In life, there are several purchases that make you feel accomplished: the first dinner you bought for your sweetheart when you started working part-time while in high school; the first all-new vehicle you drove off the dealership’s lot post-college graduation; the first housing investment that either sufficed as a temporary residence or that you turned into a life-long home.
There are very few purchases in life that can make you feel distinguished.
Though I didn’t have the pleasure to buy a 2014 Maserati Quattroporte, my test drive served as a thrilling appetizer of success. It provided an ephemeral notion of the distinction that arises from owning the Trident marque. Yes, I enjoyed other test drives in vehicles produced for luxury or performance, but all were eclipsed once the engine roared to life. You’ll read many reviews of a car that refer to clichés like “power” and “prestige”; it is, however, difficult to capture what this car offers without employing a bit of overused automotive jargon.
What I will say is this: the Quattroporte knows no humility, and every piece of it emits an unforgiving confidence that one might describe as hubris – but, to be fair, it’s only hubris if it fails to deliver.
Maserati of Raleigh has its own personality. There exists a pulsing vibe from the collective enthusiasm of both employees and consumers alike, and it remained powerful despite the incredible quiet that pervades the showroom. Viewing a Maserati requires the same silent reverence that museum-goers display while admiring rare art.
You may find other Maserati stores in the state, but there’s only one that accurately captures the essence of the brand and expresses the keystones that have made the Italian automaker so incredibly successful for more than 100 years: commitment, excellence, beauty (to name only a few). It is more than a store, a dealership, an outlet. Maserati of Raleigh is a destination.
I don’t want to inundate you with describing the Quattroporte. Any combination of adjectives and adverbs would still fall far short of the narrative it deserves. I figured that I would pepper this article with various pictures that will illustrate what it is that I saw, those things I delighted in seeing while I drove. Instead, my aim is to express what driving a 2014 Maserati Quattroporte feels like. That’s the missing element I didn’t truly understand until I climbed behind the wheel of one and actually gripped the supple leather steering wheel.
There are fast cars, then there are sports cars. My (yes, I’ll refer to this gorgeous one as mine) Quattroporte S Q4 could generate 345 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. In other words, if you want this stud to go, it can go. When you pop it into Sport Mode because, well, that’s where it belongs, the crackles and brawny rumble that accompany the engine’s gorgeous crescendo are sources of immediate gratification. Accelerating in a QP is like reading a good novel: the rising action of roaring – almost turbulent – activity hits its zenith and a smooth denouement comprise an incredible journey.
On part of the test-drive route, I hopped on Route 540 for a quick jaunt on the outskirts of Raleigh. Nestled into the ample, solid leather seats, I felt prepared to test the car’s limits. [Side note: When I say solid, I don’t mean uncomfortable. Think of a comfortable leather baseball glove. It protects and remains hardy while providing great cushioning.] When I punched the accelerator, I managed to overtake the following six vehicles before I even had the opportunity to switch my foot to the brake.
I easily passed by motorists by, quite literally, curling my toes. My right foot and the Quattroporte’s capabilities are an amazing marriage of fun and performance. It behooved me to remain cognizant of not allowing my foot to turn to lead because that 369 lb-ft of torque is engaged instantaneously.
Warning: Should you decide to test a Quattroporte’s 0-60 ability, be certain to brace your head against the headrest and do not breathe in as you jam the accelerator to the floor. Just trust me.
If a car is unwieldy, then there’s not much point giving it a lot of power. Fortunately, Maserati placed as much emphasis on handling as it did on power. While I couldn’t exactly gauge the precision of the Quattroporte’s handling on the highway, for I was also too busy with white knuckling speed, it seemed prudent to find a suitable exit and discover more of this car’s capabilities. On the way back, the Louisburg Road exit seemed to be a fine choice.
Taking Louisburg Road to New Hope Road did two things: first, it provided lower speed driving through neighborhood roads that gave great insight to practical driving; second, there were only two turns and the routes themselves didn’t have any surprises (e.g. unexpected sharp turns) that would make someone feel uncomfortable during a test drive.
Still, there’s plenty of bend in the roadway along this path to sate any appetite for meandering asphalt. The wheel felt tight, providing excellent feedback from the road without making the ride “bumpy” or uncomfortable. I felt as though I had absolute control over the car’s direction and its immediate responsiveness to any changes in direction. Sitting low to the ground afforded me an opportunity to get an actual feel for driving, which is something uncommon in so many models that separate driver from experience.
Braking in a Maserati, with those gorgeous red calipers perfectly contrasting the dark grey exterior, might be even smoother than silk – there’s that rascally cliché rearing its head. There are no brake assists or lazy-driver-radar-sensing-cars-ahead gadgets that take control from me, the driver. I’m solely responsible for how the car operates, a characteristic of this brand that I love. Brake hard for an immediate, unrelenting stop that makes you grateful for standard safety features like seatbelts.
Along Capital Boulevard on the way to 540 – nothing wrong with a little backtracking in my story – every stop light yielded one of two interactions. Here are the scenarios you’ll have to be aware of encountering were you to purchase Maserati’s flagship sedan:
- Sitting at the light, you hear commotion and look out one of the side windows to see people flashing photographs while clambering over each other to catch a glimpse. They’ll also simultaneously request, rather hurriedly, that you lower the window to speak with about the car. Questions range from “What do you do?” to “How sweet is that ride?”
- Sitting at the light, you hear nothing. As most people casually do at stop lights, you’ll look around … and notice people silently gawking at the car. As you drive off from the light, they’re sitting still, missing the light, and continue to gawk.
Yes, the clamberers and the gawkers. Those two fine examples of people’s reactions when they see a 2014 Maserati Quattroporte “out in the wild.”
I don’t need to review the design or tell you every aspect of how this car operates. You likely want to know how powerful it is and how easy it is to manage on the road. It’s like a prize pony: you keep it healthy, show it off when necessary, and just admire it as much as possible.
In case you are a bit more of a gearhead, here is a brief list of specs…
- Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes
- Rear mechanical limited-slip differential
- Electronic traction control
- Series of airbags: front driver, front passenger, front side, front and rear curtain
- Height adjustable driver and passenger front seat belts with pre-tensioners
- Powertrain: Turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 DOHC and variable valve timing
- Power: 345 horsepower at 5,500 rpm; 369 ft-lb of torque at 1,750 rpm
- Engine: 3.0L V 6 DOHC and variable valve timing
- Direct injection
- Independent front wishbone suspension with stabilizer bar and coil springs, independent rear multi-link suspension with stabilizer bar and coil springs