RE: 2021 Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo | PH Review

RE: 2021 Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo | PH Review

Friday 30th April

2021 Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo | PH Review

How to refresh an eight-year-old saloon? A 580hp Ferrari-built V8 is a good place to start...



While it's true that Maserati is doing much to ready itself for the future - see the all-electric GranTurismo and EV variant of its MC20 supercar for evidence - it clearly isn't done with the old ways just yet. Step forward the new Quattroporte Trofeo, a Ferrari-powered rear-wheel drive super saloon based on a car first launched in 2013. And which, really, nobody loved back then. With no hybrid technology whatsoever it's an unashamedly old school proposition, although with a 580hp twin-turbo V8 and 202mph top speed - 12mph more than the F90 M5 - this Trofeo isn't short of performance.

As ever, Maserati is targeting a different clientele to the more obvious, almost exclusively German, choices. You can see it in the Quattroporte Trofeo's styling, which is restrained to say the least, with only red trim on the wing air vents and big calipers offered as a visual hint. That is, until the starter button is pressed, and that subtlety is replaced by muscle and menace. There is absolutely no mistaking the arrangement of cylinders in a Maserati Trofeo. Not from the outside, anyway.

On the inside, where there are soft leathers, Alcantara and carbon trim, it's a much more sedate affair. It's quiet, too, with the bass of the 3.8-litre engine purring up ahead felt in vibration alone, allowing you to appreciate what remains a pretty decent interior. It's a far cry from the all-digital surroundings we're now accustomed to, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Around the 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, complete with 2021 essentials like wireless Apple CarPlay, are actual buttons for the climate, drive mode and volume controls. There are analogue dials for rev counter and speedo, too, split by a small colour display between.


Even the steering wheel only bears a small smattering of visible buttons to control the adaptive cruise and instrument cluster display. More prominent are the pair of frosted aluminium extended shift paddles, which are mounted to the steering column immediately behind the fairly large diameter, but thin-rimmed wheel. Quite clearly, however, it's the engine that makes the most prominent first impression; not least because the footwell is narrowed by a wide transmission tunnel found only in the V8 models.

That means the pedals of the Trofeo are slightly offset, with the throttle close to the right side (in this UK spec car), forcing you to angle your legs accordingly. Not ideal, especially in a world where rivals are ergonomically spot on - although you do soon get used to it. The same is true for the seating position, which is higher at its lowest setting than the class norm for super saloons by a good couple of centimetres, but actually very comfortable when you're settled thanks largely to the chair's supportive shape. It's not overly bolstered or torso-pinching, either, which may please wider drivers - or those who prefer a little more wriggle room on longer drives. And you needn't worry about those in the back; this is a five-seater with limo-like legroom. The QP is 297mm longer than an M5, after all.

There are some key selling points in there already, then, although what really matters in the Trofeo is the presence of an engine hand-built by Ferrari. It only takes a tickle of throttle to know that the character is different to the V8s of BMW's M5 and Porsche's Panamera. It swells with performance rather than explodes out of the box, with progressive thrust that leaves it feeling acceptable but not particularly inspiring below 3,000rpm. We're accustomed now to engines that egg you on from low revs - this isn't one of them. It gives the impression of being less urgent than some others; that is, until you lower the window.


From the inside, the 3.8 never sounds as loud as you'd expect. It seems as much to do with factory-fit sound-deadening as it does any particulate filtering, and probably Maserati's commendable decision to not synthesise the engine through the speakers. That said, click from the normal 'I.C.E' setting into sport mode, and the opening of valves means the bass turns to a bellow and you're encouraged to work the engine. The steering slightly weights up and the damping tenses, too, although you can click the latter back to the softer setting, where the ride is supple and borderline wafty. In sport, the damping retains a long enough stroke to deal with big bumps, but there's a price to pay over smaller imperfections and drain covers.

It's absolutely worth nudging the gear selector to manual and taking control of the QP Trofeo's eight-speed yourself, partly because the gearbox is ultra-quick up and down the ratios, but also because of the paddles. The action is light but satisfying, with a proper click, meaning you engage with it physically. Taking control also prevents the 'box from automatically downshifting with every half squeeze of the right pedal, allowing you to savour the gradual growth in acceleration to the motor's 6,750rpm peak. Maximum torque is there from 2,250-5,250rpm, but you're rewarded in keeping the needle at the upper end of the counter because that's where things get thrilling. Plus, to achieve that 202mph top speed, the ratios are quite long.

Corsa mode automatically dials back the electronic safety net that's been keeping things in check, and you can turn the ESP off fully. Do this, and the central display turns orange, to remind you that all 580 horses are rear-bound without restraint. Up to a point, the mechanical grip provided by Continental Sport Contact rubber feels largely unbreakable, but it becomes clear the QP Trofeo can be an absolute hooligan if so desired.


That said, it never feels entirely interested in being a hunkered down performance machine like some of its rivals. The Maserati tilts in corners and asks for two strokes of the damper before it settles in quick direction changes, and the relative lack of bolstering in the seats means the lean is exacerbated. It'll go along a road hugely quickly, no doubt, but you're never fully immersed in the experience, with precious little communication via steering or chassis. Instead, you revel in the predictability of the V8's power and the satisfaction of the gearshift, playing with the throttle adjustability because the option is there. The QP Trofeo wouldn't know which way a Panamera Turbo or even rear-drive F90 M5 went - but you will likely not care.

