In Its Mainstream Bid, Has the $105,000 Maserati Gone Too Far?

Maserati Quattroporte

While the Maserati brand built its name on race cars, the company — now owned by Fiat SpA (FIATY.PK) — has spent much of the last several years building large luxury coaches that compete with the top-end offerings from the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW, alongside its staple GT cars.

Bloomberg contributor Jason Harper recently got a shot behind the wheel of the new Maserati Quattroporte GTS, and to start, set out to clear a few misconceptions about the flagship sedan. ”Put away those thoughts of the Italian supercar of your dreams,” Harper writes. “Think of the Quattroporte as a rival to capacious luxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class AMG, Audi S8, and BMW B7 Alpina. This car is aimed at the reclining CEO or perhaps even a fortunate family.”

Although a new Quattroporte will start around $105,600, the GTS edition that Harper was putting through its paces was priced at a lofty $159,600. For that amount, the buyer is treated to 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque by means of a naturally aspirated V8 (while the lesser twin-turbo V6s are available in all-wheel drive, Harper notes that the V8 is only available in the rear-wheel format).

While the car is by any means seriously pricey, Maserati buyers are treated to Ferrari craftsmanship and power (Maserati and Ferrari are both under Fiat’s wing). Given that the only four-seating Ferrari — the FF — starts at around $300,000, the Maserati can be viewed as a bargain, at least through that lens.

What’s more, the inside caters to the driver as much as it does to those riding in the back. “It is 6.4 inches longer and 2.5 inches wider, with an overall increase of four-plus inches of legroom,” Harper observes. “This makes it longer than even the Jaguar XJ.”

On the outside, the redesigned Quattroporte incorporates the ‘most distinctive design feature of any modern Maserati” — the wide oval mouth of the grill, with the trident badge mounted in the center. Harper notes, though, that outside of that, the new car “is in danger of looking generic, especially in its oversized rear — it could be mistaken for just another Infiniti in the parking lot.” Further, the iconic Italian character and zeal is noticeably absent from this new car.

Indeed, the Quattroporte does look like a refinished Infiniti. This is not a bad thing, as there are few people who would argue that the new Inifiniti range doesn’t look good. However, in the high-end segment that the Maserati is playing in, buyers are going to be expecting a car that’s separate from the pack.

This is the aspect that the new Quattroporte seems to be missing, as Harper found. “The car is easy to live with. I enjoyed the interior space and ample storage. Still, I kept waiting for the hallelujah moment, the point where my endorphins would trip and I’d say, ‘I must own this car!’”

Overall, the Maserati will more than likely be a terrific car — comfortable, more than an adequate driving experience. “It hustles away from stops, accompanied by a muted howl from the motor. Disengage the traction control and you can easily smoke the tires. Steering is confident, and the overall character is stable. Brakes are excellent.” However, the Quattroporte seems to be meeting the bar for luxury sedans, but at a price that would reasonably assume that it surpasses it.

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