In just a few short years, Maserati had grown from being a bespoke factory, in Modena, producing a mere handful of handmade automobiles to becoming a major player in the luxury sports car automotive market. Since 2002, when Maserati first brought out their first fully fledged Maserati/Ferrari designed model, the Maserati Coupe & Spyder, the ‘Maestros of Modena’ had sold over 49,000 units. Almost one third of these were their four-door luxury sedan, Quattroporte, with over 15,000 rolling out of dealerships around the world.
By 2009, Maserati were dominating the luxury sedan market with over a third of the sales coming from Maserati. But now the major rivals were striving to fight back. Mercedes were offering even more varieties that ranged from their hybrid to the extreme AMG variants, Porsche had entered the game with their impressive Panamera while Jaguar had the equally impressive XJ.
By comparison, the specs for the Quattroporte V were being outperformed by their competitors but, for the discerning motorist, this was missing the point. What all the other Teutonic autobahn rockets failed to offer was exhilarating performance. A sedan that acts like a sports car that provides the driver with thrills every time they get behind the wheel. Precision handling from a car that feels half the size than it really is and only matched by the sumptuous interiors that are as varied as an artist’s palette.
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A Prancing Horse Under the Hood
The 2010 Maserati Quattroporte was available in three varieties, Base, S and GT S, while offering two different sized engines. The Base is fitted with a 4.2-liter V8 Ferrari engine that could produce 395 bhp at 7,000 rpm and 339 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm. But, for the racier models, they would be installed with the engine that came from the GranTurismo S. A 4.7-liter V8 engine provided more power as both of them achieved 361 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm. While the S model had 424 bhp at 7,000 rpm, the GT S produced 434 bhp at the same rev count which had been achieved by some retuning of the engine.
Acceleration and top speeds were reasonable but nothing outstanding in this competitive class. The Base model could make the 0-60 mph dash in 5.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 168 mph. The Quattroporte S performed better with the 0-60 mph sprint completed in 5.4 seconds and having a top speed of 174 mph. The best numbers came from the GT S as it made 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds and made a top speed of 177 mph.
The engine always made sure you were aware of its presence. Crackling and growling under the hood and out of the quad tailpipes, the engine note of the V8 was all pervasive. Even under low revs, the engine would open up sweetly as the GT S could achieve 85% of its 361 lb-ft of torque at only 2,500 rpm.
Fuel economy was not such a big winner here. With a car that weighs 4,400 lbs. and over 200 inches in length, it burned gas freely. City driving was pegged at 12 mpg while highway motoring was gauged at 18 mpg. But, for prospective owners who were willing to lay down up to $140,000 on a car, the price it took to fill the tank at the pump was not high on their agenda.
To everyone’s relief, the much-maligned DuoSelect automated manual transmission had been phased out and Maserati had transitioned to their tried and trusted German partner, ZF, to install a more user-friendly automatic gearbox. The 2010 Maserati Quattroporte was standard with a six-speed automatic transmission that offered a couple of different driving modes – Normal, Sport & Manual.
Running in ‘Normal’ mode, the luxury sedan performed effortlessly. Smoothly gliding through shift changes as the car glides through city streets as a regular automatic. Once out of the city limits and a chance to engage ‘Sport’ mode, the difference is immediately noticed. Gear changes are quickened while the adaptive suspension becomes firmer in anticipation of the more aggressive drive. To give an added thrill, valves in the exhaust are bypassed to give the V8 a mightier roar.
But to really achieve the best driving experience out of the Maserati, the gear stick has to be slid sideways and enter the ‘Manual’ mode. To have full control over the handling of the power of the engine and push the rev count up nearer the redline, the driver flips through the shift changes by pushing up or down on the gear stick or via the use of the shift paddles situated behind the steering wheel.
