Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS

February 2009

picture of car from the front

A redesigned grille identifies the GTS from the front

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 4Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 6Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 9Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 7Car safety


Likes

  • Striking exterior styling
  • High performance and amazing sound
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Rare

Gripes

  • Not very spacious
  • Tremendously thirsty
  • Automatic only
  • Complicated cabin ergonomics

Preferring to stand out from the crowd rather than blend in has meant that Maserati is traditionally no volume seller. Instead, its vehicles sell in smaller numbers to the kind of drivers that prefer something a little more exotic. The Quattroporte Sport GTS is more unique than most, a sleek, stylish and powerful saloon with the emphasis on a sporty driving character.

As Maserati's sales figures suggest, the brand is on the rise since being taken over by Ferrari and benefitting from its engineering know-how. However, despite its connections, the historic Italian marquee still manages to retain its own unique identity as a manufacturer of beautifully styled high performance luxury vehicles. The Quattroporte is the company's four door performance saloon model and the Sport GTS is its latest incarnation; building on the already established platform to offer an aggressively styled high performance model with the focus on the driving experience.

Using the 4.7-litre V8 engine from the Quattroporte S model - the base version uses a 4.2-litre V8 - Maserati has increased output to 433bhp and increased the engine's comfort zone to 7100rpm allowing the extra performance and the peak power at 7000rpm to be fully exploited. In order to do so you first have to select sport mode, which de-restricts the flow of the exhaust gases by opening a valve in the exhaust system. Not only does this make full power available, it also bypasses a secondary silencer allowing the full howl of the finely tuned V8 to be heard.

Both the transmission and chassis have been modified to exploit the increased performance. The Quattroporte Sport GTS comes with a six-speed automatic gearbox featuring a manual over-ride courtesy of two enormous paddles behind the wheel. The shift response has been sharpened and the automatic kick-down removed along with the automatic shift-up function at the redline. A racing start function for the traction control further indicates the sporting intentions Maserati expects GTS drivers to harbour, and the GTS's suspension makes use of stiff dampers instead of an electronically controlled system.

From the outside the GTS is distinguished by its redesigned front grille, oval twin exhausts and huge 20-inch alloy wheels.

Our verdict on the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS

The Maserati Quattroporte GTS is easily on a par with the usual suspects when it comes to luxury super saloons, so much so that it's surprising that the Italian firm doesn't shift more cars. The interior is a little more compact than some but in terms of the driving experience it's among the best - able to switch between smooth and supple limo and hard-edged racer with ease. It's beautiful, too.

Costs
Costs rating 4

Considering its performance and the level of luxury, the Quattroporte offers reasonable value for money compared with some of its rivals. Of course, running costs will be extremely high due its enormous thirst and insurance will also require a considerable investment. It will never be a cheap car to own or run, but its exclusivity should mean decent used returns.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 6

Although it looks large from the outside, the Quattroporte Sport GTS doesn't have the most accommodating interior. A sleek roof line means headroom is limited, more so in the rear, and a transmission tunnel also impacts on space in the rear. Rear legroom is adequate, but less impressive than you might expect when looking at the car's profile. The boot is a good size though, more than capable of accepting a set of golf clubs.

picture of car from the rear

The saloon body has great proportions

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The steering is lighter than you might expect from a car with this much sporting pedigree, but not lacking in feedback. The long travel on the throttle and particularly the brake pedal is more in keeping with the sports nature and allows for more accurate metering of power and braking. The large paddles for the sharp transmission are excellent, offering complete control for the enthusiastic driver. The button configuration is awkward in places, with many switches hidden from view behind the steering wheel. Once you know where to look this becomes less of a problem. The displays are excellent; clear and well lit. A large central screen gives a colour indication of power reserves to assist the rev counter.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 9

For a car tuned to deliver serious sporting thrills, the Quattroporte is surprisingly supple. The ride is firm but in no way uncomfortable. Exhaust noise is a constant muted presence but is also part of the appeal. Naturally, climate control is present and the rear passengers get their own ventilation hub. Soft, supple but supportive seats are a pleasure to relax into.

