Update: The 2017 Maserati Quattroporte with a mid-life refresh was revealed at the Paris Motor Show a few weeks ago. And the word is that, the last Italian vanguard of purist driving has given in to the inevitable assault of driver assistance packages preferred by lesser mortals! But that hasn’t made this review redundant, yet. It should be some time before the new model presents itself here for sale.
So, this version fitted with bravado rather than blips is still a perfect fit in the 500+ club celebration on Drivemeonline. For those who don’t recall the cause, we completed 500 stories recently and I found it a perfect excuse to sneak in a fleet of thundering, blindingly fast machines.
THE SPECS: 3.8L V8 engine, 530 hp, 650 Nm torque, 0 – 100 in 4.7 sec (provided), Test fuel economy: 5.8 km/L,
WOWME: Poltrona Frau leather combined with Ermenegildo Zegna 100% natural fibre mulberry silk inserts
UPSIDE: Drive with character, Unique designer silk interior, more about the person than the car
FLIPSIDE: Ride too stiff for some, rear camera quality
Quattroporte GTS is Maserati’s flagship, drawn by 30 horses more than those needed to enter the 500 hp club, and 650 NM of torque available from 2000 rpm to the mid ranges, which makes it a ‘gallopy’ vehicle. What I mean is that there is an inherent urge in the Quattroporte GTS that keeps you on your toes like a galloping stallion does, adding to the feel of speed. This perhaps makes it one of the most aggressive cars that have landed in my garage, the way it moves, or sounds, or throws its weight around – all 2100 kilograms of it!
The masculine virtues of this car are underscored by its steering character, too. Maserati Quattroporte GTS is arguably one of the last remaining specimens exhibiting ‘feedback’, amply supported by a responsive chassis. The sport mode gets even bumpier but the car maintains just enough smoothness for luxurious long drives.
The not-so-trending button in this opulent cabin would be the ICE button, reserved for rational, moderate driving – two adjectives that don’t qualify your decision to own a Maserati in the first place (with the exception of the Ghibli perhaps!) But there is wisdom in resorting to it because this 3.8L V8 bi-turbo engine is certainly not one of the most frugal at 17.2 litres per 100kms, with a mix of city traffic, sporty sprint and a good measure of the regular canter.
At 5262mm, this is one of the longest cars in its segment. It has grown more than 10 inches (26.2 cm to be precise) over the last five decades and six generations. Spilling its grandeur over the parking lot, the Quattroporte alerts me to driving up ramps like the one in Dragon Mart II. In backing up, the camera is a great help but the visual is sort of grainy in low light settings. (Increasingly, I’ve found that the less you pay for a car, the better the camera seems to get!)
Cabin and Control
Even before letting in prudish gadgetry, Maserati seems to have given into smoothening the edges to keep up with the Joneses (read, the German flagships) – going by the already downplayed soundtrack of this Maserati. Seriously, you can hardly hear it on Normal mode unless you are driving aggressively. Even the Sport mode plays it like the sort of thing that you listen to on low volume, while trying to push a deadline on a story. For fairness sake, this unobtrusive style suits the understated Ermenegildo Zegna edition of the QP. And talking about soundtracks, Maserati has moved from the Bower and Wilkins audio system to the Harmon Kardon, which sounds just as marvellous.
Thankfully, switching your driving style to Sport still releases the sputter and the spark with blowouts punctuating the exhaust notes. Those quadrangular dual exhausts on either side, and the 21-inch tyres wrapped around the 17 spoke alloy wheels with graphite finish, spell out the character of this car loud and clear!
For once, you might want to defy the convention of calling your car or your boat a ‘she’, because the only thing feminine about this car is the 12 metres of silk that show up in the cabin trims, the seat inserts, the door panels, the console and the seatbacks. That is enough silk to tailor four Zegna suits for full-grown men, mind you!
The essential Maserati Quattroporte GTS 2016
For a car whose design resembles a shark (it even has gills!), the Maserati Quattroporte pleasingly integrates the masculine and feminine forms of aggression and elegance. Even though the feminine bit largely stops with the silk!
Yet, Maserati seems to be doing the unthinkable yet inevitable – giving in to whims, and moving a few millimetres closer to autonomous driving in its lately revealed form. But while tech could play a bit of a Grinch, I only hope they haven’t gone soft-footed around the drive, because that is what spells the character of this car!