Maserati Quattroporte: Luxury marque expands
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Maserati has updated its luxury four-door Quattroporte sports sedan with a new, even more aggressive grille and styling changes, improved handling and updated onboard technology.
The Quattroporte model range has been expanded to nine variants, priced from $178,990 for the 3-litre V6 202Kw turbo diesel, through to the top-of-the-range 3.8 litre, 390Kw V8 GTS GranLusso, at $285,000.
Along with the arrival of the Levante luxury SUV early next year, the Quattroporte is another stage in the expansion of the classic Italian marque.
However the importers are keen to point out that despite the expansion of the range into SUVs, Maserati will remain an exclusive high-end brand. For example there are likely to be only about six new Quattroportes sold in New Zealand in the next year.
But the brand is winning a higher profile with the opening of a new dealership in Newmarket last week, with another to be established in Christchurch next year.
Driven sampled the new GTS on relatively empty back roads around Bathurst in New South Wales last week.
The car is incredibly assured, handling even rough and bumpy sealed roads with complete confidence.
It powers into and out of sharp corners with ease, with little or no judder.
There is plenty of feel in the steering and the ride, even in sport mode, is firm but comfortable.
Although there was some swift driving, the Quattroporte never felt close to being disturbed or troubled by a rough road surface or driver over-confidence.
The car just urges the driver on with an infectious eagerness to take on whatever bumps or turns the road has to offer.
Despite it being a large car, there is no sense of that behind the wheel -- this combines the twin benefits of an eager and sporty drive, with high-end luxury comfort.
The new Quattroporte sports a new high-tech grille that is similar to the grill on the Levante, with aerodynamic and stylistic improvements to the front bumper bar, all of which the company says, improves ventilation of the engine.
The wing mirrors have been reshaped to accommodate 360-degree cameras on the new model.
There are drivetrain improvements to make the car more refined and provide a more absorbent ride, and gearbox changes to provide a more aggressive kick down.
Brakes have been improved to provide more pedal feel, while inside the car there are the benefits of double-glazed windows and improved sound-deadening features.
There is lots of luxury with leather seats and wheel, combined with the latest connectivity features of Apple Car Play and Android Auto systems, and full smartphone mirroring.
Where there was once a CD player, a tidy padded pocket now accommodates a smartphone, with USB and auxiliary and card reader equipment all discretely hidden behind a tasteful flap door.
The 8.4-inch centre screen includes pinch and move functions and there is also a two-level rotary control mounted on the centre console between the two front seats.
The Quattroporte has a button labelled ICE, or "Increased Control and Efficiency" mode.
This apparently is a quick button to press if a driver finds themselves or their car in distress -- it immediately calms all systems and introduces more interventionist traction control functions.
During Driven's three hours in the car, however, there was no hint of a need to press what seems to be a "relax and chill-out" mode for the car.
Instead there was every instinct to press the car further to the limit and enjoy the rare luxury of near empty backroads which tested the Quattroporte's classy handling qualities.
Maserati offers three engine options, diesel and petrol powered, and two trim luxury trim options, the GranLusso and GranSport. The first concentrates mostly on the interior trim (including silk seat inserts) and the second is aimed more at sportier features such as more powerful brakes and 21-inch wheel rims.
The first of the new Quattroporte models arrived in Auckland last week for the opening of the new Maserati showroom in Newmarket, which has a special suite where customers can personalise their new vehicle as they go through the myriad options available.
From scratch, it takes two to three months to deliver a new Maserati Quattroporte from the factory, although as a company spokesman says, there is some flexibility in the system to reduce this "period of anticipation".