- Available for £22,000
- 3.0 V6 twin-turbo petrol or turbodiesel, or 3.8 V8 twin-turbo petrol, rear-wheel drive
- GTS does four-second 0-62 times in a limo-sized package
- No major mechanical or electrical fears
- Ride can feel stiff and some interior materials might disappoint
- V8s have dropped from £116k new to under £30k
Maserati Quattroporte. The lyricism of the Italian language makes this one of those car names that just trips off the tongue. So what if it only meant 'four doors'. The Quattroporte was a high-luxury saloon that was designed to be driven like a sports car.
The first rear-wheel-drive type 107 Quattroporte of 1963 was designed by Frua, built by Vignale, and powered by a choice of two Maserati V8 engines, a 4.1 or a 4.7. The second iteration of 1976 was built under the aegis of Citroen, who had bought Maserati. Nobody liked the front-wheel-drive, Bertone-styled Mk 2 with its SM-based 3.0 V6 and hydro-pneumatic suspension. The bankruptcy of Citroen and Maserati put paid to it with only 13 cars built.
The third Quat of 1979 under the new management of De Tomaso reverted to rear-drive and a 4.2 or 4.9 litre Maserati V8, with era-typical styling by Giugiaro. This was much more successful, running from 1979 to 1990 before De Tomaso sold his interest to Fiat, which commissioned Gandini to draw up the fourth Quattroporte. This model, which reverted to front-wheel drive, went on sale in 1994 with a twin-turbo V6 and (a couple of years later) a twin-turbo V8.
The fifth version of 2003 was basically a longer four-door version of the rear-wheel-drive, Pininfarina-styled Coupe, with normally aspirated Ferrari-Maserati V8 engines of 4.2 or 4.7 litres. Although the previous Quattroportes all had a certain period charm and the QP hallmark of beautiful cabins, the Mk 5's sales appeal was widened somewhat through its association with the very popular Coupes.
By 2010 however, Mk 5 Quattroporte sales had dropped from a peak of over 1,500 a year to under 500. The Mk 6 M156 replacement that debuted at the Detroit show in early 2013 came out of the Fiat Centro Stile design house and was built on an extended new Ghibli chassis. In terms of size, it was up there with the S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8, but it was lighter and more efficient than the Mk 5. The model's historic to- and fro-ing between front and rear-wheel drive continued with a third reversion to back to the rear.
All Mk 6s had the ubiquitous ZF 8HP70 8-speed auto. This time around though there was also the option of Q4 all-wheel drive - but only on left-hand drive models - using the Ghibli system with a transfer case attached to the ZF box.
As with the Mk 4, Mk 6 petrol engine formats were biturbo V6 or biturbo V8, along with a Europe-only V6 turbodiesel with 275hp and 443lb ft that was released later in 2013 at the Frankfurt show. A lower-powered 3.0 petrol V6 with 345hp and 369lb ft, a 5.5 sec 0-62 time and a top speed of 168mph came out in 2016, but the initial range-launching petrols in 2014 were the S with 404hp and 406lb ft, a 5.1sec 0-62 (or 4.9sec in the all-wheel drive S Q4) and a 177mph top speed (176mph in the Q4) alongside the rear-wheel drive only GTS which had a 3.8 litre biturbo V8 with 530hp and 479lb ft and up to 524lb ft on overboost. Its 0-62 time was 4.7sec and its top speed 191mph, or 4.5sec/203mph in the 572hp/538lb ft Trofeo special edition.
A 2016MY facelift brought styling and equipment changes, including the addition of Blind Spot and Rear Cross Path alerts and the introduction of the diesel's stop-start system to the petrol cars. Post 2018 3.0 V6 petrols received power-ups to 424hp/428lb ft, knocking a tenth of a second off the 0-62 times of both RWD and AWD versions.
Remarkably, you can get high-mileage Mk 5 Quattroportes for under £10,000 now, like this rather splendid £8,000 example on PH Classifieds. https://www.pistonheads.com/buy/listing/11594153 If you'd like to know more about the Mk 5 cars, here's Alisdair Suttie's guide on them.
