First Drive: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 maserati luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 maserati luxury cars first drives
2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Balocco, Italy – An Italian cat with a nove lives, Maserati has skirted the Grim Reaper more than a few times in its almost 100-year history.

Of course, this storied Modena-based automaker has had its share of mercurial highs. One of the earliest Maseratis won the 1926 Targa Florio. There were back-to-back Indianapolis 500 wins in 1939 and 1940. Juan-Manuel Fangio took the 1957 World Championship in the famed 250F. The Tipo 61 Birdcage was an engineering and aesthetic marvel.

All this tempered by numerous owners and bankruptcies. And we won’t mention the 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati, which was nothing more than a chintzy K-Car convertible. Ooops… just did. Maserati’s salvation came in 1993 when it was taken under Fiat’s corporate wing. Ferrari took full control of Maserati in 1999.

None of these historical tidbits were rattling around the old cranium while riding shotgun in the all-new 2014 Quattroporte S Q4 with Maserati driving instructor and rally ace Walter Balestrero at the wheel. Blasting around the wonderful road course at the Balocco Proving Grounds, with the snow-capped Alps as a backdrop, he caught some serious air off a blind crest coming off a sharp lefthander. We landed in a dip, immediately rising up to another quick left followed by a series of sweepers. Challenging stuff for any car, let alone a full-sized luxury sedan.

He danced. The Maser danced. My Italian lunch danced.

And the point of this exercise? To show the assembled journalists that, despite this Quattroporte’s new class-competitive girth, AWD and twin-turbo 3.0L V6, it hasn’t lost the core passione that makes a Maserati a Maserati.

But let’s backtrack a bit.

Maserati is planning a revolution. In 2015 they hope to move 50,000 units. That’s up from last year’s 6,200 total worldwide sales.

Huh?

First Drive: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 maserati luxury cars first drives First Drive: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 maserati luxury cars first drives
2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4. Click image to enlarge

Three vehicles give this admittedly optimistic forecast some credence – the upcoming Ghibli mid-size sedan, the upcoming Jeep-based Levante SUV, and this all-new sixth-generation Quattroporte sedan in V6 all-wheel-drive guise that arrives in Canada early July with a $108,500 list.

A few months ago Maserati launched the $148,150 523-hp 3.8L turbo-V8 Quattroporte GTS. That car is rear-drive only.

This all-wheel-drive S Q4 variant is expected to account for 60 to 65 percent of Quattroporte sales and move the car from boutique oddity to mainstream contender – stealing more than just a few sales from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8.




About Peter

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