2012 Maserati Quattroporte Expert Review

You'll Like The 2012 Maserati Quattroporte If...

If you are right-brain dominant, the Quattroporte will whisper sweet nothings in your imaginative, emotional noggin. 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.

You May Not Like The 2012 Maserati Quattroporte If...

If the cold, analytical computations from your left hemisphere run the show, then you might prefer the more advanced electronics and infotainment, greater number of servicing dealers or overall better quality reputation of well-respected sports-luxury entrees such as an Audi A8, BMW 760 or Mercedes-Benz CLS550.

What's New

Pininfarina’s evocative Quattroporte design continues on unchanged for 2012. However, Maserati’s multitudinous color and trim personalization options make it easy for buyers to create a Quattroporte sedan that’s as unique as they are.

Interior Features

This is one driver’s car that doesn’t forget about the passengers. Aside from the high style, there are thoughtful standard amenities such as a cooler inside the console armrest, an electric rear-window shade, 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, while the Quattroporte Sport GTS slathers Alcantara suede over the seats, door panels, steering wheel and shifter, and replaces wood trim with dashes of high-tech-looking Titanium. A 16-cubic-foot trunk can swallow 3-4 golf bags.

Exterior Features

Long-established Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina drapes the athletic Maserati chassis and roomy 4-door cabin in trim-fitting, organically flowing sheet metal that defies 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 lamps up front and taillights at the rear that tie it visually to the 2-door Maserati Gran Turismo.

Driving Impressions

There are several sports-luxury sedans with high-performance capabilities, but none that can quite match the artistic flair of the Maserati Quattroporte. This uniquely Italian sedan has moves that defy its size, making playful work of a twisty stretch of road with responsive steering, impeccable roadholding and lustiness under the hood. The Skyhook suspension on the Quattroporte S continuously adjusts shock absorber settings to deliver an optimal smooth ride with good control, while the stiffer, lower-riding Sport suspension on the Quattroporte Sport GT S is more hardcore 4-door sports car. The lively 4.7-liter V8 works in conjunction with a modern German-built ZF 6-speed automatic transmission that delivers lightning-fast, rev-matching downshifts in Sport mode. All this in a deliciously fitted cabin that may as well have been crafted by the automotive division of Prada, if they had one.

Pricing Notes

Price/value equations get a little more subjective in this class of car. What price fashion? Certainly the $127,500 Maserati Quattroporte S and $135,200 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S are compelling players and offer a combination of subjective attributes the mostly German competition doesn’t quite match. 2012 Quattroportes with a high level of factory personalization options can actually sticker closer to $150K. Resale value is a question mark as this Italian pair has fewer servicing dealers and lower quality ratings over the years. Be sure to check out the kbb.com Fair Purchase Price to get an idea of what price the Maserati dealer has a right to ask for.

Notable Equipment

The 2012 Quattroporte S comes standard with the 425-hp V8, Skyhook adaptive suspension with auto-leveling, 19-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 433 horsepower, substitutes a lower-slung sport suspension for the adaptive setup, goes to 20-inch wheels, and blacks out the grille.

Notable Options

There is very little in the way of luxury amenities that escape the Quattroporte standard equipment list, but examples include 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 rear-seat pull-down wooden picnic tables, heated, ventilated and massaging rear seats, pull-down rear-seat side-window blinds, individual rear-seat A/C controls, and an Alcantara headliner.

Favorite Features

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 defines the car’s character. They also feel substantial and positive to the touch, making do-it-yourself shifting an extra-personal experience.

Like a tailored suit, buyers can choose from a wide array of options for leather types and colors, choosing monochromatic, complimentary 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.

Under the Hood

What the Quattroporte may lack in terms of gadgets and gizmos that give smartphone-like infotainment options, or technologies 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. Aside from the intoxicating sounds the engine makes, it has a sweet midrange response with over 80 percent of its torque available at 2,500 rpm, which is 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 which gives 2nd-gear starts and Sport mode which shifts more firmly and at higher revs.

4.7-liter V8 (Quattroporte S)
425 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
361 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg (automatic)

4.7-liter V8 (Quattroporte Sport GT S)
433 horsepower @ 7,100 rpm
361 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg (automatic)

Editors' Notes

If the Victoria’s Secret catalog had an official 4-door sedan, it might just be the 2012 Maserati Quattroporte. Short of the four well-shaped seats (five in a pinch and that’s not an Italian joke), there is scarcely anything remotely practical about this car. Yet once you gaze upon its sinewy flanks, it’s hard to turn away. Sheet metal isn’t supposed to bend just that way, yet it does so here beautifully and organically. The equally curvilinear cabin, hewn from a wide palette of soft leathers and handsome woods, envelops you. Resistance is futile, especially when you fire up the Ferrari-inspired V8 and take in the operatic soundtrack from the four oval exhaust pipes.

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