Buyer’s guide Maserati Qu­at­tro­porte

The fifth-gen­er­a­tion Tri­dent four-door flag­ship is a tech-laden tour de force, so buy care­fully

Classic Sports Car - - Contents - WORDS MAL­COLM MCKAY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY WILL WIL­LIAMS

Out­stand­ingly el­e­gant Pin­in­fa­rina styling with nu­mer­ous classy touches make the Qu­at­tro­porte V stand out from its ri­vals. The styling makes it look smaller than it is, and on the road it shrinks around you, feel­ing poised and pur­pose­ful with 395-435bhp avail­able to hurl its two-ton hulk along, ac­com­pa­nied by a great V8 growl.

With a wide choice of su­per­sa­loons from the early 2000s now drop­ping into the £10-20k bracket, it’s in­ter­est­ing that the Qu­at­tro­porte has a strong fol­low­ing among clas­sic car own­ers, sig­nif­i­cantly boost­ing Maserati Club UK mem­ber­ship. It’s a car that evokes pas­sion and her­itage, and is a driver’s car first and fore­most.

It’s im­mensely – scar­ily – com­plex and you don’t want to own one once they start go­ing wrong, un­less you’re ex­tremely handy and happy to fit sec­ond­hand parts. Sig­nif­i­cant elec­tri­cal glitches af­fected even Au­to­car’s road-test car, so low mileage is no guar­an­tee of re­li­a­bil­ity.

Two trans­mis­sions were of­fered and are the most im­por­tant choice when se­lect­ing which model to buy. At first there was only the sixspeed au­to­mated-man­ual Du­os­e­lect transaxle, which some people love, es­pe­cially in pad­dle­s­e­lect man­ual op­er­a­tion, but which is con­sid­ered awk­ward and jerky com­pared to other mod­ern trans­mis­sions when used in its fully au­to­matic mode. It was joined at the start of 2007 by a sixspeed ZF auto that was mounted to the back of the en­gine; while some crit­i­cised this for lessideal weight dis­tri­bu­tion, in fact it only changed it from 47:53 to 49:51 (front/rear).

Rear seats are ad­justable for height and rake, while some mod­els have seats with cooling and mas­sage func­tions. There’s plenty of space in­side, though the boot is small. Car­rozze­ria Tour­ing built four stun­ning five-door Bel­la­gio Es­tates in 2008-’09, but you won’t find one – the only known sale was in 2013 for €117,600.

Crit­i­cisms when new cen­tred on the car be­ing too fo­cused a drive for every­day use; that per­haps ex­plains why so many to­day have very low mileages, be­cause most were bought as second cars for week­end out­ings rather than every­day use. If you find one of those that was also garaged (and you keep it so), you’ve a good chance of many years of en­joy­able – and rel­a­tively trou­ble­free – Maserati charm. Don’t for­get that in the UK, cars reg­is­tered be­fore 23 March 2006 will cost £305 a year to tax; later ones £535 a year.

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