Used 2009 Maserati Quattroporte S
Edmunds' Expert Review
The soulful 2009 Maserati Quattroporte is the purebred among performance luxury sedans.
Suppose you're a well-heeled automotive aficionado who wants a new ride, and you can't resist the allure of fine sporting cars from the country shaped like a boot. You're convinced there's nothing quite like Italian four-wheeled conveyances, with their sonorous engines, sumptuous interiors and character-rich personalities. But here's the thing -- you need four doors. You know the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti has a usable backseat, but ingress and egress are kind of a pain, not to mention that $270,000 base price. You, sir or madam, are about to be the proud owner of a 2009 Maserati Quattroporte.
The Quattroporte sedan looks like nothing else on the road, a delectable aesthetic cocktail of classic sport-sedan proportions and inimitable Italian flair. It also features impressive handling and a choice of two soul-stirring V8s. The base 4.2-liter engine is a treat, belting out an addictive wail at full throttle that befits its origins with corporate sibling Ferrari. New this year is a larger 4.7-liter V8, which is found on the new S and Sport GT S. First debuting on the GranTurismo S, the 4.7 tacks on 25 horsepower (33 hp in the GT S) and delivers slightly improved acceleration as well as better tractability around town. The new S and Sport GT S also benefit from larger and more powerful brakes and sportier exterior styling cues. Put it this way -- if Ferrari had applied a prancing horse logo instead of the Maserati trident, the Quattroporte would have fit right in as Modena's first production four-door.
In spirited driving, all Quattroporte models deliver sharp handling that belies the car's 4,400-pound curb weight, though the S and the Sport GT S are the ones to have if frequent visits to curving mountain roads are your cup of tea. There are extensive customization options for the finely crafted interior, and the new Bose multimedia integration and navigation system is a vast improvement from the car's earlier center-stack layout. Certainly, the 2009 Quattroporte isn't the cheapest or fastest performance luxury sedan on the block. But if you like to drive and enjoy ample doses of Italian character and panache, the Quattroporte will speak to you like few other four-doors can.
2009 Maserati Quattroporte configurations
The 2009 Maserati Quattroporte is a performance luxury sedan offered in base, S and Sport GT S trims. Standard equipment on the base Quattroporte includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, foglamps, heated exterior mirrors, rear park assist, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, leather upholstery, rosewood interior trim, 14-way power-adjustable heated front seats with driver memory, four-way power-adjustable rear outboard seats, a refrigerated storage compartment in the front armrest, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power rear sunshade. Also standard is a Bose multimedia integration system with a 30-gigabyte hard drive, a voice-activated navigation system, satellite radio, an iPod jack, a USB port and a nine-speaker surround-sound audio system.
The S model adds the 4.7-liter V8, 19-inch wheels, larger brakes, adjustable suspension dampers, a sport steering wheel with shift paddles and Wenge wood interior trim. The Sport GT S is similar but has a sport-tuned (nonadjustable) suspension and its own exclusive wheels and interior and exterior styling details.
The options list is as long as the average waiting time for an Italian train. At least one option also comes with its own waiting time -- eight months for the $8,800 Bianco Fuji pearlescent paint. Suffice it to say that if you want a particular feature on your Quattroporte, Maserati can probably figure out a way to make it happen.
Performance & mpg
The 2009 Maserati Quattroporte is powered by one of two V8s: a 4.2-liter and a 4.7-liter. The 4.2 cranks out 400 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque. The 4.7 in the Quattroporte S ups the ante to 425 hp and 361 lb-ft, while the Sport GT S promises 433 hp. The only available transmission is a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. Maserati says the base engine is good for a 0-60-mph run in the mid-5-second range, with the 4.7-liter mill trimming a few tenths off that time.
The Quattroporte comes well stocked with safety features. Front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, stability control and antilock brakes are all standard.
