Imagine being born in a family, where your other siblings also share the same passion as you and together, you decide to slap your family name behind a fast car you built in your own garage. So what was initiated in 1914 by Alfieri, Ettero and Ernesto Maserati, 100 years later today is reminiscent of exclusivity and unparalleled grace that has, to date, managed to fail from following convention. It is this failure that makes Maserati lusciously desirable and perhaps one of the last few remaining car makers, who’ve still got those wild Italian platelets running through their veins.
While our Editor had already been injected with Maserati madness in the car maker’s home country, here I was, waking up to a voice which asked me to pick one of those wild horses, right here in Delhi. As I scampered and scuttled to pick the car, in a fidgety state, I realized that the car I was about to drive was the brainchild of Gino Rancati, a scribe like me who’d fed the seemingly embryonic but excitingly bonkers idea of bolting a race engine inside an everyday saloon car to the then Maserati boss Omar Orsi. That suggestion transformed into metal and in the year 1962, the first ever Maserati Quattroporte rolled out to lure split personalities who lusted for horsepower within four door sensibilities.
Images: Bobby Roy
Looks, Interiors and Comfort
The Maserati Quattroporte GTS is not an over the top, flamboyant design which will make every head turn. However, it will turn the right heads. You’ve got to spend some time with it for it to possess your heart. And once under the spell of those beautiful body lines, it wouldn’t be long until one finds himself inundated and smilingly melting in love.
The body has been chiseled inside a wind tunnel to cheat air and has beautiful flowing lines which take form from the tip of those beautiful headlights, travelling gracefully all the way to the rear. Those sleek headlamps add a touch of glow to the rather longish front, whereas if you look through that clear glass, the car maker has left its mark on the chrome reflectors.
The front grill has large convex, vertical fins with large gaps which allow for huge amounts of air that can be swallowed for the intercooler. The Trident badge looks exquisite and adds to the wow factor at the front, whereas the long sweeping creases on the hood add flair and make this Italian job a sight to behold.
The Maserati GTS’ side profile is accentuated with flowing creases, red brake calipers sneaking out from the alloys, three chrome lined air vents which look like they’d exhale flames any moment and a Maserati logo behind the C pillar. The curvaceous glass area is highlighted in chrome, while the belt line crease that takes shape at the front fender, takes an upward curve as it reaches the rear door, finally bulging towards the rear and adding dollops of character to the design.
The Maserati Quattroporte GTS looks beautiful from whichever angle you look at it. However, we think the car looks best when viewed from the rear. The Tail lamp cluster has the red frame motif introduced on the Gran Turismo and flows beautifully with the sculpted bodyline, giving the car one of the best rear stances we have ever seen. Combine that with angular tail pipes that have been drenched in chrome and 285 section rear tyres, this looks like one of the most enchanting posteriors in the world of sedans.
The Quattroporte has probably one of the heaviest key fobs of any car and one can see pure Italian design elements in it. It has a Maserati trident design with satin silver finish on the sides and a single black plastic element in the middle with all the buttons.
Open the beautifully sculpted pillar less doors, get inside and you are greeted with high quality leather and top of the line luxury. After getting inside, we spent some time just touching the acres of leather. Everything from the leather, the optional carbon fibre panels, switchgear, and steering wheel has a quality feel to it. In terms of quality and finish, it matches and even exceeds its German rivals. Even the passenger grab handles get leather treatment.
Attention to detail can be seen all around, right from of the cubby holes in the central console being lit, classy ambient lighting of the dashboard, little GTS emblem in the analog watch, Maserati logo on seat headrests and the Quattroporte decal on passenger side dashboard . We simply loved the interiors – there was one disappointment, though. The central screen and the buttons surrounding it, which control several functions such as heated seats, audio, phone etc do not match the quality and finesse of the rest of the car. The resolution could’ve been much better and there the controls felt somewhat laggy. The setup is quite functional though.
