Pin­na­cle pres­ence AT A GLANCE

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FIVE THINGS - CHRIS RI­LEY

MASERATI has ex­panded its Qu­at­tro­porte line-up, adding two mod­els and a pow­er­ful V6.

Once the brand’s best­seller, the sedan has been eclipsed in re­cent years by the smaller, cheaper Ghi­bli. The Le­vante SUV, due next year, is ex­pected to take over as sales cham­pion but Maserati Aus­tralia boss Glenn Sealey says the four-door re­mains a key model.

“It’s so im­por­tant to us that a ve­hi­cle like the Qu­at­tro­porte, which has been around since 1963, main­tains a strong in­di­vid­ual pres­ence,” he says. “The Qu­at­tro­porte GTS GranS­port is still the pin­na­cle of the range.”

Prices for the new model, which looks re­mark­ably like the old one, start from $210,000 for the diesel, $215,000 for the V6 and $345,000 for the V8.

Ri­vals in­clude the Audi A8, BMW 7 Se­ries, Benz S-Class, Jaguar XJ and Porsche Panam­era — all of which kick off from about $200K.

Maserati has sold 458 cars here so far this year, slightly less than in 2015, and 50 of them were Qu­at­tro­portes.

The range kicks off with a 202kW 3.0-litre turbo diesel that uses 6.2L/100km and can sprint from rest to 100km/h in 6.4 sec­onds.

It’s fol­lowed by two twin­turbo petrol V6s, one with 257kW/500Nm, the other with 302kW/550Nm.

The first does the dash in 5.5 sec­onds, while the sec­ond is good for 5.1 sec­onds.

The 390kW/650Nm V8 ups the ante with a sprint time of 4.7 sec­onds.

The new V6 com­mands a $25,000 pre­mium, pow­er­ing the Qu­at­tro­porte S from $240,000, with the sport fo­cused GranS­port from $274,000 and lux­ury GranLusso model from $279,000.

As with most high-end cars, no one buys a stan­dard model and op­tions in­clude be­spoke paint from $40,000, Bow­ers & Wilkins au­dio for $15,000, full leather trim at $13,000 and mas­sive di­a­mond fin­ish 21-inch wheels for $5000.

Driver aids in­clude adap­tive cruise, auto emer­gency brak­ing, for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing with ad­vanced brake as­sist, blind spot and lane de­par­ture warn­ings, plus a new 360-de­gree cam­era.

The touch­screen, now mea­sur­ing 8.4 inches, in­cor­po­rates Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto.

ON THE ROAD

We sam­pled the en­try level V6 and top of the line V8 GTS GranS­port, which was pre­dictably su­pe­rior in a straight line, with plenty of au­di­ble feed­back as the baf­fles in the muf­fler open wide.

The V6, no slouch, had more grip and bet­ter bal­ance in cor­ners — and a half-de­cent ex­haust note, too.

The Qu­at­tro­porte has a remapped nine-speed auto and adap­tive sus­pen­sion that’s been re­vised to cope with a wider va­ri­ety of sur­faces. Beefed-up brakes pro­vide bet­ter feel and re­sponse but the steer­ing re­mains old-hat hy­draulic — Maserati says it’s more en­gag­ing that way.

The end re­sult is a car that feels more com­posed, more able to cope with poor back roads and one that can be pushed hard with con­fi­dence.

VER­DICT

Make a state­ment in this one. It has more ca­chet than Ger­man ri­vals and plenty of room in the back — and it’s great fun to drive. The V6 is our pref­er­ence, at $100,000 less than the V8.

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