Car security
Security Rating 7

There's a full package of security measures on the Quattroporte Sport GTS, including an alarm and immobiliser. That is to be expected given its performance potential and desirability. Considering the car's premium standing, a tracking device is a smart addition for added peace of mind.

Car safety
Safety Rating 7

For all the car's luxury trappings, it still comes with the safety kit you'd expect to find on all modern cars. Airbags and electronic aids are all included, but given the Quattroporte's sporting leanings the latter are unobtrusive and don't spoil the experience.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 9

Already offering a sporting driving experience in standard and S form, Maserati has gone all out to ensure the Sport GTS provides the most rewarding driving experience yet. That means altering both the power output and power delivery of the engine, replacing the advanced Skyhook electronically controlled suspension with more direct single-rate dampers and tuning the automatic gearbox to deliver a punchier response. All of this means the Sport GTS drives more like a hardcore racer than any saloon of this size has a right to. However, it's also capable of acting as a refined motorway cruiser or limousine when required. With impressive acceleration, braking and cornering, it ticks all of the boxes.

picture of car interior

Interiors are luxurious and stylish

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

It's no people carrier, but the big Maserati will happily double as a family car. You might want to protect the car's luxurious upholstery from chocolate covered fingers, but in principle the car will easily accommodate two adults and three children.

First car appeal
First car Rating 1

Leaving the sizeable price and running costs aside, the Quattroporte Sport GTS is far from an ideal car for the novice. It is a quick, powerful car that demands respect - even when driving it around town.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 9

As Maserati doesn't compete on the same terms as its volume selling rivals, the Italian marque prefers to go down the exclusivity route. No question, the Quattroporte is as much an event as it is a car - especially if watching from the pavement - hence its appeal among buyers seeking something a little different. The GTS takes things even further with its sports body kit, large wheels and foreboding grille giving it more presence. Quality-wise, Maserati has come a long way since becoming part of the Ferrari fold. Interiors in particular feel solidly crafted and rough surfaces fail to highlight any rattles.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

More low slung that some rivals, the Quattroporte's cabin gives the impression that it might be difficult to access. In fact it's pretty straightforward, thanks in part to large, wide opening doors. The rear isn't quite the same as the doors are a little smaller, but few other than the very tall should find it a problem. At the rear the car's boot opens nice and wide with little effort to reveal a decent amount of space and, crucially, only a small load lip.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

Featuring a premium sound system in keeping with the model's premium status, the quality of the audio through the Bose equipment is excellent. A neatly integrated sat-nav system is standard and features excellent colour graphics and displays. Phone integration is also present and additional audio controls can be found on the steering wheel.

picture of car in detail

Oval exhausts are a GTS hallmark

Colours and trim

Carbon fibre style Titantex and Alcantara is the order of the day inside the Quattroporte GTS. It's an excellent combination that, as well as looking and feeling luxurious, gives the interior a moody feel that matches the exterior. Ten leather colours and five Alcantara shades are available. Outside there are LED running lamps, a new concave grille finished in black and enormous 20-inch wheels. A full 19 paint options offer plenty of choice, although some shades will cost significantly more.

Parking

The Quattroporte is a big car with a generously proportioned rear. Reverse parking takes a bit of practice but once confident it's relatively easy to slot the car into a space. It's much the same at the front, thanks to the car's long bonnet. Thankfully, steering boasts plenty of assistance at low speeds and the automatic gearbox is smooth when shunting back and forth in tight spaces. Rear parking sensors are standard, which obviously helps.

Spare wheel

Puncture repair kit fitted as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 4.7-litre (433bhp). Transmission options: six-speed automatic with paddle-shift operated sequential-manual over-ride. Trim levels: Individual options available.

 

Alternative cars

Audi A8 S8 matches GTS for power and has four-wheel drive

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 63AMG has sleek exterior and brutishly powerful engine

Bentley Continental Flying Spur Great engine, pricier, less fun

BMW 7 Series 750i is quick but less agile



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February 2009