When you buy a Maserati, you are usually in the market for unequivocal Italian styling, understated luxury and dynamic performance. While all of this remains true for the Quattraporte’s new GT S, this sports sedan is more an energetic rock star than stately diplomat.
Deploy the innocent-looking sports button on the main dash, and the low hum of the V8 4.7-litre engine becomes a stadium roar. Suddenly, all eyes on the road, the pavement and the beach half-a-mile away, are turned in your direction. The secret is the sports exhaust that’s controlled by pneumatic valves. In closed mode, the engine is eerily quiet. Once those little valves are released, so is the full force of your 433bhp engine.
Despite the raw sonics eminating from the twin oval tailpipes, inside the car you are cosseted in the Italian ideal of utter comfort. Soft, liquorice leather, perforated Alcantara M-design seats and a tactile, suede steering wheel are seductive touches. Longer shift paddles on the wheel and a new digital rpm display make driving and staying under the radar of the traffic cameras that much easier. With classic design and precious few fiddly gadgets and buttons, there is little to distract you from the thrill of the drive.
Despite the warm fuzzy feeling generated in the Maserati’s cozy cabin, the GT S is a true performance car, equipped with optimal dynamic balance and the latest automatic gear-shifting softwear. The six-speed transmission is tuned to the sports ethic of the Sport GT S in what’s called the MC-Auto Shift. And before you ask, this is not an option from a popular fast food outlet, but one that takes you from 0 to 100km in only 5.1 seconds. By holding down the break pedal while pushing the accelerator to maximum revs, releasing the break provides enough thrust for a superfast start, or a quick getaway. But remember not to try this at home. Maserati advise you to attempt this only under controlled conditions at an Autodrome, for example.
Now that traffic has to a degree been consumed by the credit crunch, and we are able to traverse the city in the time it actually takes to drive from A to B, there’s no real need for queue hopping or clever manoevers. In the GT S, however, you’ll want to find a reason. Everything in this car is focused on the drive experience.
The handling is deft and responsive and the balance strong and agile. A new suspension set-up reduces the ground clearance, giving you full grip, and command of every snake in the road. You can really put this car through its paces with complete confidence. Unlike some gadget-conscious sports cars that practically drive themselves, the Maserati puts you fully in charge.
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