By on August 14, 2006

qpexecutivegtesterni.jpg Backseat branding is easy. Porsche? Sports cars. Ford? Sedans. Hummer? Assault rifles. Maserati? Who knows? The company likes to promote a philosophical connection to its distinguished racing heritage. But Maserati's competitive heyday ended on May the twelfth 1957, when the Marquis de Portago’s Ferrari somersaulted into the crowd at Guidizillo, triggering a vicious pan-European anti-motor sports backlash. Since then, Maserati has concentrated on making unreliable sports cars and sporting sedans. These days, the resurgent automaker builds Jaguars.

Someone should. Decades of over-breeding, in-breeding and cross-breeding have destroyed the British brand’s cachet. The dissolution of Jaguar’s identity has killed US sales, leaving an open space at the top of the luxury market for a prohibitively expensive, drop-dead gorgeous sedan with enough pace and grace to kick your cams all over the place. The Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT will rock you.

Ya think? While the Quattroporte displays all of the visual restraint BMW Designer Chris Bangle’s Bimmers have abandoned, the Maser’s sensuous sheetmetal serves-up a dazzling display of grandiloquent, Italianate style. In other words, the Quattroporte is an Italian babe in an Armani dress. If you prefer your motoring metaphors to swing the other way, the QP’s front end is the most alluring phallic symbol since Jaguar’s E-Type first set tongues wagging (so to speak). No blobular or Dame Edna headlights capping a featureless expanse of hood— just a pair of modest glass apertures sunk into perfectly-formed fender creases. Deliciouso!

quattroporte_exe_gt_16.jpg That said, the portholes are a corny bit of showboating and the rear lights are insipid enough to inspire a “Bring Back the Boomerang Taillights” web site. But the way the QP’s rear flanks kink upwards to meet the scrumptious C-pillar makes up for, well, just about anything. As so it must; the QP’s athletic shape severely truncates trunk space. Uh-oh. Buyers at this price point ($115k) are less likely to pack light than The Metropolitan Opera’s traveling company, and the nose-heavy sedan gets indigestion just looking at a set of Louis Vuitton luggage.

Still, if you’re traveling ‘cross town to watch the fat lady sing, the QP Executive GT is the ultimate glass pumpkin. The Maserati’s cabin is so luxurious in scope, detail, materials and construction my eight-year-old step-daughter asked “Is this an old-fashioned car?” Indeed it is. Maserati’s craftsmen combine four lustrous hard woods, ten fragrant leathers and several satiny metals to create a shrine to old school luxury motoring. From the superbly tailored leather chairs (front and rear) to the sleek color-contrasting Alcantara headliner, the QP sees Audi’s minimalism and raises it an elegance.

interior1.jpgOf course, there are cars of equal sumptuousness depreciating in climate controlled garages. The QP’s trump card: technological integration. Whereas the Continental GT is lousy with confusing, distasteful and undersized buttons (inherited from the VW Phaeton), the Quattroporte’s buttonology is a masterpiece of ergonomic simplicity. Four buttons flank the central screen, which sits above the radio controls, which lives just north of the climate controls. Even better, every button operates a single function. It’s not a perfect solution– the “enter” button for the radio and sat nav is isolated from the display screen– but you won’t find a less intellectually demanding luxury car at any price.

Yes, well, operating the Quattroporte’s paddle shift transmission is a bit of a bother. Even in sport mode (the smoothest option) the F1-style cog swapper fails to deliver crisp, clean changes. And that’s a shame. With near-as-dammit 400hp underfoot and all-areas access to plenty o’ torque, the QP’s V8 does the wafting and blasting luxury car thing con multo brio. The Quattroporte’s DuoSelect gearbox isn’t as annoying as the new M5’s SMG unit (nothing is). But paddle shifting is a needless affectation in a car whose luxury car bias is as obvious as the trident sitting in the middle of the analogue clock in the middle of the dash. [NB: An autobox is on the way.]

040120m.jpg Maserati would like us to view the Quattroporte as a four door Italian sports car that just happens to tip the scales at 4250 lbs. While that’s “only” 111 lbs. heavier than a S550, the Merc’s blessed with Airmatic suspension. Maserati’s electronically controlled Skyhook system is about as appealing as the Australian glam rock band of the same name. Carve a corner on a smooth surface and the QP Exec GT will run with the big dogs: body lean in check, 19” tires death gripping the blacktop. Throw in a bump or three and it’s a pavement surfin’ safari. Even in a straight line in comfort mode, the QP’s ride is over-firm and crashy just like… the Jaguar XJ.

It’s true: the Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT is the best Jaguar Jaguar never built.  The concept may not embody Maserati’s branding philosophy, but to paraphrase John Lennon, sales are what happen when you’re making other plans.

[Maserati provided the vehicle reviewed, taxes, insurance and a tank of gas.] 

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42 Comments on “Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT Review...”


