By KBB.com Editors
The 2013 Maserati Quattroporte is a sensory delight for buyers who lust after an exotic sports car with the practicality of a sedan. Both the S and Sport GT S models delight their occupants with style, luxury and performance. But change is coming. In mid-2013 an all-new, longer, lighter and more modern Quattroporte will arrive. It will use smaller-displacement, twin-turbo engines, a V6 and a V8. It will be more rational and restrained in appearance. It will be better than the current-model Quattroporte by most meaningful measures. But in the meantime, the boldly individual style of the 2013 model and the melodic bark of its naturally aspirated 4.7-liter V8 have appeal of their own, which we might remember wistfully a year from now.
If you are right-brain dominant, the Quattroporte will whisper sweet nothings into your lusty imagination. Maserati's 4-door luxury sedan is prettier than a Porsche Panamera, sexier than an Audi A8, and way more vocal than a Jaguar XJL.
If the cold, analytical computations of your left brain run the show, then you'll naturally gravitate toward the more advanced electronics and infotainment, the greater number of servicing dealers and the better reputation for quality of the Audi A8, BMW 760 or Mercedes-Benz CLS550.
Pininfarina's evocative Quattroporte design and the brilliant mechanicals underneath it carry on for this final year. Maserati is marking time before the mid-2013 arrival of the next-generation 2014 Quattroporte.
Driving Impressions There are several sports-luxury sedans with high-performance capabilities, but none quite match the artful flair of the Maserati Quattroporte. This uniquely Italian sedan has moves that defy its size, letting...it dance playfully down a twisty stretch of road. Responsive steering, impeccable roadholding and lusty power delivery make it happen. The Skyhook suspension on the Quattroporte S continuously varies damping settings to deliver an optimal balance of ride and control, while the stiffer, lower-riding Sport suspension on the Sport GT S is a little more hardcore. The lively 4.7-liter V8 works in conjunction with a modern ZF 6-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission that delivers lightning-fast, rev-matching downshifts in Sport mode.
A lot of sports and luxury cars have them, but the Maserati Quattroporte's extra-long, Trofeo-style column-mounted aluminum shifter paddles blend aesthetics and function in a way that aptly mirrors the car's character. They also feel substantial and positive to the touch, making do-it-yourself shifting a rewarding experience.
As if ordering a custom-tailored suit, buyers can choose from an array of options for leather types and colors, choosing monochromatic, complementary or even contrasting hues for the instrument panel, parcel shelf, steering wheel, headliner, stitching and seat piping. Wood insert choices include rosewood, walnut briarwood, mahogany, wenge and vavona.
This is one driver's car that doesn't forget about the passengers. In addition to the high style, there are thoughtful standard amenities such as a cooler inside the console armrest, an electric rear-window shade, and rear seats with power fore/aft and backrest-tilt adjustment. The Quattroporte S fits out the cabin with leather-trimmed seats, door panels, instrument panel, steering wheel and shift knob, plus wood door-panel, console and instrument-panel inserts. The Quattroporte Sport GT S slathers Alcantara suede over the seats, door panels, steering wheel and shifter, and replaces wood trim with pieces of high-tech-looking titanium. A 16-cubic-foot trunk can swallow three or four golf bags.
Legendary Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina draped the athletic Maserati chassis and roomy 4-door cabin in trim-fitting, organically flowing sheetmetal that hides the car's size. The visual mass is carried low, with wheels pushed to the corners, flowing back from a bold, jutting, ovalesque grille with convex vertical strips and sporting a coffee-mug-size Maserati trident. Adding dramatic flair are LED running lights up front and taillights at the rear that tie it visually to the 2-door Maserati GranTurismo.
The 2013 Quattroporte S comes standard with the 425-hp V8, Skyhook adaptive suspension with auto-leveling, 20-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille, power heated front seats, a sunroof, a Bose premium multimedia system with navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, rear park assist, and a host of luxury amenities. Moving to the Quattroporte Sport GT S ups engine output to 444 horsepower, substitutes a lower-slung Sport suspension for the adaptive setup and blacks out the grille.
Not many luxury amenities escape the Quattroporte's standard-equipment list, but buyers can add a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, aluminum foot pedals, front parking assist and baby-soft Poltrona Frau leather. A fully equipped example might include the Executive Pack, consisting of an Alcantara headliner and an assortment of rear-seat enhancements, including pull-down wooden writing tables, side-window blinds, individual A/C controls and seat cushions that heat, cool and massage.
What the Quattroporte may lack in gadget-rich infotainment and new-tech systems like lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and night-vision assist it more than makes up for under its curvaceous hood. The 4.7-liter V8, co-developed with Ferrari, is a sensory delight, spirited and high-revving. In addition to the intoxicating sounds it makes, it has a sweet midrange response with over 80 percent of its torque available at 2,500 rpm – normal cruising speed on most highways. The 6-speed ZF automatic transmission can be manually shifted. The Quattroporte transmission also has a Low Grip mode that gives 2nd-gear starts and a Sport mode that shifts more firmly and at higher revs.
4.7-liter V8 (Quattroporte S)
434 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
361 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 mpg
4.7-liter V8 (Quattroporte Sport GT S)
444 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
376 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 mpg