Maserati Quattroporte 2013-2014

MASERATI FACES QUITE a battle to set out this new Quattroporte’s sales turf, mainly because the old car has always been difficult to pigeonhole. It’s priced like a luxury limo, yet offers little more space than a BMW 5 Series, and it also drives more like one of the company’s sporty coupes rather than a luxury saloon.

That’s why Maserati has made the new Quattroporte a far more understandable, yet equally glamorous proposition. For a start it’s a whisker away from being the same length as a long-wheelbase Mercedes S-Class and has interior dimensions to match.

Maserati’s new flagship has two engine choices, both twin-turbos and both new: one a 3.8-litre V8, the other a 3.0-litre V6. They’re linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and it all sits on a newly developed rear-wheel-drive platform; buyers outside the UK will also get the chance to specify four-wheel drive. To top it all off, the new Quattroporte is lighter, faster and more efficient than the outgoing car.

When you’re stretching out in the back it feels like a credible limo, and the cabin is suitably luxurious. In the front, most functions are now operated through a large, central touchscreen, leaving a clutter-free fascia that’s both elegant and simple, even if some of the minor fixtures and fittings are a touch flimsy.

Maserati Quattroporte 2013Dynamically, it feels more like an old-school Maserati – mostly. We drove the V8 and it’s a mighty engine, being both flexible and free-revving.

Floor the throttle and it has more overtaking talent than nearly any other luxury saloon, too, while the auto ‘box is excellent at any speed.

It’s surprising how cultured and polished the engine sounds compared with the old V8; perhaps it’s a little too refined.

One concern is over the ride quality. Even in Comfort mode, and on standard 20-inch wheels, plenty of thumps found their way into the cabin on French roads. That said, the Quattroporte has impressive agility, cornering ability and precision.

So while it’s a credible limo, this car also still feels like a credible Maserati. We’d check the ride quality on UK roads and how good the forthcoming V6 is before committing, though.