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Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo 2023 Review | First Drive

Would you pick this over a BMW M8 Gran Coupe..?
22nd June 2023
Simon Ostler

Overview

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The future of Maserati is gradually becoming clearer as it begins to make the transition into an electric car brand with the introduction of its first Folgore models. For now, at least, there is still room in the model range for some good old fashioned V8 brawn.

Room for cars like this, the Maserati Quattroporte, still available in Trofeo form with a big, booming twin-turbocharged V8. But as this car inevitably meanders towards the end of its life, is there still method to the madness?

Does this Quattroporte with its outdated setup offer something you can’t get anywhere else? When it costs the best part of £150,000, and you have alternatives like the M8 Gran Coupe or the Mercedes-AMG S63 with their own era-defying V8s, it’s going to need to.

We like

  • High quality and attractive interior
  • Distinct styling
  • Comfortable, luxurious ride

We don't like

  • Simplistic infotainment
  • Engine noise is heavily insulated
  • Very expensive

Design

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Maserati has long ploughed its own furrow when it comes to styling, and the Quattroporte is a stunning mix of flair and style. It manages to stand proud of its contemporaries without being too outlandish. The low dropping bonnet belies the enormous V8 positioned underneath, while the rest of the exterior flows smoothly from front to rear – there are very few straight edges to be found.

There’s quite a contrast in design philosophies at each end, however. The front is sleek, yet aggressive. Everything angles towards the Maserati badge placed in the centre of the grille, and three side inlets lined in red indicate this is the Trofeo model. The back meanwhile is somewhat less interesting, exuding a more standard and boxy saloon car look.

Performance and Handling

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There’s only one place to start: that engine. The Trofeo model features a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 producing 580PS (427kW) and 720Nm (538lb ft) of torque. The overall performance is actually not hugely shocking. A sprint from 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 203mph. All told the Quattroporte is substantially slower than the M8 Gran Coupe, which will do 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds, but there’s plenty of performance here to make do with. Peak torque is readily available at just 2,250rpm so picking up speed in practically any gear is no hassle.

You get the sense, though, that this is a car that you’d rather not bother driving fast. The sound of that engine, which is guttural and raw, barely manages to penetrate into the insulated cabin, so any temptation to hit the loud pedal is quickly lost as you instead fall into a realm of comfort and luxury that overshadows virtually all else in the Quattroporte. The overwhelming feeling while driving is that you simply want to enjoy the journey.

Tipping the scales at more than two tonnes, this is far from a spitely machine, but it's been well engineered to mask any sense of lumbering weight. The ride is pillow soft, but with that comes a cumbersome feel that wallows and sinks into undulations, taking an extra second to settle over particularly harsh bumps. It’s worth playing with the drive settings here, because ‘Normal’ mode does just feel a little too compliant. Switching to ‘Sport’ offers a better balance of ride and engagement, the suspension firms up and the steering sharpens, making the car feel less slovenly without hindering comfort levels.

Interior

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Much of that comfort is afforded by a truly impressive interior. Much like the engine, there are some more Jurassic elements to it, such as the extensive use of leather – it’s funny how quickly we’ve got used to a broadening application of more sustainable materials. If you’re able to look beyond that though, it’s a brilliant showcase of style and substance.

It’s packed with detail, with a woven leather design on the seats and the dashboard, a clock face positioned centrally above the 8.4-inch touchscreen, and a carbon-fibre finish to the centre console. You won’t find anything cheap in here, everything you touch has a quality feel to it.

This being a larger saloon leaning very much towards the luxury end of the market, you would expect there to be a great deal of space for passengers, and there is. Head and leg room is plentiful wherever you sit, and the tri-zone climate control ensures comfort throughout. Boot space is good with 530 litres, but it’s a shallow space that may not be the most useful if you’re shifting larger bags.

Technology and Features

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The Maserati Quattroporte is only available with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s smooth and feels well optimised with variable ratios that you can select yourself, or allow the car to do so for you according to upcoming road conditions.

In terms of infotainment, the software onboard is alarmingly basic. The touchscreen is responsive and clear, but functionality is limited to simple settings adjustments and sat-nav. It’s interesting because on the one hand you expect more at this price point, but the lack of complexity and necessity to spend hours delving into endless menus is refreshing.

There is of course a long list of tech that is featured in the Quattroporte, including a host of driver assistance kit, adaptive cruise control and a rear-view camera.

Verdict

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As cars go, the Maserati Quattroporte is a confusing proposition. Purely based on how it is to drive, this is every bit as good as alternatives from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. The difference here is there is very little to justify what is an astronomical price tag. The list of features is relatively short, and Maserati instead relies on striking design mixed with astounding quality to try and get the Quattroporte over in your mind.

Does it succeed? It’s difficult to say. The interior is phenomenal, and having a big grumbly V8 under the bonnet should be satisfying, but the fact you can’t really hear it takes away from the draw. You can only conclude that it simply isn’t necessary, at which point you wonder whether the car itself, especially in Trofeo form, is the right one to park up on your driveway.

What comes next for the Maserati's big luxury saloon is an interesting question. As the brand heads towards electrification we can expect to see an electric version of the Quattroporte arrive before too long. Perhaps that will be the adjustment it needs to become a more well-rounded option.

Specifications

Engine 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8
Power 580PS (427kW) @ 6,800rpm
Torque 730Nm (538lb ft) @ 2,250–5,250rpm
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
Kerb weight 2,075kg
0-62mph 4.5 seconds
Top speed 203mph
Fuel economy 27mpg
CO2 emissions 276-282g/km
Price From £142,745