The niche market of the luxury sedan is a highly competitive one. Mainly dominated by the high flying brands of Germany, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi & Porsche. From the UK, the entry level sedan for this niche is Jaguar though on the higher end of the market are Bentley and Rolls Royce.
Over the last couple of decades, these car makers have pushed all aspects of the automobile to the limit. Ensuring that the level of performance, technology and luxury were set to the highest achievement. Some of the brands are mass producing these vehicles, to such an extent, that there are millions of them around the world. Such large levels of manufacturing and accessibility have ensured that these brands are highly reliable, as well. And it is for this reason that the three major German brands dominate this market throughout the world.
But one has to remember that all these luxury vehicles owe their existence due to the original luxury sedan that came before all of them – the Maserati Quattroporte.
The original “Four Door” first appeared on the roads of Europe and America in 1963. Right from the get go, this sedan was both luxurious and powerful. The top speed of this Quattroporte was 143 mph and, five years later, fitted with a bigger 4.7 liter engine, the speed rose again to 158 mph. The height of style, luxury and performance had been benchmarked by this Maserati sedan. A template that everyone else would have to follow and, to many extents, exceed.
Though none would have the panache, flair or the cachet of what Maserati delivers. It is for this reason that despite underperforming, in several areas, to their Teutonic rivals, the Quattroporte has a stronger appeal to the passionate and red-blooded drivers around the world.
Since the 1960’s, we have seen six iterations of Maserati’s Quattroporte but, in this Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS review, we will take a look at their most powerful four-door at that time.
Sedan With the Heart of a Racer
The fifth generation of the Quattroporte was unveiled and went on sale in 2003. But it would be another four years before the Modena carmaker delivered the Maserati Quatroporte Sport GTS. This would push the luxury sedan to the limits of how the engine and car could perform.
This first model was the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS 4.2 Ferrari V8 that produced 395 bhp at 7,000 rpm and 339 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm. It could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 168 mph.
While still using the ZF six-speed automatic transmission, Maserati would refit to the sedan, to match its sporty nature. For a start, the active ‘Skyhook’ suspension was removed and replaced with a single-rate damper by Bilstein. The ride height was lowered by 10mm while wider rear tires (295mm) were fitted along with larger Brembo brake calipers on the front wheels.
Exterior chrome finishing was replaced by carbon fiber, body paint color and matte black accents, especially on the front grille and tailpipes. Bespoke 20 inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, in a dark chrome finished the look.
The interior would continue with the carbon fiber accents as well as new leather and Alcantara suede combinations that included single color and two-tone contrasts.
In just two years, the Maserati factory would upgrade the Quattroporte again. By taking the high performance 4.7 liter V8 Ferrari engine, from out of the Maserati GranTurismo S, and installing it into the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS.
This would provide the four-door with a pronounced increase in performance. Now, with 434 bhp at 7,000 rpm and 376 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm, the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and a new top speed of 177 mph.
This extra output was achieved by a revised intake and a sport exhaust system with electronically actuated bypass valves. Mechanical changes did not stop there, as they lowered the ride height even more and stiffened the single-rate dampers to a firmer level. Although, if the buyer preferred, the suspension could be fitted with the adaptive version instead.
The front grille was distinguished by having black vertical concave bars, the headlights were given black bezels to surround them, the large dual tailpipes were finished in black along with the window trim. The iconic Maserati Trident badges were given red accents and the door handles finished in body color paint. Interior was laid out in the usual high-end leather and Alcantara suede while the rest of the hard surfaces were covered in “Titan Tex”.
The Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS 2010 model would be a special affair. In recognition of the 56 awards the Maserati Quattroporte V had won, since its introduction in 2003, they produced a model called the Awards Edition.
The special paintwork was a choice of “Nero pianoforte” or a specially developed pale gold “Quarzo fuso” pearlescent paint, satin grey wheels, polished brake calipers and all chrome trim in a dark finish
All reviews, at the time, were universally positive on how the large sedan (200 inches long and 4,400 lbs. in weight) was so agile and responsive. The four-door Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS was at its happiest at high speed and tearing through corners. With perfect balance (49/51 weight ratio front to back), gripping tires and advanced driving aids, the sedan allowed the driver to sit behind the wheel and feel confident in the performance of the car.
The lowered and stiffer suspension made sure the driving experience was more attuned to a racing line, as the heavy automobile skimmed over the asphalt as if riding on rails.
There would be several other luxury sedans that could outperform the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS but that would be missing the point of how thrilling and entertaining the Maserati was. While the other competitors had become more amalgamated, in their style and shape, the Maserati Quattroporte remains unique in the niche market of the luxury sedan.