The Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is the latest special edition vehicle to come out of the Italian automaker’s factory. The standard model, the Quattroporte Sport GT was a marvelous high-performance luxury sedan that perfectly mated an Italian heritage for motorsport with an Italian heritage for ample, comfortable interiors. So what makes this new S so special? There aren’t any huge changes, but the Sport GT S manages to take the Quattroporte to a whole new level.
Way back in 1939, Maserati was fairly well known in the American racing world, and in that year took home a win at the Indianapolis 500. Then they did that same thing the next year. The Quattroporte Sport GT S is meant to celebrate the 70th anniversary of that first victory. However, there aren’t any overt cues to the company’s Indy heritage in either the styling or the badges, so one is inclined to think that they just wanted to add some extra sportiness to the Quattroporte.
The engine is still the 4.8-liter V8 found on the standard model, but it has been retuned to produce an extra 8 horsepower, bringing the total to 433, although the torque stays unchanged at 361 lb-ft. While that doesn’t seem like a big change over the standard model, the way that power is applied to the road has seen a big change. The shift points in the transmission have been revised using advanced computer software to squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of those horses, and it succeeds admirably.
The transmission also features a new system called MC-Auto Shift. In the initial press release, Maserati specifically said that this mode, and the concurrent launch mode, should only be used by experienced drivers in a track environment. With a warning like that, you know you’re in for a good time. First, the launch control works by holding the brake while revving the engine to about 2500 RPM. At that time, release the brake and the computer-controlled transmission will apply acceleration and shift points designed to get the highest amount of torque. Use of this system takes the car’s already impressive 0-to-100 Km/h (0-to-62 mph) down 0.2 second to 5.1. Considering that the Quattroporte Sport GT S weighs 4,378 pounds, that is very, very quick.
The suspension hasn’t been changed too much over the standard Quattroporte, but it does receive a few perks. Most notably is the increase in spring stiffness, up 30% in the front and 10% in the rear. The rest of the suspension components have been tweaked to provide more feedback to the driver in turns and to bring the Quattroporte lower to the road, giving it a lower center of gravity. The standard Quattroporte was setup as a grand tourer that provided a very comfortable and stable ride. The S model sacrifices a bit of that comfort (but not much) in the name of better handling on the corners and a more stable footing to the car in the hairpins. More than a fair trade.
The interior and exterior styling also receive a few tweaks, but, thankfully, nothing too major. Maserati has developed a fine reputation over the years of building beautiful automobiles that look as good on the outside as the feel on the inside. The Quattroporte Sport GT is, arguably, the pinnacle of their efforts thus far, and the S treatment doesn’t change too much of it. There are a few new accents that make the exterior more aggressive, and the seats are a bit more enveloping to keep you upright through a tight turn.
In short, this car is wonderful. Maserati is currently working to build a bigger foothold in the American markets and, while there has been no specific word that the Quattroporte Sport GT S will be hitting the U.S., this would be an excellent model to help lead the way. With this car, and the GranTurismo S sports car, Maserati could easily carve out a niche in the high-performance luxury market. Their cars look better than Jaguars and benefit on the performance side from a recently-ended partnership with Ferrari. The brand is now under the control of the Fiat Group, and considering that the company is getting a stake in Chrysler, it looks like a Maserati resurgence in the U.S. is a definite possibility.