The Mk 6s that we're looking at today are more expensive than the 5s, but not by as much as you might think. Around £22,000 will get you a 65,000-mile diesel, £27,000 a 45,000-mile 3.0 S petrol, and GTS V8s start at under £30k. View it as a faux Giulia Quadrifoglio with more weight but also more interior space and it looks like a lot of car for the money. Especially when you bear in mind that the diesel when new was £70k, the S was nearly £83k and the GTS a whopping £116k, while today's new Quattroportes range from just under £88,000 to £128,000 for the GTS's 2021 equivalent, the 575hp Trofeo 3.8 V8.
Do those low-sounding used prices flatter to deceive, though? Is there any truth to the rumours that the 'big bits' (bodies and engines) were tough but that other complications lay in wait for the unwary buyer lured in by the sculpted lines and Maserati mystique? Let's dip in and find out.
SPECIFICATION | MASERATI QUATTROPORTE VI M156 (2014-on)
Engine: 3,799cc V8 32v twin turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 530@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 479 @2,250-3,500rpm (524 on overboost)
0-62mph: 4.7 secs
Top speed: 191mph
Tyres: 245/45 (f), 285/35 (r)
On sale: 2014 - now
Price new: £115,980 (GTS)
Price now: from £22,000 (not a GTS)
(Figures given are for GTS V8 model)
Note for reference: car weight and power data are hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it's wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
Both petrol engines were powered by twin-turbo direct-injection Maserati designs that were put together at Ferrari's Maranello plant. Some might be tempted to classify the V8 as the only one worth going for, but that would be a mistake as both cars feel decidedly rapid on the road. The difference in the 0-62 times was only 0.4sec (4.7 vs 5.1), and the crossplane V8, though quick, might not always feel like it had 530hp. Weight was a factor in dulling the Quat's performance edge. The V8 wasn't a light car at 1,900kg. The V6 S was only 40kg lighter, and the diesel was actually 25kg heavier.
Despite forced aspiration, the V8 didn't reach its power peak until 6,800rpm, just 400rpm short of the limiter, but with up to 524lb ft available on overboost and nearly 480lb ft in normal use from 2,250 to 3,500rpm you really didn't need to bother hanging onto the revs in order to go quickly. Relative to the V8, the V6 S was a more relaxed kind of beast, the maximum torque coming on stream from just 1,750rpm. That made it feel fast even at slow speeds, if you get what's meant there, but there was some discernible turbo lag at higher revs.
Crucially, however, the V8 was 100hp more powerful than even the souped-up 2018-on V6 S. That plus the enhanced character of the noise the V8 made from its trapezoidal exhausts when the pneumatic valves were wide open, and the fact that it was at the time the world's fastest production saloon at 191mph, makes it the PHer's Quattroporte of choice. The Mk 5 was arguably even more tuneful than either of the Mk 6 offerings and you paid for your VI V8 fun with worse fuel consumption, although it wasn't that much worse than the V6 at 26.4mpg vs 29.4mpg. The tank held 80 litres (or 17.7 gallons).
The diesel was clearly a diesel at idle but it smoothed out well on the move and its 6.4sec 0-62 performance, excellent midrange, 46mpg official average and 163g/km emissions made it the wisest choice for most UK Quattroporte buyers. Quattroporte timing was by chain, not belt.
All Quat VIs came with limited slip diffs and the aforementioned ZF 8HP70 8-speed auto trans that had an excellent reputation for reliability and fast, intuitive gearchanging. The three transmission modes on the VI were Normal (auto and manual), Sport (also auto or manual) and auto-only ICE (Increased Control and Efficiency), which provided a softer throttle map for economy and/or bad road conditions. According to some sources, Sport mode accelerated upshifts but slowed downshifts. When coming to a halt in ICE mode some owners found that their Maserati would switch into Park and turn itself off, but that wasn't common. A 2017 recall on 2014MY cars sorted out a false impression given by the gear lever that the car was in Park when it actually wasn't. The lever action in general was a bit clunky.