Front passengers get heated and ventilated seats, the controls for which are located on the central console. The system gets a radio, Bluetooth connectivity and call acceptance and or rejection controls on the steering wheel or from the central screen. The steering wheel not only has buttons in front but there are buttons in the back which control the music system. They are conveniently located, within the reach of your fingers allowing you to skip to your favorite song or control the volume. You can even pause or mute the audio system using these buttons. However, the gap between the steering wheel and the pedal shifters is a little tight for someone like me with fat fingers. But it does make it easy to reach those beautifully machined pedal shifters. Engine and Suspension settings get their own buttons and we’ll talk about them later.
Front seats are quite comfy and wide enough even for an overfed mortal. There is good lumbar and back support with the seats surrounding you firmly on your torso. We would’ve appreciated a little more shoulder support though. Needless to say, the seats are electrically adjustable with two memory settings. Add to that an adjustable steering wheel (for reach and rake) and you get a perfect driving position, for every driver’s individual preference.
The Quattroporte has a wheelbase of more than 3 meters and rear passengers get more than ample leg room. The seats are very comfortable – rear passengers get independent climate control just like in the front area. Unlike some of its strictly four seater rivals, the Quattroporte can seat a fifth person in comfort, though don’t envisage three people in second row unless the owner is a celebrity designer, coming out of a fashion show with a bunch of leggy models in tow.
Bring down the arm rest and the seating position gets even snugger. Arm rest gets concealed cup holders and two ports – USB and a 12V port to charge your gadgets. Not only is the leg room ample, the under thigh support is also generous with good lumbar support and head rests which actually aid comfort – unlike some other cars where they’re more of an annoyance sometimes. Motorized shades can be brought on with the pull of a button. Front passenger seat can also be moved forward with the push of a button to enhance the legroom.
We loved the air conditioning in this car. Even in scorching Delhi heat, the air-con delivered a blast of cold air as soon as we started it, irrespective of how long the car was parked under the sun. Sound insulation is great as well and we could barely hear the cacophony, ever so prevalent on the fabled Delhi roads. So if you want to exchange sweet nothings with your partners, or call business leaders to discuss your next big buyout, you can easily do so without being distracted by outer sounds.
Performance, ride and handling
The Twin Turbo 3.8L V8 engine powering this Maser was co-developed with Ferrari and produces 520 bhp of Power with a thundering 650 Nm of torque. That’s 50 bhp short on power but 90 Nm up on torque as compared with the Ferrari 458 Italia – arguably the finest supercar of recent times.
So you see where we are going with this. The Quattroporte GTS has supercar like performance and it reaches 100 kmph from standstill in 4.7 secs. Drama starts as soon as you press the Start button. You hear the growl of an angry beast if your windows are down; else it’s a meek purr.
Shift to D, put the throttle down, and the response from the engine for the first few milliseconds is not so overwhelming. And then, all that colossal power is delivered with one big blast pinning the occupants into their seats as the 285 mm wide, low profile Pirellis grip the tarmac and put all that torque to work. The Quattroporte exhibits its true pedigree without wasting any time, with the numbers on the speedo getting unmentionable in no time.
The 8 speed ZF automatic gearbox shifts quickly through the gears without any delay. The engine revs up to 6,000 RPM, and the speeds keeps building relentlessly even as you shift up the gears negating the near-2 ton weight of the limo. The seats of the pants experience is mind-numbingly exhilarating, and much more involving and exciting than what those acceleration and top speed numbers may ever suggest. We were surprised by how quiet the engine feels inside the cabin when doing low to mid revs with a moderate driving style. And it’s not that the engine is actually quiet. The V8 monster is constantly intimidating every soul surrounding the Maser – you either have to roll those windows down, or take the engine speed up a few notches to realize that though.