It might be new, but the Quattroporte Trofeo was always destined to seem old fashioned. Not only is the platform eight years-old, but the deal with Ferrari is also set to expire next year, with a new Maserati-built V6 on the way. That means the Trofeo's lifespan will probably be short, the final hurrah of a closing V8 chapter. Of course, that doesn't mean this 580hp model won't make an impact while it's around, because there are genuine thrills to be had here. What lingers most fondly in the memory, though, is a big bruiser personality and old school charm it exudes from every pore. In an ever more digitalised automotive world on the brink of full electrification, it's a likeable throwback.


SPECIFICATION | MASERATI QUATTROPORTE TROFEO

Engine: 3,799cc, twin turbocharged V8
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 580@6,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 538@2,250-5,250rpm
0-62mph: 4.5sec
Top speed: 202mph
Weight: 2,000kg
MPG: 22.8
CO2: 280g/km
Price: ยฃ125,010 (price from; price as tested ยฃ136,060, including Grigio Maratea paintwork for ยฃ1,190, driver assistance tech pack for ยฃ3,190, Alcantara headlining for ยฃ1,275, Bowers and Wilkins sound system for ยฃ1,585, heated sport steering wheel for ยฃ265, rear privacy windows for ยฃ1,245, plus extra tax of ยฃ2,300)











Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

1,710 posts

183 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
You know, I actually could do it... the temptation is strong with this one.

chelme

1,188 posts

135 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Yup, but the Ghibli trofeo is the one I am looking forward to, the most.

Jcwjosh

510 posts

77 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Always had a soft spot for a maserati and this makes me want one even more.. one day !

Davy Jones

34 posts

14 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Have this over an M5 any day.

Turini

192 posts

131 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
This gen Quattroporte is my daily driver and this has much appeal, anything that’s reminiscent of the previous generation Sport GTS gets my nod

emperorburger

798 posts

31 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Fair play to them, although I doubt they will get anywhere near to the lofty 4,000 odd sales of the Lancia 8.32. Much like the Lancia, this may prove to be a rare secondhand curio for the future.

pauloroberto

192 posts

116 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
It’s a yes from me, but I would want to delete the red vents which are a little ostentatious for my taste.

urquattroGus

1,470 posts

155 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
I read this whole review quite quickly thinking it was the Ghibli and not the Quattroporte, oops, hope the Ghibli is a bit sharper to drive than this.

The Mad Monk

8,449 posts

82 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
I mean - what could possibly go wrong?

jontysafe

2,241 posts

143 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Agree with the article. Engine is a great thing and in sport with the windows down driving around the Marina in Dubai the way the exhaust echoes off the surrounding buildings is very alluring. Car is unfortunately quite aloof and not really happy at being hustled round the bends but there aren`t many here anyway.
It kinda suits Dubai but I wouldn`t have in UK. Mine is a lesser GTS version but live mapped to 600bhp. One thing I will say is that the Maerati`s thermal management is NOT good. The intercoolers are too small.

Alex_225

4,340 posts

166 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
pauloroberto said:
It’s a yes from me, but I would want to delete the red vents which are a little ostentatious for my taste.
That was the only thing I thought as well as otherwise it's a lovely looking car and very subtle but with some menace.

You'd hope the red bits were optional. smile

Onehp

1,603 posts

248 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Nice with a review of a non-german, it oozes charm and character mostly wholly absent with the Germans, actual performance rarely matters.

That said, that 2000kg weight figure looks very 'Ferrari', as in, when put on actual scales, it will probably weigh in at around 2200-2250kg which goes some way in explaining the driver experience. Which incidentally isn't much more than a Merc or a Panamera, just don't be fooled it is 'lighter'. That is reserved to the M5 (CS) as the lighter one in class.

Davey S2

12,569 posts

219 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
The Mad Monk said:
I mean - what could possibly go wrong?
Other than depreciation very little. They're well built cars these days.


Maldini35

2,716 posts

153 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
That's more like it Maserati!

blackrabbit

572 posts

10 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
I really like this.

Quickmoose

4,153 posts

88 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Yes get that pwerplant in there!!


Put any other badge on that and the styling either wouldn't be noticed or openly chastised, so next on the agenda, please retire your ex-Infiniti/Kia designers. Thanks

andy43

7,323 posts

219 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Red clip-on wing vents look like chinese ebay tat but other than that lick

BigChiefmuffinAgain

478 posts

63 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
Very left field choice. As the writer said, it's basically an 8 yr old car which wasn't very well received when new... Very much a heart over head one, particularly with the epic depreciation.

Suspect a very late model of the previous generation would be a better idea. More timeless styling, more engaging and not going to fall much, if any, more in value....

Funkstar De Luxe

535 posts

148 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
The red vents... those are a mistake.

Quite a generic looking thing otherwise. I'm sure the engine is great, but lets put it in a decent chassis next time.

Court_S

4,640 posts

142 months

Thursday 29th April
quotequote all
On the fence about it a bit; it’s a great engine bit it’s a slightly odd looking car. The red bits are a bit naff.

Quite like the interior though which seems to have blended tech with sensible stuff like buttons reasonably well.

Agree with the poster who said it’s a heart over head decision. The M5 gets panned for depreciation but I can’t help feel that this would be even worse.