The 2009 Maserati Quattroporte's automatic transmission is perfect for the American performance luxury sedan market, offering crisp downshifts and seamless operation. Ride quality is on the firm side in the performance-biased Quattroporte S and Sport GT S, but those who find it objectionable should be quite content in the supple base model. Despite its 4,400-pound curb weight, the Quattroporte is in its element on serpentine roadways, evincing excellent steering feel and body control for a luxury sedan. Straight-line performance isn't world-beating, but the Quattroporte is plenty fast, and either V8 sounds soulful enough to make concerns about 0-60 times fade away.
The Maserati Quattroporte's cabin can be customized like few other production vehicles at its price point, offering a vast array 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 comfortably supportive, but taller drivers might find the Quattroporte a bit lacking in headroom. Also, the Quattroporte is clearly designed for only four, as indicated by the aggressive contours of the power-adjustable outboard rear seats.
The handsome dash and console receive more logical controls for 2009, though they aren't likely to challenge Toyota for ergonomic supremacy anytime soon. The previous navigation system was one of the worst in the business, but the new Bose multimedia system makes it a distant memory. The Bose setup includes hard-drive-based satellite navigation, a CD/MP3/DVD player, satellite radio, digital music storage, iPod integration, Bluetooth and voice activation. It works reasonably well, though unlike competing systems such as MMI and iDrive, this one makes do without a control knob -- instead, there's a dual-mode dial on each side of the display screen and buttons lining the top and bottom. One interesting feature of the Bose system is its infrared proximity sensor: Move your fingers close to the right-side knob and the system will automatically bring up the proper audio or navigation menu on the screen.
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Features & Specs
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There's a naughty button on the dashboard of the 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S that's marked "Sport." Give it a prod and several things happen. The engine and gearbox have their brains rewired, and two exhaust valves open to give full voice to the big V8. The result is a noise quite unlike any other luxury sedan. It is extraordinarily loud and gloriously obnoxious — pure Maserati.
This exhaust trickery — and the increased thrust that comes with it — is the signature feature of Maserati's new flagship. The GT S is a development of the Quattroporte S that debuted last year, and it rivals the Audi S8 and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. Developed for plutocrats who want to drive and arrive, the 2009 Maserati Quattroporte GT S remains a more luxurious and beautiful sedan than its rivals, but now it's also a truly sporting one. Maserati reckons the Sport GT S will account for up to 30 percent of Quattroporte sales.
If It Ain't Busted, Don't Fix It
When the Pininfarina designers sat down to sketch the Quattroporte, they must have been sipping some splendid Chianti. Even five years and a face-lift on from its original launch at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2003, it remains the finest-looking luxury sedan on sale. No other car could dress such colossal length — the Quattroporte is 201 inches long with a 120.6-inch wheelbase — with such elegance. This Maserati is automotive art, and its sinewy curves are enough by themselves to challenge rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Thankfully, Maserati has employed the "If it ain't busted, don't fix it" mentality to the new 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S. A successor to the Sport GT S version of the Quattroporte first introduced at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show, it includes a new black grille with concave vertical fins, revised headlights, a pair of oval exhaust tips and 20-inch wheels, but that's about it. Only the cognoscenti will notice, which is exactly how things should be.
(Not Quite) Designer Cockpit
In contrast to the highly engineered, carefully choreographed cockpits of the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Maserati does have the look of designer boutique. There are lashings of leather and suede and the dash can be dressed in Titantex, a bizarre concoction that looks like gray carbon fiber. You can also specify some fairly interesting color combinations, including bright red leather trim that should really be named "tart's boudoir."
There are some lovely details. The aluminum pedals look like sculpture and the suede-upholstered rim of the steering wheel feels great, even if we'd worry about its long-term longevity. But for all its finery, too many bits have still been plundered from the Fiat parts bin. For example, the ignition key looks like it last found service as a treat in one of those exploding Christmas crackers the British love so much, while the multimedia system is irritatingly fiddly.
