Italian express has bite
New GT S is potent but expensive, writes NEIL DOWLING
ITALY’S four-door Maserati express lives up to its GT nameplate and upholds the company’s rich racing history. With its 323kW, 4.7-litre V8 borrowed from the GranTurismo S, the new Quattroporte Sport GT S’s bite is as potent as its bark. But be prepared for a premium price. At $338,900, and on-road costs, the Sport GT S is $15,100 more than the similar capacity, yet less powerful, Quattroporte S.
Pay the extra and you get the additional 6kW and a smidgeon off the 0-100km/h sprint, a firmer chassis, sharper gearbox and an exhaust note to chill your spine.
The latest four-door plans to be a standardbearer for the company, says the general manager of Maserati in Australia, Ed Butler.
‘‘The Quattroporte is clearly one of the standard-setters,’’ he says. ‘‘It is the most successful car Maserati has produced.
‘‘It has captured not just the attention of car buyers but has set a benchmark for an exclusive performance saloon. It has something other car- makers are now rushing to emulate. The Sport GT S lifts the benchmark again.’’
The Sport GT S is the third Quattroporte version. The range starts with the Quattroporte 4.2 litre at $296,000 and lifts to the $323,800 Quattroporte S and the Sport GT S.
The 285km/h top speed of the Sport GT S is 5km/h more than the Quattroporte S and trims the 0-100km/h dash to 5.1 seconds from 5.2.
The V8’s mapping has been tuned so, like the GranTurismo S, it pumps 323kW at 7000rpm. It has a ‘‘sport’’ mode that opens exhaust system valves, ostensibly to reduce back pressure to obtain extra power, but realistically so it sounds like a mechanical symphony.
The recent launch of the Quattroporte Sport GT S also makes the MC-Auto Shift’s debut. Maserati says the gearbox is the closest an automatic transmission has come to offering the instant response of sequential manual.
But unlike an electronic clutch, it has seamless and smooth gear shifts.
Under the body, the Sport GT S gets a single-setting racing-style suspension system.
Compared with the S model, it has singlerate dampers, stiffer springs — up 30 per cent at the front and 10 per cent at the back — and a 10mm/25mm lower front/rear ride height.
The brake upgrades are to a 360mm ironaluminium disc and Brembo six-piston caliper set for all wheels.