use the normal setting only for chauffeuring those used to extreme creature comforts.
Plus the price point is alluringly attractive for those who want a unique four/five seater four-door sedan with a Ferrari V8 engine. Insane, yes, but incredible fun!
I'm off to frame my picture of that V8 engine for the study.
Base Price: £139,020.00
As configured: £157,220.00