THE 2012 MASERATI QUATTROPORTE S REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: An Emblem of Luxury
Once upon a time, Maserati was almost dead.
“Once upon a time” in this instance means “a great bit of the time ago.” The Great Depression, World War II, Arab Oil Embargo and other global disasters kept Maserati teetering at the brink of existence. For instance, in the 1970s, not only did the Arab Oil Embargo strangulate demand for gas-guzzling Maseratis, but the marque’s owner – Citroen – went bankrupt and left Maserati to fend for itself. The Italian government had to save Maserati’s hindquarters (2009 U.S. government bailouts – just deja vu).
Yet now is not “once upon a time.” Now is “happily ever after,” or so Maserati hopes. Given life by Ferrari and selling vivaciously around the world, Maserati may finally win its 90-year battle with death. CEO Sergio Marchionne says he hopes Maserati will sell 50,000 cars annually by 2015, an increase of almost tenfold from 2011.
Hyperbolic balderdash, you say? Listen up close. In 2011, Maserati sold 1,452 Quattroporte sedans. That is 2.9 percent of its 2015 target. How does Maserati plan to boost the Quattroporte’s annual sales figures?
As Modena’s flagship model, the Quattroporte sedan survives because of press, publicity, and profit margins, not jumbo sales figures. It is more emblem than product.
(See 80+ images of the 2012 Maserati Quattroporte S).
For instance, consider the Quattroporte’s Ferrari-sourced 4.7-liter V8 producing 425 horsepower 250 rpm short of the redline. It’s a screamer, with a full helping of Maranello magic streaming from the exhaust. Routing power to the rear wheels, the engine launches the Quattroporte S to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and onwards to a maximum speed of 174 mph – that’s fast enough to stick your face out the window and have your teeth cleaned. The six-speed automatic transmission offers a Low Grip mode for inclement weather and a Sport mode to realign the shift points to: “Testosterone.” Drivers may take full advantage of the powertrain via manual mode with race-style paddle shifters. With the standard Skyhook two-mode adaptive damping, the Quattroporte S provides a more refined, versatile ride than a traditional suspension.
There is just one problem. A Ford Mustang Boss 302, live rear axle and all, will chew it up and spit it out. How you ruin white-collar dreams, Ford. Thankfully, cheap muscle cars do not infringe on the Maser’s sacrosanct ground. Why? Remember: emblem, not product.
That is why the Quattroporte S can cost almost $130,000 and not have standard heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, rear climate controls, and other functions expected of super luxury cars. A similarly-priced Audi A8 has a honkin’ 12-cylinder engine, four heated/ventilated/massaging seats, and enough electronic gizmos to incite a Mennonite rebellion. Meanwhile, the Maserati makes do with pedestrian amenities like a power trunk lid, a 30-gig hard drive, and a voice-activated navigation system – cheap trinkets compared to the competition. Besides an Executive package, which effectively transforms the Quattroporte in a chauffeur sedan for VIPs, technology options are few. Owners can customize design schemes to their hearts and wallets’ content. (See a full list of standard and optional features for the Quattroporte S).
There is a simple reason the Quattroporte S can charge so much and offer so little. It is Italian. More importantly, it is the only Italian, four-passenger, ultra-luxury high-performance sedan available in North America. If you want to wave Italian, live American, and spend a million, there is only choice, a la Modena. (See pricing information).
Inside, the Quattroporte S makes good on its promises of sophisticated luxury and decor. There is enough premium wood finish in the cabin to make a Greenpeace activist pop a blood vessel. World-renowned Poltrona Frau leather swathes the remainder of the interior. Organic leather upholstery and trim is available. If it isn’t covered in leather or wood worth more than your mortgage, then it isn’t in the Maserati. Arrive in Modena with a wad of cash, and Maserati will allow you to customize your Quattroporte S on-site.
The last word on the 2012 Maserati Quattroporte S is its first impression. Crafted by Pininfarina, the svelte sedan is simultaneously sensual and sophisticated.
The Quattroporte has little brute fiscal value. While the Quattroporte sales in small quantities, Modena plans to rake in dollars by introducing three all-new, substantially less expensive models based on Chrysler platforms.
But here is the key to this puzzle. The value of the Quattroporte is not measured solely in sales. It is due to the sedan’s inspiration, its embodiment of what a Maserati can be. It is an emblem that spawns products. That is what has resurrected Maserati, and why the Quattroporte S is truly worth far more than just $127,000.
Engine: 4.7-liter V8: 425 horsepower @7,000 rpm/361 lb-ft of torque @4,750 rpm
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Economy: 12/19/14 mpg
0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
Base MSRP: $127,250
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