Italian electronics are no longer an easy joke but the sheer number of electrical features in luxury cars like these makes it important to check that they all work. Sometimes not all the aircon vents will function correctly. There was a recall at the end of 2015 to sort out incorrectly installed wiring to the alternator-starter, and 2014 and 2015 cars were recalled in 2017 to rectify a potential leak from a fuel pipe. Resistors for GTS low pressure fuel pumps were replaced under recall in early 2018 to loss of power.
We could only find fifteen Maserati dealers in the UK, with none in Wales and none west of Southampton in the south-west of England, so you might want to bear that in mind when it comes to ease of servicing. Service intervals are 12 months/12,500 for diesels and 24 months/12,000 miles for petrols. Fiat Chrysler didn't offer a Ferrari-style 'free servicing for seven years' deal on Maseratis. H R Owen (who have two places in London and another in Manchester) offer a Maserati Maintenance Programme but it's for new cars only and has to be bought with a one-off payment before the first service. That payment is around £2,000 for the cost of three services over 36 months and includes 'checks and replacement operations' including labour and consumables (lubes, fluids). For a little over £4,000 you could have the 'Plus' package which would add in one fitment of new brake discs and pads and wiper blades in the 36-month period.
Some OE Maserati parts will fall into the 'how much??' category but generally speaking, they're not too bad if you buy from someone like Scuderia Parts.
The Quat's 317cm wheelbase was longer than that of the long-wheelbase Jaguar XJ, which back then was one of the main targets for the Maserati in the big sporting saloon market. It was never going to be easy combining the conflicting elements of straight-line stability-boosting limo length and plush comfort with sporty driving manners, but the Quat made a reasonably good fist of it.
Front/rear weight distribution was 50/50 even in the all-wheel-drive variants, and the widespread use of aluminium in the wishbone front/multilink rear suspension meant that the V6 in particular presented a balance of comfort and command response that the harder-riding V8 couldn't quite match.
Skyhook was Maserati's name for continuous sensor-controlled damping. In Normal mode the system was a bit dumb, allowing the Quat to squirm and drop into road holes with a thump and deliver quite a nobbly low-speed ride for the size of car. Sport was meant to add extra body control, but the positive effects of that weren't massively obvious. The electric speed-variable steering that was standard across the range wasn't that inspiring, lacking in feedback and in consistency of weighting.
Tyres wear out quite quickly. New OE dampers for a GTS are around £550 each. Brembo brakes were a 'dual-cast' combination of iron and aluminium. Replacement discs aren't too expensive at around £300 but new calipers can cost up to £1,000 each. Normal wheel size was 19in, while GranLusso cars had 20in wheels as standard with 21in wheels in GranSport models. OE replacement 21in wheels can be as much as £1,500 a go. 19in wheels might not be as smart looking as the bigger ones but they help to keep the ride comfort manageable.
Opinion is divided on Fiat's corporate restyle of the Quattroporte VI. It looks purposeful from the front but rather anonymous from the rear. Many of the body panels - the front wings, doors, bonnet and boot lid - were made of aluminium. The doors were soft-close in GranLusso spec, and pillarless in all specs, which was quite cool, but the initial glass-lowering and raising mechanism when you opened and closed the door could malfunction. Holding the button in for three seconds after the window has lifted and then repeating that operation twice more was supposed to reset the mech. The 'vents' in the wings were fake, which wasn't so cool.
GranSport models were the sporty choice, visually anyway, with big bumpers, glossy black side skirts framing the 21in alloys with red brake calipers.
If you were coming to the Maserati from a different marque the operation of the sunroof (standard from the S model up) could seem noisy. The door locking system was meant to make it impossible for the doors to shut you out if the keyfob was left inside the car but there have been reports of this happening on Maseratis of this era.
