What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

This is the car I drove a few days ago. And boy do I have good things to say about it.

Illustration for article titled Maserati Quattroporte S Q4: The Oppositelock Review
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I want to start this review off by introducing myself to the Opponent community, as I’m relatively new here. I’m a high school senior in Southern California. My first and current car is a Honda Odyssey minivan, and I love it. I’ve loved cars for years, and I thought that, with my passion for automotive journalism, it’s about time I started writing my own material. And please, whether you read the entire lengthy review or not, comment with questions about the car, writing tips, and any sort of constructive criticism. I would truly appreciate it.

For the longest time I didn’t know what to write about. This changed when my friend’s dad handed me the keys to this trident-bearing steed and told me, “Have fun with it”.

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Today, looking back on the experience, I feel like I’m one of the luckiest teenage gear-heads in the world. The fact that this dad was willing to let me sit in his car, let alone put it in sport mode for me, is something I’ll always be thankful for. The experience was incredible, and, in my first significant article/post on the subject of automobiles, I’m going to review this car and tell the story of this spectacular night.


Meeting the Maserati: Exterior and Interior

It all started with me arriving at the house and having the rather heavy keys handed to me by my friend’s hero of a dad.

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“You’ll have to teach me to use the paddle shifters sometime, I don’t use them often myself” he explained. I told him I’d be more than happy to help with that.

We walked over to the sedan, I dropped into the driver seat, and he showed me the push-to-start, as well as hitting the sport mode and sport suspension buttons before I was finished admiring the Alcantara headliner and rich leather seats. Before I knew it, he told me to have fun and walked back inside, leaving me and my friend, a sophomore at my school, in the large Italian sedan.

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First things first, the exterior. I’ll admit it, while I think this car is far more attractive than 75% of all other cars on the road, I prefer the styling of the previous generation. It wasn’t as lengthy, and I’m a bigger fan of the vertical taillights. The rear lights on this generation remind me of those off of a certain Kia, and that does irk me a bit. But this generation of Quattroporte is still very handsome from the outside, and I especially like the sloping line that flows from the front of the driver’s door to form the sculpted rear haunches. I’ve also always loved the fact that each Maserati has a freaking trident on the grill. I felt like I was taking Poseidon’s chariot out for a spin.

Disclaimer: The owner of this car is not Poseidon, and no hippocampi were attached to the vehicle. Optional extra, I’d imagine.

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If the exterior is handsome, then the interior is the love child of George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, and Aphrodite.

Illustration for article titled Maserati Quattroporte S Q4: The Oppositelock Review
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As you can see, quite the threesome. Now yes, I should have taken more pictures. But when you’re in my shoes, on that night, with just two hours to enjoy the thing, the last thing on your mind is to whip out your phone and snap away. If you really want to see the interior in all it’s glory, be my guest.

The steering wheel is thick and very soft, and the leather just felt right, like I imagined it would feel. The pedals were very pretty and had a nice weight to them, and the instrument binnacle looked fantastic, especially at night under the soothing ambient lighting. The center stack was attractive and easy to use, and the gear shifter had a very sturdy, expensive feel. While there were bits of plastic here and there, I understand it’s no Phantom or S600. However, I would’ve liked the paddles to have been metal. They’re finished well and seem to be made of aluminum, but upon first touch, they reveal themselves to be made of gussied-up plastic. No matter, as they’re still ridiculously long for the full-size sedan it is, and for that I won’t take points off. As if I was using points at all. You get the point (pun intended).

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All in all, the car looks great, and while I did find some things I wasn’t too fond of, I’m still a huge fan. It looks, feels, and, yes, smells like what you would want a Maserati Quattroporte to look, feel, and smell like.

Side note: It smelled like very smooth and expensive leather.

The Drive: Powertrain, Handling, Gearbox, and Overall Impressions

Oh man does this thing go. Let me just put this video here and explain after. I’m smiling just remembering it.

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Oh yes, it goes indeed. The sound is pretty muffled, but if you listen closely, it’s definitely there. I’ll talk more about that later. For now, I want to address that engine. That lovely, lovely engine. It’s a twin turbocharged 3.0 V6 that makes 404 bhp and 406 lb-ft of torque, and does the 0-62 sprint in 4.9 seconds. Now yes, I would rather have given the V8 a try, but when you’re a 17 year old gear-head given the chance to drive a Maserati, you take it and you don’t complain. And I’m happy to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the V6. It made plenty of power, pulled really nicely, and, when coupled with the Q4 four-wheel (yes, not all-wheel) drive system, it felt like I had more than adequate traction. I’m probably the least qualified to judge turbo lag, but from what I could tell, there wasn’t a discernible amount.

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Interestingly, I found it difficult to stay at the speed limit, but not only because I wanted to drive fast. This car picks up speed very quickly, and while going 45 m.p.h. in one car may feel fast, 45 feels like 20 in the Quattroporte. I don’t really have a better way to explain it, but, in summary, this car doesn’t feel like it’s going really fast until you’re going a speed that’s likely to get you in serious trouble. I guess this is just a complicated way to say that this car accelerates very well. Definitely better than I expected a car of its weight and size to accelerate. And this is just the V6! To sum it up, I was very impressed with the car’s powertrain; the only major con I can think of is that the throttle response has a very slight, yet noticeable lag between throttle input, appropriate downshifts, and acceleration when I really gave it some juice. No biggie, and in all honesty, waiting for the car to find the right gear and then hitting Warp Factor 5 is an enjoyable little game on its own.