  • avatar
    imageWIS

    If I was in the market for one (and I’m not) I would get the Sport GT, its gearbox works the way it should…whereas the Executive GT’s doesn’t. Sure, the Executive GT looks better with its chrome grill (vs. the Sport GT’s blacked-out grill which IMHO gives the car a ‘cheaper’ look to it), but everything else is basically the same between the two beasts.

    Jon.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    The interior of the Sport is littered with tacky carbon fiber.

    The Executive’s is even better than Farago described.

  • avatar
    imageWIS

    That too.

    But personally I think the carbon fiber matches the ‘Sport’ designation better than the black-chrome grill. The RS4 has a chrome grill, even if the interior has carbon fiber. What they should just do is pair up the transmission on the Sport GT with every QP.

    Jon.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Looks like a Buick.

  • avatar

    But better.

  • avatar
    Infamous Dr. X

    The president of my company got himself one of these recently and I got to ride shotgun with him on the highway after a meeting to cocktail party.

    I watched him work the paddles and thought that there was an abnormal lag time from click to shift, which (had I been fortunate enough to be offered a chance to drive) would drive me bonkers.

    Other than that one minor issue, I thought the Quattroporte was by far the most opulent vehicle on the planet and that I would likely trade a body part to have one. The roar of the engine at 120 mixed with the sheer decadence of the interior mated to the exquisite ride…unbelievable. I sure wish I had $115K hanging around that I didn’t need…

    This is one car that definitely belonged in the “sexy cars” thread from a few weeks ago. The car certainly turned heads all over greater Nashville, most of them attached to young, attractive ladies…

  • avatar
    ktm

    I thought it looked like a Buick from the top shot, but the profile shot at the bottom of the editorial does it infinitely more justice. It is a rolling sculpture.

  • avatar
    GasGuzzler

    The only part of the QP that evokes Buick for me is the side vents. And for me, it’s actually the other way around; the new Buick Lucerne looks like a QP due to the side vents. That being said, I know that side vents in fact originated on old Buicks, and the Lucerne is attempting to draw on its heritage. But I’m young enough that I didn’t grow up with the old Buick’s from which the current Buick sidevents originated, so for me, the Lucerne actually looks like a poor-man’s QP (which I think is a huge compliment to Buick).

  • avatar
    dean

    That is one beautiful car. I agree with ktm that it looks a little Buick in the top picture.

    I wish more automakers would get with the ultra-short overhang program. Damn it looks good. Of course, the luggage space issue…

    If I was looking to drop that kinda coin on a sedan, this car would be at the top of the must-see list.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    For 4X the money, it ought to be better. The real question is why can’t Buick find a rear drive chassis on which to build a knock-off.

  • avatar
    dean

    Oh, and RF…

    Is a Masertai kinda like a MaiTai? How do you mix that?

    And is Maserati more than one automaker? Because you’ve got more than one automaker building Jaguars in your opening paragraph.

    ;)

  • avatar

    Sorted. Thanks.

  • avatar
    BarryO

    Maybe you should rename the site The Truth About Expensive Cars You’ll Never Buy With a Few Death Watches Thrown In.

    What are you doing????

  • avatar

    Oh c’mon. TTAC reviews everything we can get our hands on, and there are plenty of readers who can enjoy reading about top end gear.

    Please don’t make this into some kind of class war discussion. We’re all better off for having machines like this in our world.

    Tomorrow… the Chevrolet Uplander.

  • avatar
    BarryO

    You’re right that our world is better off with these machines. We’re also better off with TTAC in it.

    It’s just that the last few reviews were consistently pretty high end or exotic, and it wasn’t always thus with TTAC. I was worried that you’re going in a high end direction that a lot of us can’t follow you into. It’s not a class war thing at all; I wish I had the means to play with some of these machines myself, and I do sometimes enjoy reading about them. But since I can only dream…

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Timeout — The last five reviews I’ve done have been:

    Ford Mustang GT Convertible
    Mercury Mariner Hybrid
    Ford Freestyle
    Ford Sport Trac
    Ford Focus

    What are you people driving, ox carts?

    Anyhow, I spent some time with A QP Sport with the faster shifting transmission. The paddles work fine and shift quick but it is the auto-mode that kills the deal.

    With a proper automatic, the Quattroporte will be the finest sedan in the world, period.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Tomorrow… the Chevrolet Uplander.

    Who drew that short straw?

  • avatar

    I drive an Ox-Cart… What of it?

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    Gee, I got grief for reviewing the Nissan Versa, since car folks shouldn’t be interested in rides like these. I think it is good to have a balance between cars we really might buy and those that we onlywould buy if we won the lottery.

    The Maserati is an Italian supermodel, best appreciated from afar. I have ridden in one with less than 10,000 miles on the odo and it rattled like a calypso band, not only because it wasn’t well assembled, but also because the transmission made everything, my teeth included, rattle.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    A low slung sedan with 19″ wheels from the factory? No wonder it rides like crap!

