All-new Quattroporte debuts in Detroit
Only from Maserati, a luxury sedan with a 191-mph top speed.
Maserati has grand plans. The Italian automaker wants to go from selling around 5,000 cars a year to 50,000 by 2015.
Growth in developing markets such as China and Russia is a key part of the strategy. So is taking a more independent approach to vehicle engineering and development. The idea is to make Maseratis more personalized and appealing by setting them further apart from other vehicles within the Fiat Group, which has owned Maserati since 1993.
At least that's the plan with the all-new 2014 Maserati Quattroporte, which debuts at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week and showcases the best of Maserati's design and engineering. But it won't be entirely possible with the other two new products the company is counting on to drive growth; a crossover called the Levante and a new compact sedan called the Ghibli announced at the Paris Motor Show last September will likely borrow technology from Fiat.
2014 Maserati Quattroporte
What is it? Maserati's flagship luxury sedan, completely new from the ground up.
What's hot? Everything has been reworked and improved. The full-size sedan is larger and has considerably more interior and trunk space, but it weighs nearly 220 pounds less than the previous version, thanks to extensive use of aluminum in the chassis and body. Styling changes are evolutionary. The car retains key design elements such as the prominent front grille, three small side vents in the front fenders, and a triangular rear roof pillar.
New engines were designed entirely in-house and will be built under contract by corporate cousin Ferrari. The V8 displacement is downsized, but twin turbochargers boost output to 523 horsepower and 524 lb-ft of torque. That represents an increase of 18 percent and 39 percent, compared with the previous nonturbocharged V8. The new V8 is good for zero to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds and an astounding top speed of 191 mph. The only other Maserati to exceed that top speed is the MC12 supercar. A new twin-turbo V6 engine derived from the V8 makes 404 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. It can be paired with all-wheel drive, which is not offered with the V8. An 8-speed automatic is the only transmission available.
What's not? Although a huge improvement over the previous Maserati Quattroporte, the new version doesn't really break ground, nor does it appear to hold an overwhelming advantage over its competitors.
How much and when? Goes on sale in February with delivery dates starting in June. Official pricing isn't announced, but a spokesman said the V8 Quattroporte will cost around $130,000, about as much as the current version.
MSN Autos' verdict: Maserati has outdone itself in remaking the Quattroporte. The result looks to be a marked improvement in every respect, from style to performance to comfort to efficiency. Like its predecessor, the new Maserati Quattroporte will be a standout thanks to its Italian flair. But it has tough competition and won't succeed on flair alone. The real test will be its road performance against stalwarts such as the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series and Jaguar XJ.
Matthew de Paula wanted to be an automotive journalist ever since reading his first car magazine in grade school. After a brief stint writing about finance, he helped launch ForbesAutos.com and became the site's editor in 2006. Matthew now freelances for various outlets.
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