The Italians say it so well. Bella Macchina, or beautiful machine. For me, Maserati’s flagship Quattroporte sedan has always been a Bella Macchina. Imagine Gina Lollobrigida on wheels, and that’s the Quattroporte.
OK some versions, especially the bulbous late-70s model, were rather chunky round the waistline. But the fifth-generation Quattroporte that ran from 2003 to 2012, was about as gorgeous as a big sedan could get. Still is.
To me, its successor and current model, never quite hit the styling high notes of its predecessor. A little too angular, a little less flowing. And its interior was let down by cheapo Chrysler controls and touchscreen and a lack of modern active safety tech.
But with the smaller Ghibli sedan introduced and selling well, and the new Levante SUV launched and on the market, Fiat-owned Maserati has finally turned its attention to giving the Quattroporte a much-needed facelift and freshening for the 2017 model year.
Nothing too drastic mind. The main styling changes are up front with a reshaped grille with extra chrome and chrome upright bars to add a splash of bling. Reshaped bumpers too that feature new electrically-adjustable grille shutters said to help cut aerodynamic drag by 10 per cent.
Thankfully the changes inside are a little more significant. There’s a new 8.4-inch central touchscreen, though it’s still based on Chrysler’s Uconnect system, though it now offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The center console has also been re-jigged to incorporate a new storage compartment.
More significant are the two new trim levels – GranLusso and GranSport – targeted a different customer tastes. GranLusso is more luxury-orientated with seats featuring Ermenegildo Zegna silk fabric inserts (shown here) and open-pore Radica wood for the dash.
The more aggressive-looking GranSport – pictured here – comes with cool new 21-inch rims, racy-red brake calipers and carbon fiber weave on the door mirrors, door handles, B-pillar cover and front bumper.
This new 2017 Quattroporte also answers those criticisms about a shortage of active safety features. Its new Advanced Driver Assistance package includes lane-departure warning, and forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking. That said, it’s still a million miles behind the technology being offered by BMW in its 7-series and Mercedes with its latest S-Class.
It’s probably the case that Maserati drivers are more interested in driving the car rather than letting a bunch of computers and sensors doing the piloting for them.
And while the Quattroporte’s engine line-up stays unchanged for 2017, I can’t imagine too many complaints coming from customers. Still on offer are the Ferrari-developed V6 and V8 thoroughbreds.
That means the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 for the rear-drive S and all-wheel-drive S Q4 models cranking out 404-horsepower, and a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 making 523-hp for the rear-drive GTS. Both engines still deliver that trademark thundering soundtrack capable of rattling storefront windows.
No official word on pricing yet, but we expect little change from current stickers when the car hits showrooms this fall – $101,700 for the S, $109,700 for the S Q4, and $144,300 for the Quattroporte GTS.