Road test rewind: Maserati Quattroporte

If the ride disappoints those looking for comfort, then at least the cabin won’t. There’s huge space front and rear and a finish that exudes a restrained opulence.

Verdict – 3/5 stars

We wanted this to be a five-star car. All of the elements were in place: stunning looks, incredible chassis balance and inspirational engine. But the Quattroporte isn’t that car, and it’s more than just a few tweaks away from those elusive extra stars. Few cars are so beguiling yet completely exasperating all at the same time.

It was hard to subdue our blind prejudice – Alastair Clements

As enthusiasts, road testers have a passion for cars, but we must also set aside prejudice and favouritism, and focus on the facts. Never was this more challenging than with the Quattroporte V. After the disappointing Biturbo-based IV, overweight III and underpowered II, the fifth-generation four-door Maserati super-saloon was the first to truly capture the spirit of the fabulous 1963 original.

In fact, it was better in every way – not least the sensational looks. But even more exciting was how it went, the quad-cam V8 producing 394bhp at a screaming 7000rpm and always urging you to use every one, particularly at the test track, where its chassis encouraged lurid yet controllable slides.

Yes, the gearbox was dim-witted, the ride unsettled, the brakes dead and the engine well off the pace of class leaders for outright urge, but this was a car you’d find any excuse to keep driving. Except it wouldn’t always let you. After threatening to fail to proceed several times, it inevitably broke down more permanently when I was on my way to a wedding. With my new partner.

Was it as good as an M5, E55 AMG or XJR? No. Would I have still bought one if it was my own cash? Absolutely.

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