This year would bring a lot of relief to Maserati enthusiasts, especially Stateside, as their pleas were finally heard. The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte would be available with a “normal” automatic transmission. Ever since the fifth edition of the Trident four-door had come out, five years ago, the luxury sedan had only been offered with one choice of gearbox. And, unless you were a serious F1 / Ferrari driving geek, you might have found this automated manual transmission a little difficult to adjust to. But now Maserati were offering a choice of either gearbox which removed the final obstacle to making this a truly great car.
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Onto Bigger Things
The creation of the Quattroporte V would be a culmination of events that had begun in 1993 when the Italian auto giant, FIAT, bought the Modena carmaker from De Tomaso, another Italian car brand. This rival sports car manufacturer had saved Maserati from liquidation, in 1975, however their plans for the Modena car plant had been ill conceived and poorly executed throughout. With FIAT’s backing, Maserati were on a stronger footing and, in 1997, 50% of the company was “sold” to FIAT’s stablemate, Ferrari.
Their business plans for the Trident were very different. While De Tomaso wanted to turn Maserati into affordable family sedans for Italian men, Ferrari were eyeing them to be their luxury arm. With big financial clout and a plethora of Ferrari hardware and technology at their disposal, Maserati were poised again to make automobiles that mattered.
Their first real partnership, to this end, was the Maserati Coupe and Maserati Spyder that came out in 2002. The combination of Trident styling over the chassis and powertrain of a Prancing Horse ensured great success and enhanced reputation that saw the car brand being sold, once again, in North America, after an 11-year absence.
Return of an Icon
It was from here that they turned their attention to one of their iconic models – the Quattroporte. Utilizing the same 4.2-liter V8 Ferrari engine, this would be the foundation from what would be built around it. The sensual curves of the bodywork would also mark an auspicious occasion as this was the first Maserati to be designed by Pininfarina for 50 years.
The long overdue wait for the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte was due to an ultimatum issued by Enzo Ferrari, as he told the famous design house that they could only design cars for one of them. Now that the Trident was under the wing of Ferrari allowed for a bend in the rules.
What was unveiled as a result of all of this work was instantly regarded as a classic Maserati. With an alluring shape, high performance and handling matched only by its elegant and sumptuous interior, put this luxury sedan to the forefront of a very competitive field.
In 2005, Maserati had augmented the model with two further trims – Executive GT & Sport GT – along with the Base edition. Now, this fleet was doubled as all three varieties came with a choice of two transmissions.
As with previous models, the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte would be fitted with the same 4.2 Liter V8 Ferrari engine. While this would provide all models with 400 hp at 7,000 rpm, the difference in transmissions meant varying torque and acceleration numbers. The original ‘DuoSelect’ six-speed automated manual gearbox would achieve 333 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm though the new six-speed automatic improved this to 340 lb-ft at only 4,250 rpm.
But the manual would give a better speed and acceleration, as it managed to hit 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and hit a top speed of 171 mph. The new automatic gearbox could only do the 0-60 mph dash in 5.6 seconds and make 168 mph.
The engine note was scintillating as, even at low revs, the V8 roared from under the hood and out the back of the quad tailpipes. Fuel economy for this big luxury sedan was gauged at 13 mpg in city driving and 18 mpg on the highway.
Much to everyone’s relief, the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte now had a six-speed automatic transmission by the German specialists, ZF. This would be, by no means, an easy alteration. While the DuoSelect was installed over the rear axle, the new ZF automatic gearbox was shifted to the front beside the V8 engine.
This would create differences in the weight distribution with the new model having a 49/51 ratio as opposed to the original’s 47/53. Though this was still keeping the weight bias to the rear of the car, reviewers found that there was a slight chance of oversteer when attacking corners.
The new automatic gearbox would give much smoother shift changes than the automated. Both upshifts and downshifts were quicker and matched with correct rev counts that will give any driver confidence in the transmission.
Another key difference between models was the fact that the automatic provided an orthodox gear stick and this could be used by sliding the stalk across and flipping the stick up or down to activate shift changes at the driver’s discretion. The same response could be achieved from the shift paddles fitted just behind the steering wheel.
This provided much quicker gear changes and also higher rev counts as the automobile is pushed ever more assertively. This would be linked with the adaptive suspension and would become firmer to counterbalance the body roll and lateral movement of the car.
The reviews for the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte were all equally exuberant on the large luxury sedan handling and driving ability. behaving like a car half its size, it could attack cornering with gusto as the steering was quick and responsive. Gripping the road tightly, the QP5 could attack tight bends and turns and be able to explode out of them with speed.
As well as the excellent balance of the car, the Maserati also had several driver aids installed to assist in the quality of the handling. Both stability and traction control were available as well as anti-lock brakes, which ensured that the driver’s experience did not get out of hand if the “excitement” became too much.
The interior would be a symphony of elegance with fine leather and other quality surface finishes covering all aspects of the cabin. The front and rear seats were extremely well padded and had a variety of positions and controls fitted to them for added comfort. These would be covered in the finest hides from Poltrona Frau, who only provided their best leather to Ferrari and Maserati.
The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte offered a choice of ten different hues for the leather and this also included the skins that covered the dash, central consul and door panels. To offset the buyer’s choice, there were no less than 13 different colored thread that would be used for the piping and the hand stitching. To round off the interior look, the hard surfaces could be fitted in titanium or three different wood finishes – Mahogany, Rosewood or Briarwood.
The outside was just as spoilt for choice with 15 different paints available for the bodywork. As one Italian motoring expert once said, “it’s not just a car, it’s art.”
The Infotainment system, provided by Bosch & Blaupunkt, would be quite disappointing. Accessed through a small touchscreen, reviewers found it very slow in reacting and poorly detailed. The audio system from Bose included a six-disc CD changer that was below what you would expect in a luxury sedan of this ilk.
While the Base model was still very well fitted out with spec and luxurious trim, the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte would be offered in two alternate editions – Executive GT & Sport GT. While the former increased the luxury quotient of the automobile, the Sport did what it said on the tin and pumped up the performance.
The Executive model provided a wood-rimmed steering wheel, Alcantara roof lining, ventilated/adaptive/massaging rear seats, rear air-con controls, veneered retractable rear tables and rear shades over the window. The exterior was fitted with 19 inch eight-spoke alloy wheels and chrome-mesh front and side grilles.
The Sport edition offered reconfigured transmission for faster shift changes (35% quicker than before) and a firmer suspension, seven-spoke 20-inch wheels with low-profile tires that were 8.5 inches in the front and larger 12 inches in the back, improved brakes, dark-mesh for the front and side grilles and a red accented Maserati badge as a homage to their vintage racing models. Inside the cabin were aluminum pedals, sports steering wheel and the hard surfaces replaced with carbon fiber.
The last bone of contention, owners had experienced, was the haphazard reliability of the car. Previous years had seen some horror stories of the amount and cost of malfunctions and repairs. But the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte was not hampered with these criticisms and had rectified these problems within their quality control.
With everything now in place, it meant that this fine Italian luxury sedan was the best of the best.