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Four-door luxury Italian style

The 100-year plus history of Maserati culminating with this week’s tester, the 2017 Quattroporte S Q4, reads like a Hollywood thriller.

  • Quattroporte

THE PROS & CONS

    • What’s Best: Superb styling and sumptuous surrounding all with the magical name and heritage of Maserati.
    • What’s Worst: Frustrating shift lever is awkward to use and takes away from the premium luxury one expects in the car of this class.
    • What’s Interesting: How the Quattroporte blends premium luxury with supercar performance the Germans can’t match.

The 100-year plus history of Maserati culminating with this week’s tester, the 2017 Quattroporte S Q4, reads like a Hollywood thriller.

From repeated boom-to-bust and back again, Maserati is one of the names steeped in the romance of the origins of motorsport that has all but been erased by emotionless computers on four wheels we see today at Indianapolis and in Formula One.

For the few of us who still remember, seeing Juan Manuel Fangio in the Maserati 250F holding off the might of Ferrari at the Nurburgring in 1957, there is no F1 drive that can ever approach it.

Fangio was up against Ferrari driving his 250F. Running on a half-tank of fuel to be lighter, Fangio was told if he could build up a 30-second lead, he could come in change tires, add fuel and maybe just win.

But it went wrong in the pits and Fangio came out 51 seconds down – a lifetime in F1.

Then he dug in.

“I believe I was inspired that day. I never drove quite like that before and I never drove quite like that again,” he said later.

With just two laps left, he caught and passed the second-place Ferrari and then the leading Ferrari and won on the last lap.

That’s the heritage that comes with the name Maserati and why the cars are still so sought after today.

From the start of the company more than 100 years ago with the six Maserati brothers, the Neptune Trident, the symbol of Bologna where it all started, has had a cache few other car companies can claim.

quattroporte

All of this can be found in the in the 2016 Quattroporte S Q4 tested here.

Although the Quattroporte goes back to 1963, the current model and its more powerful sister, the GTS, were introduced at this year’s Toronto auto show.

The S Q4 (Q4 for all-wheel-drive) uses a Ferrari-sourced 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 with 404 hp and 406 lb/ft of torque with an eight-speed transmission with a top speed of 383 km/h (175 mph) and a 0-100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds.

Quattroporte S4

More than five meters long (5,262 mm) with a wheelbase of 3,171 mm, this is a full-size sedan in the fullest sense with gorgeous lines from the low wide open mouthed grille with Trident, to the arch over the rear wheels giving it it’s muscular haunches look, all in an optional ($2,450) Grigio Maratea grey just right to set off the optional ($4,900) 20-inch GTS wheels and blood red calipers ($880).

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Inside, its Italian leather with liberal use of real chrome accents with huge leather front seats which a friend of mine raved about, saying she could fall asleep in, puts it in an Italian class all its own.

What a wonderful change from the coal bin like interiors of German sedans of the same calibre.

The test car came with the optional ($7,900) Zegna leather package in a deep red (they call it Rosso) with piano black highlights all in real double stitching throughout.

Quattroporte interior

What a wonderful change from the coal bin like interiors of German sedans of the same calibre.

The Quattroporte was effortless in gobbling up more than 200 Highway 401 km surprising me with average fuel consumption of 8.5L/100 km which is about what I would expect from a CUV, not a super sedan.

All this changes when you put the Quattroporte in manual gear selection and activate the sport suspension mode.

The steering wheel mounted paddles are large and exquisitely styled. A work of art in itself, it would look great mounted on a piece of marble or carbon-fibre as a mantle decoration.

maserati paddle

Hit the gas and the Quattroporte vaults forward, the throttle blipping on each up and down shift.

The big brakes coupled with the manual down shift haul the Quattroporte down like popping a drag chute – all very impressive for a big sedan weighing in at 1,920 km (4,233 lb).

Inside you don’t really hear the “brapp” crackle of the dual-path sport exhaust system – but others do and that’s the point.

The Quattroporte tested here starts at $121,400 and with all the options topped out at $143,550 not including shipping.

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For those wanting the ultimate in Italian panache, there is the custom silk interior fashioned by Ermenegildo Zegna. Available in three colours, these silk interiors are specially outfitted and woven, much like a fine Italian suit.

The Quattroporte also includes leading edge safety and amenities like engine start-stop technology, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, power trunk with hands-free feature, standard premium Harman Kardon 900-watt audio system or optional Clari-Fi with the optional 1,280-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system and SIRI Smart Personal Assistant.

Put it all together and the Quattroporte S Q4 is the culmination of Italian style with Maserati exclusivity.

quattroporte

 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 2016 at a glance

BODY STYLE: Full-size premium luxury sedan.

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive with eight-speed automatic transmission

ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 (404 hp, 406 lb/ft)

FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) 15.1/10.2/12.9L/100 km city/highway/combined

CARGO: 530 litres (18.7 cu ft)

TOW RATING: NA

PRICE: $121,400; Grigio Maratea paint, $2,450; Zegna Rosso interior, $7,900; GTS 20-inch wheels, $4,900; heated wood steering wheel, $700; red calipers, $880; black piano interior trim $3,050, ventilated front seats $1,300; all season tires, $520; power foot pedals, $450; total $143,550 not including shipping and PDI

WEB SITE: www.maserati.ca

 

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