  • avatar
    BarryO

    Jonny,

    Your reviews notwithstanding, the last 5 on the site were –

    Maserati
    Porsche
    Mercedes
    Your Mustang review
    Aston Martin

    And, my ox cart is currently in the shop. Way to go, hit a guy when he’s down…

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Barry.

    I’m getting a Mazda in two days.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I’ve got two (comparatively dull) Toyota reviews in the works. Feel better, Barry? :)

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    Haaahaaa… I’m in a Hyundai Accent Hatchback this week!
    Caliber R/T next week.
    Oooooo – the luxury!!!

    Um, as for the Maserati’s “phallic” front end … to me it’s very alluuuuuring… as in Buick Allure.
    Or Lacrosse as you guys know it.

  • avatar

    Wow, 25 comments and not one allusion to Entourage.

    Don’t any of you pistonheads have HBO? Not even a surreptitious turtle, drama, or “bigger the [body part], the bigger the star” reference?

    For shame, for shame.

  • avatar
    imageWIS

    Some of us aren’t in the business of following movie stars to see if they want to show up with us to a house party, then having the movie star give us their QP for the end of the lease term. ;-)

    Jon.

  • avatar
    imageWIS

    Adding a real automatic transmission is a very good idea, but an even better idea would be to either: use a DSG gearbox or at least have the option to buy one with a proper manual transmission.

    Jon.

  • avatar
    NoneMoreBlack

    At my job a couple weeks ago (at a posh downtown hotel) there was some kind of charity auction where $7,000+ bought you the right to use a rotating fleet of QP’s as personal taxis all night, and so there were about 4-5 different ones coming and going for hours, allowing us to get in a really thorough ogling.

    I was struck by how well they embodied understated-but beautiful. If I looked in the security cameras, I could swear there were a bunch of Buicks or something similarly pedestrian parked on the plaza, but when I walked outside to get a look they knocked me on my ass. I think they are somehow the ultimate sleeper; at first its just another hunk of Detroit iron or Bavarian mishap, but on double take its a masterpiece, with 400hp to boot.

    And there’s nothing wrong with ox carts. 4 Octane is cheap nowadays!

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    About the looks of this sucker, two-dimensional images do not do the Qp justice.

    I remember the first time I saw on in the flesh I nearly drove off the road.

    It was all black and just stunning. You need to see it in reality.

  • avatar
    yalej

    Can we get a review of an Infiniti M35? :)

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Yalej,

    Sure.

    M35: Not as good as the M45.

    How’s that?

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    Sure it’s prettier.. but tell me it doesn’t bear at least a passing resemblance to this puppy…

    http://www.dodgetrucks.org/home/lesley/allure.jpg

  • avatar
    jackson_jackson

    The Maserati Quattroporte is for people who value style, exclusivity and performance as priorities (very Italian don’t you think?). The first two characteristics it provides in spades. The third, no…and unfortunately there is no corresponding positive compensation in ride quality in return for sacrificing of handling dynamics….which brings back the branding question….what is a Maserati?

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    I gotta give props to Maserati for not trying to copy the Germans with dull styling and electronic trickery.

    One more thing… GM needs to look at the Quattroporte for inspiration of what a 4 door sedan CAN look like.

  • avatar

    I’ve been in Truckee, CA for the past week taking in the mountains and Lake Tahoe. I’ve been throwing my girlfriend’s Civic coupe through the twistys and keep nearly stuffing it when I swing by some $100k+ machine doing the same. Yesterday an F430 and a QP at Squaw Valley, and a few days ago a Carrera GT nonchalantly parked in downtown Truckee. This place in the summertime is a pistonhead’s dream.

  • avatar
    BarryO

    Jonny in a Mazda.

    Sajeev in two – count ‘em, two – Toyotas.

    Lesley in a Hyundai and a Caliber.

    Back to reality street. And yes, I am feeling better now.

    Love to all -

  • avatar
    liquidflorian

    That car looks like a buick about as much as Jack Black looks like Brad Pitt; they’re both bi-pedal huminoids of male gender. That is where the similarities end. Harley-Earl-esq port holes, do not a Buick make…..

    I had thought they sorted out the gearbox. Tiff Nedell drove an “improved” one on Fifth gear and almost creamed his shorts.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    On a track, the gear box is great.

    But around town — i.e. 99% of the time — it is a dog.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    I’ve got to the bottom and can’t stop laughing @ Lieberman’s comment to Yalej!

    The original XJ was the world’s most beautiful car (well, saloon). The QP has supplanted it. I saw one in a sienna color and it looked for all the world like the new century’s version of my mom’s ’76 XJ6. Stunning and w/o the manual choke.

  • avatar
    liquidflorian

    I youtube’d the Fifth gear review….. Maybe RF got an oldie?

  • avatar
    chanman

    I just saw one over the weekend and a golf & country club. That is some pants-wettingly hot sheetmetal


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