Maserati Quattroporte 2007 Review
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Hard-driving, head-snapping clutchless manuals maybe, but a custard smooth, do-nothing self-shifter. Never.
Yet, with the six-speed ZF transmission — a refinement of the same box used in the Ford Falcon — slipped into the Quattroporte, Maserati has not only produced an automatic with true sporting character but solved a niggling issue that has plagued the badge for years.
Almost as an aside to the re-engineering required to switch from the transaxle rear-mounted DuoSelect layout to the ZF's traditional automatic position behind the engine, Maserati now has steering to be proud of.
Gone is the nervous vagueness of previous cars, along with the suspension harshness that is often passed off as “sporty”. In its place is a mature assuredness. Nice off-centre sharpness and a linear weighting as the steering loads up.
Moving the gearbox forward resulted in a weight distribution of 49:51.
With a reworked rear suspension, new front bushing and retuned dampers, the seemingly minor change becomes significant. Changing the rear suspension geometry in the absence of the rear-mounted gearbox also helped to settle the car. In developing the automatic, Maserati was under no illusion about how important it was going to be to the brand.
“There are a small core of owners who enjoy driving the DuoSelect but we had a good deal of evidence of potential owners who steered away from the cars because there was no automatic,” Maserati Australia boss Ed Butler says. “Of the customers who have already ordered the automatic, something like 70 per cent are new to Maserati.”
Despite the Gransport being in run-out and almost unattainable and the new Gran Tur-ismo not appearing until next year, Butler has seen a 50 per cent increase in sales over 2006.
“Last year we sold 121 Maserati in Australia and New Zealand of which 64 were Quattroporte,” Butler says. “This year we have asked the factory for 180 cars, all but a handful of which will be Quattroporte — and 80 per cent of those are automatics.”
At the heart of developing the automatic was the need to protect the dynamic performance-car image of the Trident badge.
“When working with ZF it was crucial that the essence of Maserati was protected ... the car must rev to 7200rpm, it must accelerate in the five second range, it must have a sporty character — all the things that make a Maserati a Maserati must remain,” Butler says. “It wasn't an easy task but the result is all we asked for.”
With a top speed of 270km/h and 0-100km/h acceleration in 5.6 seconds, this is one quick automatic sports saloon — but that is just a small part of the picture.
While there is the option of shifting manually — in the manner of a tiptronic — with either the gearshift lever or optional wheel-mounted paddles, there isn't much point in it.
With the sport button selected the car quickly adapts to the driver's style with adjustments in throttle sharpness and shift pattern. Drive hard and the gearbox joins in the fun, settle into a cruise and it is laid-back central.
The 4.2-litre, V8 has also been tweaked and refined. A wet-sump lubrication system is new along with redesigned inlet manifold and airbox, variable valve timing and modified pistons to improve combustion.
Power remains constant at 295kW but torque is up 10Nm to 460Nm at a lower 4250rpm and fuel economy is improved by around 9 per cent.
Cabin refinements include an automatic park brake that engages when the engine is switched off and releases as you drive away. There are also two “supersize” cup holders — crucial when the US is the vehicle's largest market. With three trims, the Quattroporte Automatic is similarly priced to the DuoSelect: $269,000 entry level, $288,000 Sport GT and $298,000 for the Executive GT. It is on sale now.
Range and Specs
|(base)||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$41,200 – 52,690||2007 Maserati Quattroporte 2007 (base) Pricing and Specs|
|Executive||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ||$43,700 – 55,220||2007 Maserati Quattroporte 2007 Executive Pricing and Specs|
|Executive GT||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ||$42,100 – 53,790||2007 Maserati Quattroporte 2007 Executive GT Pricing and Specs|
|Sport||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ||$48,300 – 61,050||2007 Maserati Quattroporte 2007 Sport Pricing and Specs|