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The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte is a sexy Italian alternative to other high-end performance sedans. And thanks to its new automatic transmission and softened adaptive suspension, this year's model is the best one yet for American roads and tastes.
Distinctive styling inside and out, confident handling dynamics, excellent new automatic transmission, relative rarity.
Pricier and not as powerful as some rivals.
Available Quattroporte Models
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The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte is now offered with an automatic transmission to complement its standard DuoSelect F1-style, clutchless gearbox. As such, the Quattroporte is broken into Automatic and DuoSelect models, which are offered in regular, Executive GT and Sport GT trim levels. The Automatic is differentiated by a new grille and redesigned center console that accommodates the new traditional auto gear selector. The 4.2-liter V8 receives minor updates when attached to the Automatic to reduce noise and improve efficiency. The Quattroporte's impressive selection of customizable interior and exterior hues has been updated as well.
Certain things just sound better in other languages. Women wear fancy French perfumes called eau de toilette even though it translates "water of the toilet." In the same vein, a vehicle known as the Chevrolet Four Door would be laughed off the auto show stage, derided for unoriginality and blunt obviousness. Yet, when said en Italiano, "Four Door" becomes a sexy, tongue-slithering Quattroporte. One can almost hear Sophia Loren passionately whispering it. The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte is more than a deceptively sexy name; it is a beautiful luxury car endowed with ample power, sharp handling and two impressive transmissions that make it the closest thing available to a Ferrari sedan.
Since its introduction in 2004, the Quattroporte has come standard with a "DuoSelect" electro-actuated paddle-shift clutchless manual similar to those found in F1 race cars and many Ferraris. (Maserati and Ferrari are both owned by Fiat.) This five-speed transmission offers lightning-quick gearchanges and perfectly matches revs when downshifting, but its automatic mode is jerky in traffic and its operation is different from the manual and automatic transmissions found in just about every other car on the market. There is, for instance, no "Park," and "Reverse" is selected by a small toggle lever. In other words, Americans don't like it.
To rectify the situation, Maserati has introduced a new ZF-built six-speed automatic transmission for 2007 that offers fast, smooth shifts and crisp throttle response that might make it the world's best automatic. When either is paired with the Ferrari-sourced 400-hp V8, the Quattroporte is on par with the Mercedes-Benz S550 and only a few steps behind its more powerful competition: the Audi S8 and BMW's M5 and Alpina B7.
The new automatic is actually mounted in the front of the Quattroporte (versus the DuoSelect's rear-mounted transaxle), lending it a more even weight balance (49/51 versus 47/53). This is nothing more than an interesting tidbit, though, as both models remain rear-biased for the type of sporty handling one expects from the nation shaped like one of Nancy Sinatra's boots. Despite weighing about 4,400 pounds, the svelte Maserati manages to feel like a car half its size, with well-weighted steering, limited body roll and a slinky eagerness to change direction. The Quattroporte comes standard with Maserati's Skyhook system, which is the company's unique name for adaptive suspension and not a new technology developed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Controlled by a button on the dashboard, Skyhook can be set to the firm-but-comfortable "Normal" mode or the noticeably firmer "Sport" setting. Both are set a little more on the supple side for the Automatic model – once again for American tastes.
The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte comes with a hefty price tag, though, and it doesn't offer the same straight-line punch as some of its full-size luxury sedan competitors. Yet this "Italian Flagship," as Maserati calls it, is not only a great choice for driving enthusiasts, it's also the art house pick, with stunning Pininfarina styling and an interior that can be made to order. While its German rivals go about their business with stern efficiency (both in performance and nomenclature), the Quattroporte is all about Italian passion – even if it just means "four-door."
The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte is a performance luxury sedan offered in DuoSelect and Automatic models. The two have virtually identical engines, styling and features, but differ in transmission. DuoSelect is an F1-style clutchless manual with paddle shifters, while Automatic is rather obviously a traditional automatic transmission. Both models are offered in base, Executive GT and Sport GT trim levels.
Standard equipment on the base Quattroporte includes 18-inch wheels (19 with the DuoSelect), the adaptive "Skyhook" suspension system, bi-xenon headlamps, a sunroof, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, front heated seats, a Bose audio system with six-CD changer and a navigation system. The Executive GT is more luxury-oriented, adding a different grille and 19-inch wheels, a wood steering wheel, rear climate controls and a rear-seat comfort package with heat, cooling and massage. The Sport GT is additionally equipped with a chrome grille, 20-inch wheels, cross-drilled brakes, a sport steering wheel, carbon-fiber interior trim and steering-wheel paddles on Automatic models.
Options for all trim levels include run-flat tires; front parking sensors; a rear-seat heating system; front- and rear-seat Comfort Packages with heat, cooling and massage; pull-down rear-seat tables; a "Clima" Pack with rear-seat climate controls and side blinds; and a rear DVD entertainment system. Quattroportes can also be customized with a wide selection of exterior paints and interior leather color combinations.
The 2007 Maserati Quattroporte is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 engine attached to either a regular six-speed automatic transmission or a DuoSelect F1-style paddle-shift clutchless six-speed manual. The automatic is all-new for 2007, offering smoother performance and a more traditional operation than the clutchless gearbox. Automanual function is standard, however, with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters optional. The DuoSelect is essentially a manual transmission without a clutch and is shifted by the driver via paddle shifters or by the car itself. Compared to the Automatic model, this quasi-automatic feature is jerkier and feels more like a traditional manual in traffic. Although the DuoSelect will appeal to performance-minded drivers, the excellent new automatic should better suit American tastes.
The V8 produces 400 horsepower with both transmissions, but the version on the Automatic model makes nine more pound-feet of torque than the DuoSelect's 331. Maserati says a Quattroporte Automatic will run to 60 mph in the mid 5-second range, while DuoSelect trims about a half-second off that time.
The Quattroporte comes well stocked with safety features. Front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, traction control, antilock brakes and stability control are all standard. A tire-pressure monitoring system comes bundled with the run-flat tire option.
As a low-volume, high-end luxury car, the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte can be customized to meet an individual buyer's needs with a variety of cabin trims and leather colors that can be mixed and matched throughout the cabin. Desire a hideous combo of Cuiuo burnt orange and Bordeaux red? Maserati will set you up, although the word "stupido" may be liberally thrown around the Modena factory. Seating is comfortable for touring (though we'd like more lateral support) and tailored for four, as indicated by the rear seat's aggressive contour. The handsome dash and console has a healthy dollop of look-alike buttons, so it takes awhile to acclimate to some controls. The standard navigation system is also one of the slowest-reacting and poorly detailed systems we've ever used.
The center console design differs in the new Automatic models with a new traditional automatic gear selector, two cupholders, an electronic parking brake switch and a larger ashtray. The DuoSelect maintains its small toggle-like transmission mode selector, a single tiny cupholder, regular mechanical brake and a smaller ashtray that requires more frequent butt dumps.
While the new automatic transmission makes the 2007 Maserati Quattroporte a little less sporty, the Automatic's more familiar gear-selection procedure and the crisp-yet-friendly predictability of its shifts are just right for the American luxury-car buyer. The DuoSelect, however, offers lightning-quick gearchanges (35 percent faster in the Sport GT) and perfectly matches revs with every downshift. Regardless of transmission, the Quattroporte is responsive and very well-balanced, changing direction swiftly and easily like a car half its size. Under regular driving, the Quattroporte offers a smooth, supple ride comparable to other full-size luxury cars. The Automatic's adjustable suspension is tuned a bit softer for comfort than the DuoSelect, but this is only a negative when it's pushed especially hard into a corner.
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