Maserati reveals new Quattroporte ahead of Detroit auto show

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Under Fiat stewardship and Ferrari's unparalleled engineering brain trust, Maserati has grown out of an undeniably rich albeit parentally convoluted racing and road car history to what is now one of the world's more prestigious and relevant premium automotive brands. Situated above luxury marques such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Maserati once again flirts with the likes of Aston Martin and Porsche, but Fiat has even bigger plans for the Trident brand in coming years.

As part of a growth strategy that will see the Italian marque increase to 50,000 annual sales by 2015, Maserati will introduce its sixth-generation Quattroporte sport-luxury sedan at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Well ahead of the event, however, and even before the Los Angeles Auto Show takes place later this month, the automaker has released photos and some details about the upcoming car.

The Quattroporte will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, an ideal opportunity to offer an all-new design that pulls numerous styling cues from both the outgoing model and the beautiful GranTurismo Coupe. To Maserati faithful, the design is a dramatic departure from the fifth-generation Quattroporte that will have been with us for 9 years by the time this new one takes over. This is most noticeable up front where it's hood and vented fenders swoop back from a classically proportioned low, wide waterfall grille. Its elegantly shaped headlamp clusters pay tribute to the two-door Maserati too, while the lower front valance appears heavily influenced by the higher performance GranTurismo MC.

Maserati hasn't strayed from the outgoing model's sporty four-door coupe silhouette, although it features what appears to be a more sharply canted windshield and sleeker rear roofline, while moving the rear wheel cutouts aft of the back doors is a clear sign that its wheelbase has grown to accommodate more legroom and likely a larger trunk. This allows for shorter overhangs too, enhancing its sporting stance, and of course a longer wheelbase improves ride quality.

Also paying homage to the success of the GranTurismo Coupe, the new Quattroporte's taillights transform from a vertical wrap-over design to new horizontal wrap-around LEDs, a simple yet tasteful alternative that should be more readily acceptable to a larger target market. Classic Maserati script is applied to the trunk lid, underscored by a chrome strip formed with a subtle "v" at centre to highlight another trademark Trident-brand design cue. The look mixes refined taste with expected performance, and should be received very well.

Likewise, the new Quattroporte's cabin continues to sport a four-seat layout, the two rear buckets offering a limousine-like level of comfort and features. A large centre console splits the two, with controls for seat adjustment, heating and ventilation, audio/video (which includes large monitors at the back of each front seat headrest), and more. A similar seating setup is offered to the driver and front passenger, the former getting an attractive two-tier instrument panel while both share a large touchscreen infotainment screen on the centre stack.

"Inside, the design of the Quattroporte aims at essentiality, stressing the simplicity of lines and the full functionality of the in-board instrumentation," commented Lorenzo Ramaciotti, Head of Maserati Design Center. "Functional elements are blended with soft quality surfaces made of prestigious woods and refined leathers."

Maserati is hush about what lay under the new Quattroporte's long, curvaceous hood, but the car's "QP 530 HP" rear license plate hints at a great deal more output than currently offered; a gain of 105-horsepower over the current car's 425, to be exact. This would come from an "all-new next generation powertrain," says the associated press release, mostly likely a V8, and unlike old rumours have suggested, Maserati's relationship with Ferrari is totally sound.

"The innovative Maserati proprietary engines of the all-new Maserati Quattroporte have all been designed and developed by Maserati and Ferrari engineers in the heart of Italy's motor valley," said Paolo Martinelli, Maserati Powertrain Director. "As a matter of fact, they are going to be produced in the Ferrari plant in Maranello that has been synonymous with cutting-edge technology and passion for well over 60 years."

Martinelli goes on to promise more advanced powertrain technologies to help Maserati engines be "more eco-friendly than ever before," which coincides with rumours of a supercharged V6 that reportedly makes upwards of 420-horsepower. To enhance both fuel economy and performance, an eight-speed automatic transmission will likely replace the current ZF-developed six-speed autobox.

"The results is the all-new Maserati Quattroporte, a luxury sports sedan that reaches new heights in terms of performance and handling, driving enjoyment as well as respect of the world we live in: the best performance ever in the long history of Maserati's four-door flagship sedan are matched by the unprecedented success in the quest for an eco-friendly automobile," said Roberto Corradi, Maserati Vehicle Development Director.

Maserati is certainly aiming its trademark Trident at the heart of the ultra-premium sport-luxury sedan segment with the all-new Quattroporte. Stay tuned for more details closer to the Detroit auto show in January.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sport Sedan, Four-Door Coupe, Luxury Sedan, Maserati, 2013, 2014, Quattroporte, $99,999+,

Geographic location: Detroit

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