Ever since I was a young boy the Italian supercar brands have excited me - Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo and of course, Maserati. Previously, the only Italian car I have driven was a 2003 Fiat Punto bought new as my daughter’s first car.
Sarah, aged 17 adored the car, inexplicably christening it “Patrick”. I would, at the very least, have expected it to be called Paulo! So when BQ magazine approached and asked if I would do a review on the new Maserati Quattroporte, driving it for the bank holiday weekend, you can imagine my excitement.
With eager anticipation I decide to leave the office early on the “QT”. Collecting the car from JCT 600’s impressive showroom is an experience. They understand what their discerning customers expect in terms of service and do not disappoint. I am introduced to Stuart in his office which is like a small boardroom, the illuminated shelving displaying the various exterior and interior options available for your Maserati. What I think are Maserati fragrances are actually car care products!
The QP (as the Quattroporte is known) attracts drivers from many marks but generally it is those that Jeremy Clarkson might refer to as “petrol heads”, who will pay homage to this Italian thoroughbred.
The car starts with a large button hidden behind the steering wheel. The V6 engine bursts into life with a sound that perhaps only Maserati and Ferrari can produce. Stuart explains that, unlike some other competitors’ cars, there is no trickery on the Maserati to make the exhaust sound better than it really is.
Driving away I admire the two large blue dials in the dashboard, Maserati tridents clearly marked on them. A small computer screen is neatly inserted between the two dials. All too quickly I realise my speed is well above the national limit and turn this screen to speedometer to keep me in check!
The large central infotainment screen is intuitive to use and includes music, climate, satellite navigation, and of course hands free phone system. The test for me is how easy it is to pair my phone. This Maserati is probably the easiest I have experienced. The voice recognition system for the telephone is clear and efficient; one instruction gets you to the caller of your choice (unlike my Land Rover which goes through a series of questions before it will make the phone call).
I am loving driving this car! Pressing sport mode opens valves on the exhaust and the resulting note, even at 50mph, is music to my ears. I decide to leave the car in sport mode even sat at traffic lights, enjoying the cacophony of sound. The ZF eight speed gearbox blips as it changes down. The car is definitely a head turner, and not just because of the noise, but also for the recognisable Maserati styling and also for its size.
Make no mistake, this is a large car - 126mm longer than a Mercedes S class and marginally longer than a Jaguar XJ long wheelbase. The length between the wheels is also the longest of the three, noticeable when sitting in the back. The size makes the car look awkward from some angles, majestic from others. Front and three quarter view fabulous, but I can’t settle on the rear styling which looks more Mazda than Maserati. I think back to the fabulous rear light clusters on the old 3200 GT and wish Maserati had been a bit braver with this model.
Perhaps my biggest surprise is how easy it is to drive this car every day, making it a genuine contender to the Teutonic S Class and the sleek XJ. The Maserati sportier, more tuneful and of course more exclusive, with very few on UK roads. It is with some resignation that I hand the keys back, but at least I have had the opportunity to enjoy this Italian super-saloon for a weekend....on the QT.
The car Mike drove was a Maserati Quattroporte S, 3.0 litre twin turbo petrol V6, 410BHP. Prices start from £82,750. Supplied by JCT600 Brooklands Ring Road, Lower Wortley, Leeds LS12 6AA. 0113 2926388. www.jct600.co.uk