Luxury saloons are more common than you’d think. Take a short drive and make a mental note of how many S-Class and 7-Series models you come across. It sometimes feels like we’re up to our necks in them – have the wealthy really got no imagination?
The appallingly rich don’t seem to get it at all; they may be comfortable in the neutral boardroom-inspired cabins of their large and expensive, yet still incredibly good German saloons, but how many times do they draw level with an almost identical saloon at the lights? They must hate that, bless them.
So what should you buy if you’ve reached the upper echelons of the motor trade? Well, you could go down the well-trodden path to your nearest Mercedes or BMW dealership, or if you wanted to be a bit different you might consider a Lexus or a Jaguar. But if you’re really feeling wacky you need to hunt down a Maserati showroom. Stick with us – it’s not as mad as it seems.
Maserati are a brand clawing its way up the corporate ladder. Offering Ferrari firepower and BMW luxury, the Italian manufacturercertainly offers cars with the right credentials. So why are they about as common on our roads as someone fixing potholes?
Well, there’s no hiding the fact Maseratis are dogged by disappointing residuals (check our the prices of used 3200GTs if you want to know what we’re talking about). But when you’re buying a 100 grand luxury limo you’ve got to take losing a few grand as a given – even the Germans aren’t much better.
At least if you pick a Maserati you know the chances of another pulling up alongside you is slim – finding Bin Laden slim. Make no mistake, if you opt for the traditional German route you’ll end up with an incredible car for your 80 to 100 grand, but so will a lot of other ‘nouveau riche’. The Maserato Quattroporte not only has a seriously cool name, but it’s a little less obvious. It’s not audacious, and it’s a brand that communicates your affluence, but says a little more about your sense of good taste.
The legendary Italian manufacturer has a strong tradition of competition and sportscar building and has fused their technology and sporting pedigree into the opulence of this luxury saloon.
Car Dealer slipped behind the wheel of the brand new 2008 Executive GT; the flagship variant of the luxury four-door five-seater Quattroporte to get a taste of life in the boardroom without having to go face to face with Sir Alan Sugar. Styled by noted Italian automotive designer Pininfarina, the Quattroporte takes design cues from the 70s. There’s a nostalgic nod to the rear quarter of the Quattroporte; the C pillars and boot area are reminiscent of some of the sports saloons of 30 years ago.
The front end and grille are aggressively styled and the combination of all of the athletic curves and muscular lines, combine to make the entire achingly handsome.
At cruising speeds, the big car is unflustered, dignified and sweeps along motorways and A roads with grace. Inside the sumptuous leather cabin, everything’s calm, the famously immoderate way that Maserati furnishes its cars is obvious wherever you look and the driver’s seat is a very pleasant place indeed.
Engine noise is on another level – it is just fantastic. The big Ferrari-sourced V8 produces a deliciously thunderous growl when you goad it. It’s worth just sitting and gunning it, listening to the big twin exhausts barking in symphony with the roar of the tuned motor. On the over-run there’s a lovely series of muffled cracks.
And the performance figures read like those of an expensive coupe; the 4,244cc V8 multi-valve engine will propel almost two tonnes of Italian luxury from rest to 60mph in 5.6 seconds, beating several of its direct rivals. Keep you right foot down and the Quattroporte will reach a maximum speed of 167mph.
The Maserati is astonishingly quick from standstill and through the automatic gears, especially in the tighter-geared and more throttle-sensitive sport mode, roaring to the national speed limit with incredible urgency. There is a huge amount of lateral grip too; you can throw it into almost any corner at speed and be fairly confident that it will deal with it.
The real key to the Quattroprote’s success, though, is all down to its delivery. It’s not German in its efficiency and that’s the point – it’s inspiring and involving to drive and has a badge that trumps even the finest in the corporate car park. Just don’t go buying one thinking of it as an investment…
Engine: 4.2-litre, V8
Power: 400bhp, 460Nm
Ins: Group 20