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2011 Maserati Quattroporte Overview
Minor revisions for 2011 keep the chic Maserati Quattroporte near the head of the luxury sedan class. Though it faces stiff competition from the Porsche Panamera and the new Aston Martin Rapide, the 2011 Quattroporte’s blend of Italian elegance and top-notch performance continues to lure well-heeled buyers to Maserati showrooms.
The Quattroporte’s sensuous, flowing lines were widely praised when Maserati introduced the car in 2005. The styling, freshened in 2009, has worn well and still wows most onlookers with its taut, aggressive contours. Among the rather jaded enthusiast set, however, the Quattroporte isn’t exactly the latest and greatest, and word has it that Maserati will be introducing an all-new model sometime in the next year or so.
For 2011 Maserati has streamlined the Quattroporte lineup by dropping the 4.2-liter base trim. The low take rate for the smaller-engined car convinced Maserati that American buyers prefer the added power of the up-rated 4.7-liter motor. Thus the Quattroporte S becomes the base trim, with the high-strung GT S variant still available for those who demand maximum performance.
With its near-perfect weight distribution and taut control arm suspension setup, the 2011 Quattroporte remains among the best handling sedans on the planet. While Porsche’s Panamera might offer more grip, it can’t match the Quattroporte’s exceptional sense of dynamic balance. The Maserati’s light, accurate steering conveys just the right information about the road texture to the driver, and the strong dual-cast brakes provide effortless stopping power. The downside of the sporty suspension is a somewhat unforgiving ride over rough pavement, especially in Quattroportes that roll on the optional 20-inch wheels.
With 425 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Quattroporte’s 4.7-liter V8 engine provides spirited performance. Though Porsche, BMW and Mercedes offer sedans with considerably more power, they must resort to forced induction (supercharging or turbocharging) to do so. Maserati’s naturally aspirated V8 might not have the all-conquering torque of its competition, but its seamless power delivery and exquisite soundtrack more than make up for its power deficit, especially in a country where traffic and speed limits make more than 500 hp somewhat redundant. A ZF 6-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission offered in the Quattroporte; it serves up smooth, timely shifts that seem perfectly matched to the engine’s torque curve.
Maserati graces the Quattroporte with interior appointments that are a feast for the senses. Top-notch materials, including fragrant Poltrana Frau leather and perfectly matched wood trim, create an ambiance of old-world Italian sophistication that’s missing from the competition. For 2011, Maserati has replaced the capable yet complex Bose stereo and navigation system with its own in-house unit. Despite this change, the ergonomics still leave something to be desired, as does the wheezy HVAC system. Rear seat room is decent for those under 6 feet tall, and the trunk, while shallow, offers enough room for a couple of golf bags or suitcases.
The 2011 Maserati Quattroporte succeeds at melding traditional Italian elegance with high-tech performance. Though its six-figure pricetag places it well out of reach of most consumers, the lucky few who can afford it will be treated to a driving experience that is quite extraordinary.