Maserati is preventing onerous for relevance proper now. Its automobile lineup is severely dated with each the Quattroporte and Ghibli. The Levante faces extra achieved competitors. Not less than there may be hope on the horizon within the type of the Alfa — ahem, Maserati — MC20 mid-engine supercar and high-tech Nettuno engine. Plus, with the Grecale crossover quickly to come back, there could possibly be brighter days forward.
That’s tomorrow, however right now we nonetheless have the vanguards of the early 2010s. The present flagship, kind of by default, is the large Quattroporte, and Maserati is giving it the Trofeo therapy for 2021 in an effort to convey it again onto our radar. Earlier to now, the Trofeo trim was restricted to the Levante. Within the Quattroporte, the Trofeo components is analogous. It plops within the unbridled model of the Ferrari-sourced 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine — crimson wrinkle paint and all — making 580 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. It’s, indisputably, the brightest and finest a part of this automobile. Essentially the most potent model earlier to now was the Quattroporte GTS with its 530-horse model of the identical Ferrari V8.
Little or no is finished to the outside to let you realize this Quattroporte is the Trofeo other than the script on the entrance fenders which are accentuated with red-painted facet air ducts. Past this, the C-pillar’s Maserati emblem will get a crimson lightning bolt, and extra carbon fiber trim is used all through. It additionally comes with 21-inch cast aluminum wheels, a shiny black grille end and the identical restyled taillights utilized all through the 2021 Quattroporte lineup. In contrast to “look-at-me” efficiency choices from Mercedes-AMG or BMW’s Alpina, Maserati’s Trofeo is notably refined. This not solely goes for the Trofeo extras, however the Quattroporte usually. The massive trident within the grille declares its presence, however simply as it has been from the start, the current-generation Quattroporte merely fades into the background in a car parking zone. Our check automobile’s beige paint actually would not assist. Whereas most choose their massive luxurious sedans to be restrained and tasteful, aren’t Italian sedans speculated to have a sure diploma of pleasure and flare?
Not less than the Trofeo can be recognizable by the sound it makes. Even with a pair of turbochargers connected, the Ferrari engine and exhaust notice are unmistakable. Though the V8 is similar fundamental engine because the Levante Trofeo’s, the Quattroporte model will get new turbochargers, stronger inner elements and new camshafts and valves. Energy is transmitted by means of a ZF-sourced eight-speed automated transmission — yay to the big, column-mounted paddles — and completely despatched to the rear wheels, additional differentiating it from the largely all-wheel-drive competitors.
Acceleration is traction-limited as a consequence of that rear-wheel-drive configuration, however it nonetheless blasts from 0-60 mph in simply 4.2 seconds. Thank the brand new launch management system programmed into the also-new Corsa drive mode for this added accelerative zest (0.6 second faster than the GTS). It’s a severe track and dance of mode switching, paddle pulling and methods checking to efficiently activate the launch (we had a number of false begins earlier than figuring it out), however when you do, the automobile expertly manages wheel slip for a seamless and fast begin off the road.
From there, the V8 is silky and creamy like expertly crafted chocolate gelato all the best way as much as 7,200 rpm. The correct pedal is just an unrelenting faucet of energy you may name upon at any time to luxuriously and hurriedly ship you down the street. Maserati sticking to a rear-drive structure makes this automobile much more entertaining, as you may rip a fats burnout at a second’s discover, which is significantly extra enjoyable than the scientific acceleration you get from a lot of the competitors.
After which there’s the Italian soundtrack. It’s ok to make you drive round in Sport or Corsa mode on a regular basis (exhaust valves are open in each), endlessly trying to find tunnels and overpasses to listen to it trumpet FERRARI to the world repeatedly. Not one of the Germans even get shut compared on the subject of the emotive pressure and pure musicality enjoying out the again of this Quattroporte. We preferred listening to it sufficient that our end-of-week gasoline financial system figures had been about the identical as what Hellcats sometimes obtain in our possession —the 12-14 mpg vary.
