FOR the wealthy Italian, Maserati’s elegant Quattroporte sedan is the car equivalent of an Ermenegildo Zegna tailored suit. Now the two famous brands have combined to offer Maserati buyers an interior upholstered in a luxurious new Zegna silk fabric.
It might seem an unusual connection, but fits the general ambition of luxury car makers to offer ever-increasing levels of exclusivity.
Personalisation options are the bait for every luxury or prestige buyer and goldmines of extra profit for sellers. While it might be thought expensive cars come with every imaginable feature, in fact few leave the showroom in stock trim.
Thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for options are added to the invoice.
But no other maker has Maserati’s ground-breaking (sic) Zegna silk upholstery, which it estimates will add between $11,000 and $22,000 to the price of a Quattroporte or Ghibli sedan (depending on complementary options).
The option is part of a recently-introduced upgrade of the Quattroporte and Ghibli, which is mainly focused on their engines.
The Ghibli’s engines, 3.0 V6, twin-turbo petrol units of 330 horsepower (246 kiloWatts) or 410 hp (301 kW) and a 275 hp (205 kW) 3.0 V6 diesel, now have Euro 6 environmental compliance. They’re more economical and cleaner and feature idle-stop engine control.
Elsewhere, new kit on 2016 Ghiblis includes blind-spot and cross-path monitoring, electric boot-lid operation and Apple Siri voice-control activation of audio features.
Apart from resting their backsides in interiors swathed in Zegna silk (three shades) and leather from the 100-year-old Turin house Poltrona Frau, the news for Quattroporte buyers is the availability of the 246 kW petrol V6 as a fourth, extra choice in the range of Ferrari-built engines. It lowers the cost of entry to petrol V6 ownership to $215,000 plus on-roads, while the more powerful V6 S remains at $240,000.
(Meanwhile, the diesel price has been increased to $210,000 and the 3.8 V8 to $331,000.)
These are expensive cars by average standards, but don’t think their price inhibits sales potential. They’re an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional makes such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi. Maserati’s problem is supply rather than demand as it positions itself as a bigger-selling luxury performance brand separate from its Fiat stablemate and former supercar rival Ferrari.
Like the smaller and popular Ghibli, all 2016 Quattroportes have Euro 6-compliant engines and extra crash-prevention features.
A Harmon Kardon audio system is now standard and sounds magnificent, if you can bear to turn up the volume and drown the mechanical music coming from the engine compartment.
Although the 330 hp engine is now the least expensive in the petrol QP range, it’s by no means a ‘poverty’ option for those expecting a true Maserati experience.
With peak torque of 500 Newtonmetres, claimed top speed is 263 kmh acceleration to 100 kmh takes 5.6 seconds; but fuel consumption is the lowest-yet for a Quattroporte, 9.1 litres per 100 kms.
And these are Italian horses, meaning they always seem to perform better on the road than on paper. The Quattroporte’s response wants for nothing and is complemented by quality of steering, cornering and braking that puts it among the best luxury performance sedans.
Unquestionably, the Maserati is the most charismatic car in this segment. It has abundant, performance, style and comfort and, now, a more affordable price.
And seats that come from your favourite Italian tailor.