With 2013 Maserati sales dwarfing those of 2012, it’s not surprising that Fiat have dropped 1.4 billion dollars to launch the Ghibli and Lavante into the mid sized luxury sedan and SUV markets. Leading the sales that made the entry into these new markets possible was the Quattroporte, Maserati’s most successful car ever.
Maserati ended 2013 with 13,000 orders each for the new Maserati Quattroporte and the new Maserati Ghibli, in contrast to the marque’s total 2012 sales of 6,300 cars. Naturally this demand has sparked the requirement for new dealers across Australia and in the next 18 months Maserati plans to open its doors in Sydney’s Lower North Shore, Adelaide, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
There’s no arguing that the new Maserati had big shoes to fill, superseding what was commonly referred to as ‘the best sounding motorcar on the road’. The 2014 Quattroporte has undergone an end to end transformation with an all new steel and aluminium body as well as new suspension and brakes. The car will be offered in two engine variants, a 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 in the GTS (on sale now) and a 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 in the S, priced from $319,880 and $240,000 respectively.
Whilst the Quattroporte S is yet to launch (later this month), it’s sure to make a considerable dent in Mercedes E63AMG and BMW M5 sales in 2014. The GTS on the other hand will face up with the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide but may also appeal to the Bentley Flying Spur customer looking to save $100k.
The development of the 2014 Quattroporte has focused heavily around weight reduction with additional aluminium added to the body and suspension to make the car 100kgs lighter. Combined with refined underbody aerodynamics and a new engine developed in Maranello by Ferrari, the GTS is the fastest sedan the brand has ever produced.
On the road the GTS feels surprisingly light and agile for a 5.26m long car and we certainly sampled its handling ability through the wet and winding National Park roads. The 390kw engine propels the car effortlessly and there’s tonnes of grip and chassis control but the car never screamed ‘fast’ to me – but perhaps that’s because I wasn’t driving it. Sport mode sharpens the throttle and the steering and gives the exhaust note some extra muscle but you’ll want to have the windows down to really enjoy it. The GTS retains that iconic bellow and crack on over run but it’s definitely quieter than the last model, which may upset Quattroporte fanatics inside and outside the car.
I climbed in to sample the highway between Thirroul and Berrima and whilst pleasant in the cabin I found the interior underwhelming for $320k. Don’t get me wrong, the seats and leather are truly luxurious and the steering wheel is gorgeous, but the centre console and technology offering could be better. After sampling Infiniti’s crystal clear InTouch media system (in a $50,000 car), recalling the pixelated ‘Fiat borrowed’ screen in the Quattroporte is a disappointment to the overall package.
The new Quattroporte is a magnificent beast, capturing just enough of its former beauty and attitude in a car that is essentially completely new however, I just can’t help but ask what else is out there for the money? Looking ahead I think the reduced weight and more competitive price on the V6 S may swing the majority of potential Quattroporte owners but we’ll have to confirm that when it launches. There’s no doubt that climbing into an Italian made Maserati twin turbo V8 is a special feeling, it just comes $140,000 dearer than its German rivals.