Maserati Quattroporte 2005 Review
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What is emerging on the radar of these free-spending clients is a marque which can be considered a little out of left field.
Maserati, a member of the powerful Ferrari and Alfa Romeo stable, is tickling the fancy of those traditionally loyal to German saloons.
In particular, the Quattroporte is gathering speed and winning over people coming out of, among other luxury four-door offerings, Mercedes-Benz S-Class limos.
The current generation QP was a late starter in Australia, arriving here last year. It's doing reasonable business and is the biggest seller in the Maserati line-up alongside the coupe, Gransport and Spyder.
This imposing four-door shines with a polarising design. Part of the appeal is its sheer presence and ability to stand out in the crowd rather than blend in like most of the dressed-up $200,000-plus luxury saloons.
Maserati have sunk big dollars, believed to be about $300 million, into developing the QP.
This saloon is endowed with plenty of urge from its free-revving 4.2-litre V8 with each bank set in 90-degree configuration.
A lot of what gives the QP stunning handling and precision starts with the positioning of this 183kg engine which is set further back and has a lower centre of gravity.
Much has been made of mechanical balance with this super saloon achieving a 47-53 per cent front/rear weight distribution.
The Quattroporte, a name which first sprang to life for Maserati in 1963 with the Frua-styled first-generation sedan, has trans-axle architecture where the gearbox is installed at the rear, which helps strike a more performance orientated balance.
This bespoke Maserati uses a DuoSelect transmission with electro-hydraulic actuation.
Left in drive it can be overriden anytime by squeezing the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
A manual/automatic button can also be pushed to select specifically what function you desire and there is a sport mode which tightens up the suspension.
It's a little awkward driving it around town strictly in auto as it will stay in third gear unless you shift up with the paddle.
For such a big lump of a sedan, the QP has stunning body control.
It uses what Maserati call Skyhook active suspension that continually adjusts damping but does not change ride height.
Sensors monitor acceleration and also chart the movements of the wheels and the body, instantly changing damper settings to meet the conditions. Maserati claims it is 10 times faster than conventional systems.
The feeling of changes in suspension is quite apparent, as together with the fidgety gearbox the Quattroporte seems busy sorting itself out to match road conditions and a person's changing driving behaviour.
Built into the geometry is anti-dive and anti-squat protection aimed at helping the car's body maintain poise.
It is relatively short geared with access to the 294kW (400bhp) of power and 451Nm of torque sorted via a six-speed changer.
Unleashing all this fury through the responsive throttle which operates via a drive-by-wire system, the QP screams and yelps into life.
There is a momentary lapse from the naturally aspirated V8 with a Hill Holder function keeping it stationary before the raucous V8 blasts into full noise and thrusts forward.
One point which remained a concern for the new-age QP was quality issues.
However, after one owner and 12,000km this super saloon as tested showed no signs of becoming unhinged with fit and finish problems.
The QP is not a numb, boring luxury machine that has been sapped of personality. It is alive and busy and a hit for enthusiasts.
The range will be freshened for 2006 with a swag of equipment changes including trim, wheels and a DuoSelect gearbox said to be 35 per cent quicker in Sport mode.
Range and Specs
|(base)||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ||$38,700 – 49,500||2005 Maserati Quattroporte 2005 (base) Pricing and Specs|
|Executive||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ||$40,600 – 51,920||2005 Maserati Quattroporte 2005 Executive Pricing and Specs|
|Sport||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ||$43,500 – 55,000||2005 Maserati Quattroporte 2005 Sport Pricing and Specs|