Back to the noise. Here’s another video with a decent acceleration and some tasty downshifts. Keep in mind all videos were filmed with my iPhone, so the exhaust note doesn’t sound as loud as it actually was.

Gotta love those downshifts. I had very high expectations in regard to the sound the Quattroporte makes, and, once again, I was impressed. My expectations were met, and then some. When put in sport mode, and properly revved, this car gets loud. And the noise it made was music, a primal roar coupled with an almost muscle car-like burble. Addictive to say the least. Upshifts had a deep and throaty pop to them, and the downshifts were the exhaust note equivalent of a power chord. All from a V6! When left in its default comfort mode, the noise is definitely still there, but instead of making a noble and impressive entrance, its the humble invitee who doesn’t feel the need to announce himself. Not much else to say, other than it doesn’t disappoint. Typical Maserati auditory splendor.

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I want to keep this next one short, ‘cause you’ve likely heard it a bajillion times already. The gearbox. It’s the eight-speed ZF unit that shifts pretty quickly. It’s not PDK (I’ve tried it, and that experience will be written about soon), but then again, it’s not dual clutch, so you’re getting the best shift speed that a comfortable single clutch can give. Also, I really liked how little time it took for my input with the paddles to be executed by the gearbox. To me, shift time and the gap between input and gear change are equally important, and the ZF box left little to be desired.

The Quattroporte’s handling was the most pleasant surprise of the entire experience. This is a big car. Longer than the current long wheelbase S-Class. So yeah, you wouldn’t expect this thing to do the cliche “shrinking” that some large cars like the Ferrari FF do when you introduce it to a set of corners. And while I’m not an individual with very much to compare this car to, I can report that, when taken through some curvy Mulholland roads, this car does pretty well! I wouldn’t go so far as to say it truly shrinks around the driver, but when placed into a bend, it felt like a much smaller, sportier, and lighter sedan. Like I’d imagine a Ghibli or the current M3 to feel. I really enjoyed carving the canyon in this luxury four-door, and with its four-wheel drive system, I never felt like I was losing control. A very impressive feat for a car I’d never thought to call a legitimate, capable sport sedan.

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In conclusion, I was very happy to learn that the Quattroporte is a far more nimble car than I originally anticipated. This is definitely one of the more versatile cars I’ve ever driven, and I could see this as being happy both cruising on the highway and gliding through some canyon roads. It’s easily the most comfortable car I’ve ever experienced, and while I’m sure its stiffer than an S-Class or a Bentley, it’s a stiffness that doesn’t irk you, and instead just acts as a gentle reminder that this car can take a corner quite well if you give it the chance.


Final Remarks:

This really is a fantastic car in every aspect. If you want a luxurious, sporty, comfortable, and capable full size sedan, it’d be a crime for you to overlook the Quattroporte. While it isn’t the greatest car in all of those categories, it strikes a very impressive balance, while also providing a characteristic that’s rare in most cars on sale today: Character. This car is like that dog that’s perfectly happy with laying low and cuddling in front of the TV, but when you show him a tennis ball, he’ll go ballistic.

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The only other car that I’ve driven that comes close to being comparable to the Maserati is a 991 Carrera S Cabrio, and while I do like that car more thanks to its noise, speed, and looks (among many other things), the Quattroporte was a nicer surprise. If I had to drive either the Porsche or the Maserati for the rest of my life, I’d choose the Italian.

My Ratings:

Exterior: 8/10

Interior: 9/10

Acceleration: 8/10

Braking: 7/10 I haven’t really addressed the car’s brakes, but they do their job just fine. I’d rather have a bit more stopping power and a less grabby feel, but for what most Quattroporte owners will be doing, they fit the bill.

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Ride: 9/10

Handling: 7/10 Great for the two ton car it is, but not the ideal car for tight corners. For roads like Kanan and Mulholland, it more than held its own.

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Gearbox: 9/10

Toys: 8/10 The usual luxury commodities (heated/ventilated seats, rear shades, ect.), but lacking massage seats and other items found in the most luxurious of sedans. But guys, remember, this is a Maserati!

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Audio: 9/10 I’d rather have it be louder. Other than that, it’s the usual Maserati symphony.

Value: 9/1o Definitely my new favorite in the full size sedan category. The nearly perfect balance between what us Opponents love in a car.

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Overall: 82/100


Thanks so much for reading you guys! It means a great deal to me that I’ve finished this review and the fact that you guys will read it makes me very happy. Shoutout to the insanely kind man who handed me the keys to this spectacular car and allowed me to experience what I want to do for the rest of my life. You, sir, allowed for this review to exist, and I’ll never forget your immense act of kindness. It may seem small to you, but for a gear-head like me, it means the world. Thank you.

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Once again, please leave a comment on what you thought of this review, and what I can do to improve. I plan on reviewing more cars in the future and, as I’m going to Northwestern University’s journalism school come fall, I could use the constructive criticism! Who knows, it could give me the leg up I need to become an auto journalist in the future! :)

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