Riding on Rails
What has continued to be the standout thrill of the Quattroporte V has been its excellent precision handling and driving experience; the 2010 Maserati Quattroporte is no different. Despite the luxury sedan being over 16 feet long, the automobile handles like a sports car half its size. The steering is immediate and the four-door sedan reacts instantly and responsively.
Tearing up a straightaway at high speed, the heavy sedan sits well on the road. Even as tight bends and hairpins are attacked with gusto, the Maserati performs the maneuver eagerly and without a hint of over or understeer. Even for the more inexperienced driver, they can have the thrill of the Quattroporte, as they can drive through bends at high speed with some confidence. A whole host of driving aids are installed to ensure that the “excitement” does not get out of hand. These Include both stability and traction control as well as anti-lock brakes.
Another key factor to the 2010 Maserati Quattroporte’s great handling is its perfect balance. Even with the transmission and the V8 engine situated in the front of the car, the weight distribution ratio still has a rear bias of 47/53. This allows the car to hug the road well and avoid any unexpected drift. This is also augmented by the big Pirelli P Zero tires that grip the road as if riding on rails.
The 2010 Maserati Quattroporte is installed with the adaptive ‘Skyhook’ suspension system that allows the car to behave intuitively to the road and driving conditions. So, whether cruising down Main Street, bumping over potted roads or screaming round tight curves, the suspension will ensure that the driver and passengers are kept as comfortable as possible with minimal body roll or lateral movement.
But, because the GT S model, is geared for having a more “edgier” attitude, the adaptive system is replaced by a single-rated damper that is more in tune with the car’s needs. The body has also been lowered for a racier profile, with the front lowered by 15 mm and the rear by 10 mm.
The clear advantage of the 2010 Maserati Quattroporte over its more austere Germanic counterparts, is its fastidious attention to ensuring absolute style and luxury to every model that rolls out of the Modena factory.
Though it states to hold five passengers, it is more suited to hold four in very suitable conditions. The front seats are extremely comfortable and perfect for long journeys whilst having multiple setups to individualize the comfort.
Everywhere one looks, fine leather covers almost all surfaces while fine wood and metal finishes complete the look. Poltrona frau, who provide leather to many car manufacturers, only reserve their finest leather to two carmakers, Ferrari and Maserati. Their smooth hides cover all the seats (along with Alcantara suede covering the headliners), the dash, central console & gear stick and the door panels. Maserati then provide the buyer with a choice of 11 different colored threads for the piping and hand stitching.
Interior finishes are rounded off with a choice of hard wood veneers that include, Mahogany, Rosewood or Briarwood. If one prefers, this can be replaced by titanium.
Exteriors are just as opulent, with the sensual body curves available in 15 different paints and the alloy wheels coming in 18, 19 or 20 inches.
No other luxury sedan brand comes close to what bespoke customization Maserati can offer.
Wired for Sound
The Infotainment system in the 2010 Maserati Quattroporte has also been upgraded with an 11-speaker multimedia system from Bose. All accessed through a touchscreen, the driver has a variety of applications to choose from. Sat nav with a 30gb hard drive, satellite radio, CD/DVD player with digital music storage and connectivity to iPods, Bluetooth and USB ports.
Awards Edition Trident
As a special addition to the Quattroporte V roster, the 2010 Maserati Quattroporte is also available as a GT S Awards Edition. This was released to commemorate the fact that the Quattroporte had won 56 different awards. Essentially the same car but given a unique makeover.
Special grey/gold metallic paint adorns the bodywork called, Quarzo Fuso while chrome accents have been added over other exterior fixtures. Bespoke “multi-trident” 20-inch alloy wheels round off the outside.
Unique Poltrona Frau leather matched with an undulating pattern of Alcantara suede make up the seat covers while brushed aluminum, finished in a black-piano look accent many interior features.
Surely a testament to the high quality and excellence that has become the benchmark to Maserati’s output. The Trident Maserati logo has not only become a symbol for the Modena factory but also a stamp of quality and reliability.