First Drive: 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S maserati luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S maserati luxury cars first drives
2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2009 Maserati Quattroporte

Modena, Italy – The Italians know a thing or two about passion. A glass of fine barolo paired with a plate of pasta putanesca (supposedly used by “ladies of the evening” to lure potential customers) will quickly convince one of that. And don’t even think about arguing with an Italian woman.

Then there are the cars. We all know Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo et al have created some of the most achingly desirable exotics extant. But what about the four-door premium sport sedan?

The Pininfarina-penned Maserati Quattroporte (even “four doors” sounds alluring in Italian) proves the large luxury sedan need not be stoic, imposing or contentious. How about bold, curvaceous and enduringly beautiful? If Sophia Loren were a car…

Launched in 2003, and first sold in Canada in 2005, this looker initially had a few issues. The ride was flinty, the dry sump Ferrari-sourced 400-horsepower 4.2-litre V8 was too rorty, and the rear-mounted F1-style six-speed shifted harshly. Not exactly what most buyers of this class of car were looking for; so Maserati has been gradually teaching the Quattroporte a few manners.

The V8 went from dry sump to wet sump, and the racy transaxle was replaced with a six-speed auto bolted to the engine (a collaboration of Maserati and German tranny specialist ZF). An optional “Skyhook” active damper system smoothed out the ride.

Now the folks at Maserati have decided it’s high time to inject some extra “passione” into their flagship sedan. Topping out the 2009 range is the $179,900 Quattroporte Sport GT S, a harder-edged version of the $169,900 4.7-litre Quattroporte S that was introduced last year. It gets a 12-horsepower boost, to 433 hp at 7000 r.p.m. (torque remains 361 lb.-ft. at 4750 r.p.m.), modified ZF six-speed auto operated by larger paddle shifters, 20-inch alloys, and heavily revised underpinnings. The zero-to-100 km/h dash drops by 0.3 seconds to 5.1.

With the Sport GT S, Maserati isn’t gunning for the mega-horsepower bahn-stormers like Mercedes’ AMG products. It’s targeting drivers who would prefer to jump off the autostrada and take a more sinuous route to their destination.

And so I found myself doing just that, leaving the arterial A14 in northern Italy and heading east over a series of wonderfully challenging roads that cut through small villages and endless vineyards.




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).