First Tests Uncategorized

2016 Maserati Quattroporte S RWD First Test Review

It’s Special and Quick, But …

It’s Special and Quick, But …

It sounds ridiculous. Heated armrests? An ambient interior fragrance system? No one needs this stuff. Maserati drivers can shake their heads at features offered by the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class because the Quattroporte is a Maserati first and a full-size luxury sedan second. It’s emotionally captivating; coddling features aren’t the primary focus. From the Quattroporte’s exterior styling to the sounds emitted from the four exhaust outlets of our rear-drive, 404-hp tester, this isn’t your average executive sedan. Compared to the S-Class—the Camry of executive sedans in terms of popularity—the Quattroporte is way more exclusive, and many will feel the front grille’s enormous trident carries just as much cachet as a three-pointed star. When you pay more than $100,000 for a car, though, expectations start to change. So how did the 2016 Quattroporte S fare in Motor Trend’s instrumented testing?

The six-cylinder Quattroporte S out-accelerates the eight-cylinder Mercedes-Benz S550. That German luxury sedan is heavier and offers far more features than the Maserati; our Maserati tester’s curb weight was 4,568 pounds (2,072 kg), or at least 200 pounds (91 kg) lighter than rear- and all-wheel-drive S550 sedans we’ve tested. Before the 2016 model year, the U.S.-spec Quattroporte’s 404-hp, 406-lb-ft, twin-turbo V-6 was only offered with all-wheel drive, but Maserati expects 40-45 percent of buyers to choose the S model’s new RWD option. Our tester hit 60 in 4.4 seconds, one-tenth behind a 2016 BMW 750i xDrive and three-tenths quicker than the S550s. Not once did we wish for more power, though Maserati offers a GTS model with a 523-hp, twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 for the roughly 15 percent of buyers who insist on joining the 500-hp club.

But you don’t need that much power to have fun in a Quattroporte.

“[The car] has more than enough oomph to roast the rear tires with traction control off,” road test editor Chris Walton says.

And for all seven of you full-size luxury sedan drivers who drive at the absolute limit (or want to know how your car would react at 10/10ths), the Quattroporte offers distinctly un-S-Class behavior despite its 207.2-inch length. “There’s lots of front push, and there’s the expected roll and pitch motions,” testing director Kim Reynolds says about the Quattroporte S’ behavior with safety aids turned off on the track. “But once you’re on the throttle, the tail is crazy driftable. At times it’s banana-peel driftable, almost too much, so you need quick, quick, quick hands to collect it, but once you get used to it, it’s a real pleasure to come baking out of a corner at an angle.”

Although the Quattroporte’s responsive throttle, communicative steering, and track-tested numbers are great, it’s the engine note that will make owners of Maserati intenders. After a few days with the car, you might find yourself putting it in Sport and accidentally stabbing the throttle in empty parking structures just to listen to the engine sing. Be sure to ask yourself, however, if you think you might get tired of that. In daily driving, the Quattroporte is quieter than the average car, but the engine never gets Lexus or Mercedes quiet, even in the helpful efficiency-minded Increased Control and Efficiency mode.

The Quattroporte's power-operated trunk features a helpful lock-and-close button, and we're also fans of the rear seat's USB charger.

The sonorous engine note can help distract Chrysler 300-owning drivers and passengers who will recognize the instrument cluster’s central display screen or the 8.4-inch touchscreen center-stack display. In a $30,000-$60,000 USD car, they work, but when your car’s base price tops $100,000 USD, you wonder why a fully digital instrument cluster or an even larger center-stack screen mounted higher on the dash isn’t available. We’re also not fans of the silver trim surrounding the volume and tuning knobs, or the hard plastic on the lower sides of the center console, just below where some knees will rub. Even so, we appreciate the luxurious wood trim, ambient lighting (which is not as customizable as in the S-Class), and the Quattroporte badge on the passenger side’s wood trim. Enormous steering-column-mounted paddle shifters make sense on a sporty luxury sedan like this, but we’d rip them out in a second if that allowed for the turn signal stalk to move closer—it’s something we noticed in the Ghibli, too.

Before we talk about all the features a $100,000 USD car should offer that aren’t available on the Maserati, let’s take a look at how the 2016 Quattroporte S performs in the Motor Trend figure-eight test. With a time of 25.2 seconds at 0.76 g (average), the Maserati compares well to a rear-drive S550 sedan (26.5 seconds at an average of 0.70 g) and to an all-wheel-drive 2016 750i (25.4 seconds at an average of 0.75 g). Braking is also better, with the Maserati stopping in 103 feet from 60 to 0 mph to the BMW‘s 113 feet and the Mercedes’ 119 feet. On the road, the brakes are aggressive in a good way, though Walton found the pedal travel was long in 60-0 track testing but “strong and fade-free” after four or five stops.

Although the Quattroporte S’ engine note received very positive marks, the eight-speed automatic’s operation pulled the car right back down. The detents in the gear selector, which one editor called “clunky,” aren’t clearly defined, and when you’re in a hurry, it’s not difficult to find yourself accidentally selecting park instead of reverse and then overcorrecting to neutral. The new engine stop-start system works well, allowing you to listen to music in relative silence at long stoplights before the engine turns on as you lift the brakes in a mostly seamless way.

The 2016 Quattroporte S' as-tested 4.4-second 0-60 time compares well to a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT we clocked at 5.4 seconds. That less efficient car was powered by a 400-hp, 4.2-liter V-8.

The Maserati’s available options might limit its transaction prices. On the 2016 Quattroporte S, you won’t find a full suite of active safety tech (as compared to passive safety that can’t apply the brakes or tug at the steering wheel), massaging seats, a head-up display, or a panoramic roof. Some of these luxuries are easy to dismiss until you’ve actually experienced them yourself, and then you get it—like the S-Class’ available heated armrests.

All is not lost, though, thanks partly to the upcoming Maserati Levante. With the launch of that SUV, the 2017 Quattroporte will also offer an adaptive cruise control package with a lane departure warning system and ACC that comes to a complete stop (but most likely, we hear, not forward collision braking). A multicamera parking system is on the way, and we hope a higher-quality rear camera is on the list, too.

Ultimately, Maserati buyers aren’t likely to seriously cross-shop a Porsche Panamera S, Audi RS 7, Jaguar XJ 5.0, or the segment-leading Mercedes-Benz S550. Quattroporte buyers will get a Quattroporte, but Maserati could take a couple steps to elevate the enjoyment of owners who daily drive their Italian luxury sedans.

2016 Maserati Quattroporte S
BASE PRICE $101,700
PRICE AS TESTED $114,351
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 3.0L/404-hp/406-lb-ft supercharged DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,568 lb (51/49%)
WHEELBASE 124.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 207.2 x 76.7 x 58.3 in
0-60 MPH 4.4 sec
QUARTER MILE 13.0 sec @ 107.7 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 103 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.89 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.2 sec @ 0.76 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 16/23/18 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 211/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.05 lb/mile