Sadly for Maserati, our glowing reward for this Quattroporte ends after we transfer past this good powertrain. The chassis and suspension have seen no adjustments with the Trofeo trim, which is a disgrace. Maserati’s press package reads: “Due to the excellence of the chassis used on the model’s two sedans (Quattroporte and Ghibli), no adjustments had been wanted to accommodate the elevated energy of the Trofeo V8 engine.”
We’re going to disagree with Maserati on this one, because the Quattroporte’s journey and dealing with is in a confused state. It’s neither a pointy handler, nor a cosseting cruiser. Maserati makes use of a constantly adaptive damping system it phrases “Skyhook,” and the stiffness is adjustable by way of the “suspension” button close to the drive mode switcher. Whereas the journey does stiffen up within the sportier setting, the dealing with profit is minimal. It’s a celebration of physique roll once you chuck it into a decent nook, and transitions between consecutive corners border on sloppy. Add in a super-slow steering rack that’s devoid of really feel, and this automobile’s lack of a sporting nature is elevated.
This massive sedan merely doesn’t like being pushed left and proper like its Trofeo identify would possibly counsel. It’s no enormous shock, both. That is an awfully massive sedan and Maserati doesn’t have a number of the newer applied sciences that make such massive sedans so achieved by means of corners nowadays. There’s no rear-wheel steering, variable-ratio steering rack or energetic anti-roll bars — all three of these options are serving to the Quattroporte’s competitors deal with higher whereas nonetheless retaining their barge-like dimension.
Many of those complaints could possibly be tempered if the Quattroporte Trofeo floated with S-Class-like consolation down poor roads. However but once more, Maserati disappoints. Any of the Quattroporte’s contemporaries are vastly extra snug — suppose Porsche Panamera, BMW 7 Collection, Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This Trofeo crashes too harshly over freeway frost heaves, and it ensures you realize town road you’re on is a nasty one. It’s not simply the journey, however the noise intrusions, too. We get to listen to the tires smacking over bumps at pace with cracks and smacks aplenty, the likes of which you’d anticipate to listen to in one thing a fraction of this automobile’s value. The mirrors on either side of the automobile created an undue quantity of hissing wind noise that creeped into the cabin above 70 mph, which is not nice contemplating it is a automobile that tops out at 203 mph — possibly the noise goes away over 150, however we’ve got a sense it doesn’t.
It’s all a bit disappointing after falling so onerous for the engine.
Maserati has discovered a fraction of salvation within the Quattroporte’s inside this yr, although. As a member of the Stellantis empire (and, extra precisely, the earlier FCA one), Maserati features entry to the newest Uconnect 5 infotainment software program for the 2021 Quattroporte. The system is fast, simple to make use of and pleasing to the attention – who cares if it is also in a Chrysler Pacifica?
The remainder of this inside is an instance of very good construct high quality and lavish supplies. The entire leather-based is gorgeous and mushy to the contact, and identical to the outside, Maserati doesn’t maintain again on the quantity of carbon fiber it makes use of. As for complaints, there are just a few. A little bit of FCA/Stellantis components bin sharing has the Quattroporte utilizing the window switches, flip sign stalk and headlight controls that you just’d discover in a Dodge Charger or Challenger. It’s advantageous should you don’t know, however these are particulars which are inconceivable to overlook, they usually class down what’s in any other case a moderately elegant inside.
What the Quattroporte Trofeo finally boils right down to is a seminal engine fitted to a below-average automobile. The query for potential consumers then, is that this: How a lot are you keen to look previous to get a Ferrari engine? There’s actually no four-door Ferrari sedan, and even when there was, what are the percentages it will value anyplace near the Trofeo’s $142,890 base value?
There are, nevertheless, many different rivals we’d have earlier than this Trofeo. A Porsche Panamera GTS squarely beats it in each class however sound. The Alpina B7 simply does the identical. And simply give Mercedes-AMG a second to get an S 63 Sedan up and working, as a result of an S 580 already out handles and out does the Quattroporte in each luxurious and tech. It’s a troublesome crowd as you close to the $150,000 value level, and whereas Maserati has an argument for connoisseurs of Italian engines, most can be a lot better served by a four-door sedan not named Quattroporte.