Maserati was trying hard to sell the Mk 6 to a bigger market, not just to owner/drivers but also to those who liked to check their share portfolios in the back while someone else took care of the menial driving stuff up front. Thanks to its extra width and the big wheelbase referred to in the Chassis section - it was longer and wider than the S-Class or the Panamera - the Mk 6 had quite a bit more room in the back than the Mk 5. Heated rear seats were a reasonably priced option at under £350. Some new buyers paid £4,400 extra for the two-seat rear layout which allowed rear passengers to adjust not only the ventilation and the position of their own seats but also the position of the front passenger seat. The VI had a usefully large 530 litre boot too, 80 litres more than the V, and you could fold up the back seats to increase that further, so it had the potential to be a practical and comfortable car for long trips.
The cabin of the regular (non-GranLusso, non-GranSport) Quattroporte looked fine from a distance, and all Quats had decent interior fit and finish with a choice of five wood types and a range of leathers and a level of seat comfort that was up there with the best from Germany and the UK. Some of the materials and switchgear did reflect the cheapening effect that dripped down from Fiat's 2011 buyout of Chrysler, but to give it its due, that plan appears to be reinvigorating Maserati sales, if not the Maserati brand. Standard kit included Maserati's then-new (and easy to use) 8.4 inch MTC touchscreen display with sat-nav, eight-way electric seats, ambient lighting, adaptive cruise, dual-zone climate control, classic oval dash clock, Mafia-approved power sunblind and the Quattroporte's neat trick of being able to reset the position of the pedals via a joystick button under the seat - but that was only available on left-hand-drive cars.
The GTS only came in GranLusso or GranSport flavours. In 'exclusive' GranLusso spec, styled by designer clothier Ermenegildo Zegna, the cabin was stuffed with leather, wood and silk. The seats were leather with silk inserts. The 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio option was standard (with a 1,280 watt 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins system available as a further option), plus you got those all-round heated seats. GranSport cars had different seats, a sports steering wheel with paddle shifters, and piano black interior trim. There were various Nerissimo packs which centred around black body paint and shadow chrome for grille, side vent and boot trim pieces.
Early versions of the infotainment system struggled to link up consistently with Bluetooth on older mobile phones. Although the Quat in general and the V8 in particular sounded great from the outside, the sonic 'enhancements' generated by the Maserati Active Sound system didn't appeal to everyone. There was a recall on some 2014-16 cars to fix a potentially dangerous coming-together issue between the floor mat and the throttle pedal. A bulge in the footwells on either side of the central console can cause lower-half twisting and discomfort for some front seat passengers.
There's much less reason to fear Italian cars these days, and the list of common problems on the gen-six Quattroporte is gratifyingly short. The cold efficiency of the German opposition means that buying a Quattroporte will still feel like a heart purchase but if you're looking for something a bit different, this Maserati could be a serious box-ticker that you might have never previously considered.
The V8 GTS's high price made it an especially difficult choice when new, but the passage of time plus punishing depreciation has compressed values across the range, so shelling out for a GTS is much easier now. Having said that, the V6 petrol sounds good too and delivers a more relaxed sort of drive. The ride on all Quats is borderline firm, especially on cars with 20 or 21in wheels, but the seats are comfy and the core reliability seems good, so if you can dodge the bigger potholes, it's an entirely viable option for the family motorist.
The most affordable car on PH Classifieds at the time of writing was this 2016 3.0 diesel with 67,000 miles on the clock and a five-stamp service book. The sixth stamp will be for the big (four-figure) service at 75,000 miles, which could partly explain the attractive £21,980 price.
Just under £31k buys you this very smart looking 2015 3.0 V6 S in Grigio with tan leather and just 17,000 miles recorded, but for a fiver under £30k you could be kicking up a hornalicious V8 racket in this early 51,000-mile GTS. The ad is light on pics, possibly because the car has been tightly wedged between an Aygo and something equally proletarian, but at this money it's surely intriguing enough for you to spend time finding a thin chap to get in it and pull it out for your inspection.
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