The Quattroporte features five driving modes: auto, auto sport, manual, manual sport and ICE (Increased Control and Efficiency) for low traction conditions such as snow and gravel. In the manual mode, transmission is controlled by the central stick or from the paddles behind the wheel. The engine growl changes if you switch to either the ICE or the Sport mode. However, even with ICE mode, the car is no slouch. It still packs enough punch for spirited driving. When you have such a huge powerful car, you need huge brakes as well and this car sports powerful brakes to be brought to a halt. The brakes feel a wee bit soggy in the beginning, though they offer terrific stopping power once you know how to modulate them. Overall, the performance of this car would put many true-blue sports cars to shame, while offering much more comfort at the same time.
Usually, ride quality and sharp handling do not go hand in hand. However, with the Quattroporte, they have got the mix right. 50-50 weight distribution, 20 inch wheels with Low profile Pirelli shoes along with RWD make it a great driver’s car. The steering is precise, has a weighty feel to it with good amounts of feedback allowing you to carve those corners with confidence. The Pirellis wrapping the wheels provide loads of grip and hence great cornering speeds. Even with its long wheelbase, all the creature comforts, and that weight, the Quattroporte comes across as a track ready car. We so wish we get to drive this at Buddh International Circuit. Yeah, we said it – we want to drive a four door limousine at the BIC. The biggest of the Masers wraps itself tightly around you as you press the action – throw twisty roads or an open highway at it and the Quattroporte would be comfortable in either situation.
Maserati have got the suspension setting just right so that the sporty character of the car does not mess with the equally important ride quality aspect. The road undulations are hardly felt inside the cabin. But with a low ground clearance, one has to look out for potholes. Ride does get a little bumpy with the Sports suspension settings but those stiffened springs would not be needed anywhere outside of a race track. Sure, the Quattroporte doesn’t quite offer the magic carpet ride delivered by the S-Class, but its decidedly superior driving experience more than makes up for it, making you forget the little extra comfort you might get in a more luxury oriented limo.
Even with all its virtues, the Quattroporte isn’t an easy car to drive in the unruly, undisciplined traffic on our congested, badly laid out roads – especially so in Delhi. With its 5.3 meter length and 2.1 meter width, the massive Quattroporte needs a lot of care and attention while sifting through the city traffic. With all that power under the hood, it’s like a monster on a leash – with its aggressive exhaust note, it keeps grabbing all the attention, which isn’t sometimes the best thing to have.
This is one car in which you can travel in utmost luxury in the backseat during weekdays and on weekends, drive to your holiday home in the hills with your family while listening to your favorite music on that Bowes and Wilkins music system. And on some others days, you can also quench your thirst for adrenaline as you attack those deserted hilly bends.
The Quattroporte is one of the rare few machines in the world which can offer astonishing levels of luxury, purist pleasing design, racing pedigree and unbridled performance in one package. There are hardly any rivals for this car, if you really are the kind of person it is meant for, that is. Nothing out there can replace it for those who know what that Trident on its bonnet stands for.
Price as tested: Rs 2.2 crore
- Astounding performance
- Comfort and Luxury
- Classy appeal
- Central Screen could’ve been better
- We cannot afford it
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT|
|Width (with mirrors)||2,100 mm|
|Width (without mirrors)||1,948 mm|
|Front track||1,634 mm|
|Rear track||1,647 mm|
|Front overhang||968 mm|
|Rear overhang||1,123 mm|
|Boot capacity||530 l|
|Fuel tank capacity||80 l|
|Kerb weight||1,900 kg|
|Weight distribution||50% front; 50% rear|
|Top speed||307 km/h|
|Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h||4.7 s|
|Acceleration 0 to 400 metres||12.8 s|
|Acceleration 0 to 1000 metres||22.7 s|
|Braking distance from 62 to 0 mph||34 m|
|No. of cylinders and layout||V8 90°|
|Maximum power||390 kW (530 HP)|
|Engine speed at max power||6,500 rpm|
|Peak torque||Peak torque 650 Nm – 710 Nm in overboost|
|Engine speed at peak torque||2.000 – 2.250 rpm in overboost|