Ital­ian ex­press has bite

New GT S is po­tent but ex­pen­sive, writes NEIL DOWL­ING

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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