Full 2008 Maserati Quattroporte Review
What's New for 2008
The 2008 Maserati Quattroporte is now only offered with an automatic transmission -- the F1-style DuoSelect clutchless gearbox has been discontinued for North America. Other changes this year are related to trim level organization. The Sport GT model is only available in uplevel "S" trim, and a luxurious limited-edition Collezione Cento model joins the Quattroporte lineup.
Certain things just sound better in other languages. Women wear fancy French perfumes called eau de toilette, even though it translates as "water of the toilet." Every English speaker would agree that "I don't know what" can't hold a candle to je ne sais quoi. In the same vein, a vehicle known as the Chevrolet Four Door would be laughed off the auto show stage. Yet when translated into Italiano, that thoroughly boring "Four Door" moniker becomes the sexy, tongue-slithering Quattroporte. One can almost hear Sophia Loren passionately whispering it. The 2008 Maserati Quattroporte has one of the most mellifluous names in the automotive world -- and happily, it's got looks and moves to match.
The visually striking Quattroporte boasts ample power, sharp handling and a superb automatic transmission. It's probably the closest thing available to a Ferrari sedan. In fact, the Quattroporte's sole engine is a Ferrari-sourced 400-horsepower V8, and it certainly sounds and feels the part. Performance-wise, the Quattroporte is on par with the Mercedes-Benz S550, but a few ticks behind more powerful competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, Audi S8 and BMW's M5 and Alpina B7.
In spirited driving, the Quattroporte delivers the kind of sporty handling one expects from the nation shaped like one of Nancy Sinatra's boots. Despite its rather hefty 4,400-pound curb weight, the Maserati manages to feel like a car half its size, with well-weighted steering, limited body roll and an eternal eagerness to change direction. The Quattroporte comes standard with Maserati's Skyhook, which is the company's name for an 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.
With a starting MSRP close to $115,000, the 2008 Maserati Quattroporte is more dear than many other performance luxury sedans, and its straight-line punch is only adequate. Yet this Italian Flagship, as Maserati calls it, is not only a great choice for driving enthusiasts, it's also the aesthetician's 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 really just means "four-door."
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Maserati Quattroporte is a performance luxury sedan offered in base, Sport GT S, Executive GT or Collezione Cento trim.
Standard equipment on the base Quattroporte includes 18-inch wheels, the Skyhook active suspension system, bi-xenon headlamps, a sunroof, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a Bose audio system with six-CD changer and a navigation system. The enthusiast-oriented Sport GT S features a sport-tuned passive suspension in place of the Skyhook setup as well as 20-inch wheels, larger brakes, a sport steering wheel, carbon-fiber interior trim and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. The Executive GT is more luxury-oriented, featuring 19-inch wheels, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, an Alcantara headliner, rear climate controls and a rear-seat comfort package with heat, cooling and massage. The limited-production Collezione Cento trim ups the luxury quotient even further by adding accoutrements like mother-of-pearl dash inlays and a multimedia entertainment system with Internet connectivity.
Rear climate controls are optional on base and Sport GT S models, and run-flat tires can be selected on base and Executive GT trims, among numerous other available options. Quattroportes can also be customized with a wide selection of exterior paints and interior leather color combinations.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2008 Maserati Quattroporte is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 engine that churns out 400 hp and 340 pound-feet of torque. This power is sent to the rear wheels via an exemplary six-speed automatic transmission. Maserati says a Quattroporte Automatic will run to 60 mph in the mid 5-second range.
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.
Interior Design and Special Features
As a low-volume, high-end luxury car, the Maserati Quattroporte can be customized to meet the individual buyer's needs with a variety of cabin trims and leather colors. Want a hideous combo of Cuiuo burnt orange and Bordeaux red? Maserati will set you up, although the word stupido may be overheard during production in Maserati's Modena factory. Seating is comfortable (though we'd like more lateral support) and tailored for four, as indicated by the aggressive contours of the outboard rear seats. 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 one of the slowest-reacting and poorly detailed systems we've ever used.
The 2008 Maserati Quattroporte's automatic transmission is perfect for the American performance luxury sedan market, offering crisp downshifts and seamless operation. From behind the wheel, the Quattroporte feels confident and responsive, with appropriately adroit handling and arguably the best V8 soundtrack in its class. Under regular driving, the Quattroporte offers a smooth, supple ride comparable to other full-size luxury cars.