2020 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 Drivers’ Notes Review


The 2020 Maserati Quattroporte is the Italian brand’s flagship sedan. There’s only one other Maserati sedan — the Ghibli — but the Quattroporte commands the big bucks with its blend of opulent luxury and performance, all topped off by a Ferrari-sourced engine. We drove the Quattroporte S Q4 in GranLusso trim, which is the less powerful and cheaper partner of the GTS. Since it’s the GranLusso, it added silk-and-leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, a chrome front fascia insert, 20-inch wheels and glossy black brake calipers.

An impressive, high-tech 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine lurks under the S Q4’s hood making 424 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque, both respectable numbers for a boosted six-cylinder. It’s paired with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that’ll send this big sedan from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. The all-wheel drive system is no slouch. It sends 100% of the power to the rear wheels in most driving conditions, but can quickly send as much as 50% of torque to the front wheels if it detects a loss of grip. It also has a limited-slip rear differential.

At about 207 inches in length, there’s no disguising that the Quattroporte is a large car. It’s about the same size as a BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 or Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan. When you’re competing with those names, the standards for excellence tend to be off the charts. Of course, Maserati comes with its own expectations and standards of performance. This car’s electrically-controlled adaptive dampers, Brembo brakes and unique exhaust note go a long way toward enhancing the driving experience, but read on to see what our editors think after spending a week in the driver’s seat.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: Hearing the word “Maserati” evokes something. A sense of exotica and exclusivity, notions of performance and luxury, whiffs of elitism and maybe even envy. When people see a Maserati Quattroporte in person, very little of that happens. People will eye a Bentley, give a thumbs-up to a passing Porsche, and straight-up gawk at the right Jaguar. By contrast, no one seemed to notice this Maserati, be it on the highway or when parked next to them in the parking lot.

I can’t blame them. Its design doesn’t really scream, well, anything. Under normal driving, the 3.0-liter V6 under the hood doesn’t either. In Sport mode, though, the twin-turbocharged Ferrari-sourced engine raises its voice in a sonorous growl. Just make sure you roll the window down, or else that song will be merely for the benefit of bystanders. From the driver’s seat, this car is quiet.

Which is fine. The Quattroporte does the luxury part of the formula quite well. It’s remarkably smooth, and combined with comfortable, supportive seating, it does a great job of keeping the outside world from bothering you at all. It sure made long stretches of the highway feel a lot shorter.

And, quite frankly, it does the performance part well, too, but its composure makes it all feel so drama-free. If you’re looking for the typical adrenaline rush associated with Italian cars, this car might leave you searching for more. The Quattroporte S Q4 has a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds. That acceleration doesn’t feel like much from the driver’s seat, but if you watch the speedo, the needle sweeps up and past that mark in a blink. I couldn’t feel much, but it was quick enough to get a scolding from my son in the back seat for driving too fast. The aforementioned Sport mode, big set of paddle shifters and a stiffer suspension mode (which does quite a bit to help the chassis hug the dips and swoops in the road) make it at least a little engaging when you really crave it. With time, it’s possible I could have learned to dance better with this car. It’s certainly not clumsy. Even so, the Quattroporte is much more Concorde than fighter jet.

I know there will be those who find this Maserati’s looks much more exciting than I do, and for whom calm quickness is exactly what they’re looking for in a vehicle. For those folks, they’ll find a smart vehicle in the Quattroporte, and it’s something a little different and less hard-edged than German luxury cars. If that’s you, by all means, enjoy. It’s a fine vehicle, and even if it didn’t turn heads for me here in Michigan, it won’t look or sound like the rest of the luxury commuters.

Associate Editor Byron Hurd: I feel like I need to clarify right off the top that John and I didn’t take turns driving the Quattroporte. Due to social distancing concerns and sanitizing protocols, that just isn’t easily done. My notes are based on driving the same vehicle briefly back in July. 

As nice as the Quattroporte is, it lacks the sense of occasion that you get from its competitors. Its styling doesn’t really excite, nor does it convey that same sense of refined understatement that you often get with cars in this space. Instead, it’s just kind of … there. 

The drive experience is similarly unremarkable to me. It does its job very well, but in that worker bee sort of way, not the fast-track-to-upper-management variety. It’s quick, comfortable, and can do a reasonable approximation of a large sport sedan when you set it up properly, but it’s not the sort of car that encourages a spirited approach behind the wheel. 

If you ask me, the S Q4 Gran Lusso’s party piece is its back seat. The four-seater has an absolutely cavernous back bench (that term does it a disservice) with tons of comfort and convenience features. It’s the only part of the Quattroporte that feels anything approaching opulent and it would be a wonderful place to relax for a long road trip

But these are Drivers’ Notes, not riders’ notes, and by those standards, I just can’t get excited about the Quattroporte.

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