You also have to compromise on space. There is ample room in the rear seat for a pair of 6-footers, but they won't lounge in quite the same comfort as they would in the Merc or Audi. Nor will they be able to fit quite as much designer luggage in the trunk. You can blame the layout of the car for that, with its V8 engine significantly behind the centerline of the front wheels where it intrudes on the cockpit, although it does deliver the 49 percent front/51 percent rear weight distribution that delivers superior dynamics on the road.
The GT S employs a version of the 4,691cc V8 featured in the Quattroporte S and Gran Turismo S coupe, Maserati's version of the same fundamental V8 engineered by Ferrari for use by Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati. Tweaks to the engine management system and a new exhaust have helped liberate an extra 9 horsepower, so the total output is now rated at 434 hp at 7,100 rpm and 361 pound-feet of torque at 4,750 rpm. When you engage the exhaust system's Sport mode, the V8 is extraordinarily loud, especially on the final ascent to the 7,200-rpm redline. Your neighbors will either cheer or throw stones.
This glorious engine has found a soul mate in the six-speed ZF-built automatic transmission. The hardware is familiar — Jaguar and Aston Martin use the same system — but it's been tuned for Maserati. In Drive, the shift action is effortlessly smooth, or you can slot the lever into manual and make use of the shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
For the 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S, the transmission really does deliver only manual operation in manual mode. Apparently Ivan Capelli, the ex-Ferrari F1 driver now employed as a Maserati test driver, once had a huge accident when a BMW automatic transmission shifted up a gear, so he insisted on full manual control for the Maserati transmission. In manual mode, the gearbox will neither kick down nor change, even when the engine is on the rev limiter. It feels better for it, and the way the system automatically blips the throttle for quicker downshifts is nothing short of brilliant.
Let's Get Sporty
To reflect the Sport GT S's new, sportier disposition, the spring rates for the suspension are significantly stiffer, some 30 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear, and the ride height has been lowered 0.6 inch at the front and 0.4 inch at the rear as a result. Moreover, the electronic Skyhook active damping has been replaced with a more conventional passive system.
Maserati is happy to admit that the Sport GT S is a clear step beyond the Quattroporte and the Quattroporte S and will only appeal to its more enthusiastic customers. The ride is predictably firm, but it never felt truly harsh, even on the city streets of Modena. Instead, you get a remarkable level of control.
No other 4,387-pound sedan feels this responsive to the helm or disguises its mass with such aplomb. At times, it feels more like an Audi S4 than an S8. This is not a sportier version of a luxury car; it's a genuine sport sedan. And it is genuinely fast. Lean on the new launch control system and this car will scurry to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 5.1 seconds, which is 0.3 second quicker than the Quattroporte S. Top speed climbs 3 mph to 177 mph.
Maserati Is for Real
The 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is further evidence of a company on a roll. While the rest of the world wallows in red ink, Maserati has just announced record sales of 8,586 cars for 2008 and record profits of $93 million. This might not sound like much — Chrysler loses more money in a coffee break — but for the Italians it's a big deal. Maserati is finally stepping out from the shadow of Ferrari.
When the Quattroporte Sport GT S arrives in the U.S., the base price will be $133,700. But of course, you'll have to figure in an estimated $2,600 gas-guzzler tax plus $1,500 in delivery charges and $300 for the little extras, so you'll be looking for at least $138,100.
In a way, the Quattroporte Sport GT S is more like a Ferrari than previous versions of the sedan, a little bit more focused on performance. Among all the premium sedans that you might spend something more than $130,000 upon, the new GT S remains the eccentric choice, but while your rational being will lean toward the Audi or Mercedes, your creative brain will ache for the Maserati.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2009 Maserati Quattroporte S Overview
The Used 2009 Maserati Quattroporte S is offered in the following styles: S 4dr Sedan (4.7L 8cyl 6A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2009 Maserati Quattroporte?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.